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If I Ever Get Rich, I Promise Not To Change
By Gloria Diaz
Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!
Fort Wayne Reader
I have a lottery fantasy. I think everyone does. I don’t play the lottery very often, only when the jackpot is $50 million plus or so.
I’d like to think I wouldn’t change much if I won. I’d still get a kick out of thrift shopping, I’d still hit garage sales and flea markets and I’d be ecstatic over every bargain I could get. Oh sure, I’d have a much bigger house to store all my newfound treasures in, and I’d probably have a horse or two to indulge my dream of making the United States Equestrian Team and competing at the Olympics, but I’d like to think I’d be the same old Gloria.
But then I look at people like Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan and your average overpaid sports star. Some of them (well, except for Hilton) might have started out middle class or downright poor, but they ended up with a ton of money and all the problems that seem to go with it.
Granted, these aren’t no-name rich people. There are lots of millionaires that nobody recognizes. They are the older lady down the street with the fabulous garden, or the guy who has a very nice 20-year old Mercedes who seems to wear jeans all the time. No one screams when they walk down the street or go grocery shopping. They’re not hounded for their autographs or anything else. I’d like to think I’d be a quiet millionaire, doing what I’d normally be doing in my spare time, except I’d be doing it all the time.
But for the people I mentioned earlier, not only do they have money, they’ve ended up as role models for countless teenage girls who think they too deserve purses that cost as much as your average mortgage payment. Let’s not forget about the teenage boys who look up to athletes who seem to have it all: money, youth, health, power (up to a certain point) and a seemingly invincible shield when it comes to crime or drug use. Why should they serve jail time for screwing up like everyone else ends up doing? They’re athletes! They are THIS close to God! Screw that, I say. Let them go to prison, where they’d probably see their former, less athletically gifted classmates who are doing time because they’re also poor AND obscure and too strapped to buy an attorney to get them off.
Because that’s what money and fame does to people. It gives them an arrogance most ordinary people wish they had. If you’ve got money, you can hire the right legal team to make it all better. If you’re Martha Stewart, it means that doing prison time means not having to look over your shoulder constantly, because you’re not really going to prison in the real, terrifying sense of the word.
I don’t feel sorry for Paris, Lindsay, or Britney. If they had real jobs, would they have gotten into trouble? If Britney were just a Southern girl, would she have gotten married to a loser anyway and popped out two of his kids? If Paris were some middle class chick, would she have checked herself into rehab? Or would she have been so tired from working at the marketing firm and volunteering at the youth center in the evenings she would have stayed out of trouble? We’ll never know. But one thing that bothers me is how seemingly gifted or lucky people squander their talent, or else end up with so many problems, your average homeless person leads a charmed life in comparison. Cyndi Lauper wasn’t kidding when she sang, “Money Changes Everything.” There are lottery winners who are broke two years later. Some, presumably, live happily ever after, because we don’t hear from them. Despite the money they won, they seem to keep it together.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some Powerball tickets to buy.