Given my recent tax woes, I happened across an old news story that lent an interesting perspective to the situation. It seems that when Michael Eisner of Disney let go of his No. 2 man, Jeffery Katzenberg (now the ‘K’ of Dreamworks SKG) in the mid-90’s, he did so without forcing Katzenberg to forfeit his rights to bonuses and royalties totalling $250 million. A lawsuit followed, which Katzenberg eventually settled out of court… for reportedly about $250 million.
That got me thinking about how much money $250 million is. In practical terms, I can’t wrap my brain around it. If I was somehow the beneficiary of that kind of money through some bizarre act of God, even trying to spend it would be hard. Assuming that the IRS took about half of it right off the top and I got a nice house, furnished it, and bought a couple nice cars, I would still be left with about $120 million in the bank. If I was able to get only a modest amount of return on it annually, say two percent, I would be able to spend $2.4 million a year before I had to even touch any of the principal. If I assume that the government again took half of the interest in tax every year, I would be left with $1.2 million to spend. Spread out over a year, I would have to spend an average of just over $3000 a day, every day to spend it all.
Spending that kind of money has got to be hard. How many times do you need to buy a new sofa or get a plasma screen TV? Travel can suck up a lot of money I suppose… as can messy personal relationships. I’m 36 years old, however… I like to hope that I’ve figured out enough about life that the money wouldn’t completely warp my middle class sense of taste or values. Ok, so I would want to drive a reasonably nice Infiniti… but I’m not sure I would feel the need to drive a Ferrari with a six figure price tag all the time.
Then again… I could just be deluding myself. I could invest in bad land deals. I could run for office or produce films with my own money. I could buy a winery whose grape stock is destroyed by a fungus just as I am getting ready to produce my first vintage. I could procure prostitutes for every member of Congress who wanted one. Mrs. Geek and I could raise a bunch of spoiled brats who would do nothing but fight over money. I could try to create a trendy chain restaurant called “Watchootalkinbout, Willis?”
Yeah, a Gary Colman-themed restaurant… that would be my undoing. I guess I’m better off doing without all that money. I’ll just have to soldier on tryin’ to make an honest buck workin’ for The Man.
Update: To the individual who used Altavista to do an image search on the keywords “kahlo thong image” to find my diary, I’ve alerted the local authorities. They should be arriving with a needleful of thorazine and a ticket to the “magic kingdom” shortly.