One staple of party conversation that has changed over the years is the question, “What would you do with a million dollars?” This is mostly due to inflation. While a million bucks is a lot of money, it just doesn’t go as far as it used to. You could live off it, if you lived modestly, or you could blow it on a few extravagances while continuing to work like a dog for the rest of your life, or you could gamble it away on an education or a business venture. These are all boring responses, leading to sober discussions about prudent investments or savvy business decisions. A million bucks isn’t fuck you money; you’ve got to be careful with it, if you don’t want to fritter it away.
The new question then, if you want to get to the heart of a person’s character, is to ask them what they’d do if they get ahold of a massive, self-perpetuating pile of cash. You can learn a lot about someone if you find out what they’d do if they didn’t have to hustle for a living. Mostly, you’ll learn whether or not they’ve got a sense of humor. At least when it comes to the people I’ve met who’ve answered this question, serious responses are hard to come by. It’s all been jokes, mostly.
But forgive them: it’s hard to show someone your dearest wishes, especially if that someone is a fat, sarcastic bastard with no faith in humanity.
I have a joke answer, myself. Here it is:
I would find a nice, suburban area that’s home to the kind of people who drive hybrid SUVs, and I’d start up a take-out burrito restaurant. No tables and chairs, just an elegant, friendly decor — and a wall of bulletproof glass separating the employees and the customers. Our menu would consist of all the typical San Francisco-style burrito ingredients, with two exceptions. We would not offer sour cream or guacamole.
I think people would go insane. I mean, really out-of-their-minds with rage. You see why we need the bulletproof glass.
I think it would be kind of funny.
See, the thing is that I don’t really like sour cream or guacamole. Hooray for variety and all that, but actually it’s kind of a problem. When you ask a restaurant to hold the sour cream and guac, they have a tendency not to listen. I’ve actually run into situations where, somehow, the wait staff thought I actually requested extra of those condiments, instead of none of them. We hear what we expect to hear, I guess.
You know what? It’s fine. I have an unusual preference, and all I can do is ask politely for it to be respected. I have no right to expect that it actually be accommodated. It’s not worth getting upset over. Food service people work hard (I speak from experience), and my requests are onerous and unjustified. It’s all totally fine.
But I would like to see it turned back on the world for once. I think it would be funny. Not for them though, for me. It would be funny to me.
The second part of the joke would be, of course, the food cart outside the store that gave away free guacamole and sour cream. I’m not a monster, after all. Also, the food cart wouldn’t sell anything else. If you ordered a burrito from there, your only options would be for one filled completely with guacamole, or with sour cream, or, if you go all-out, one filled with both.
Again, I think it would be funny. I think you’d have a line around the block of people waiting to buy piles of guacamole that’ve been loosely wrapped in a warm tortilla. People with the courage to admit to themselves what it is they really want, which is to hork down mashed avocados like big messy pigs, their faces slathered in goop.
I’m pretty sure that these twin businesses would lead to much disruption of the peace, and would therefore be shut down due to some obscure city ordinance or something. I’d give it about a week. Thus would be the end of my business ambitions.
But the YouTube videos would live on forever.