Tuesday, September 13, 2005

What to do afterwards?

I’m developing a theory that the true test of a person’s purpose in life is to ask them what they would do if they won the lottery. The really big who-could-possibly-spend-that-much-in-one-lifetime lottery. Let them get past the parts where they would travel, buy lots of neat stuff, take care of their families, and so on. Get past all the standard lottery winner stuff. Ask them what they would do once that’s all done and the novelty’s off. What would they do with the rest of their lives if they had such ability, such financial freedom to do so?

If I were the one fortunate enough to have all the numbers come up, of course I would do the standard stuff. I would travel everywhere. I’d make sure my family was all set. I’d take college classes in interesting subjects that have nothing to do with any sort of overarching goal—anthropology, filmmaking, sociology, art. Just for fun.

And I would write. I wouldn’t have to worry about making a living, and I could just write stories, as much as I wanted to.

The problem with that, though, is that I seem to write my best when I’m under pressure, when I’m doing something useful. That’s the key, there. I can’t just be keeping myself busy; I have to have an actual focus, something helpful and useful I’m trying to do that will take the random bits of poetry and prose which float around in my brain and refine them into some sort of cohesive whole. If I had so many gifts, and didn’t find a way to help others, I’d probably never be able to write anything proper again. It’s just the strange way my brain, heart, and soul seem to be hooked together, that my writing ability is linked in some strange way to my sense of purpose.

So what would I do?

If I could, if I had these sorts of nearly-unlimited funds, I think what I would do is try to get medical treatment for people who couldn’t afford it. I would start clinics in inner cities and have mobile clinics in poor rural areas. Free or reduced cost services. I would spend my time trying to get grants (because with a project of this scope, even lottery winnings don’t last forever), trying to get health care workers to volunteer to help, trying to get the word out to the people who needed services that there really is help for them. I would deal with public relations, regulations, administration, and education. And then if I had any time left, I would go into the clinics myself. I would help change bandages or hold children getting booster shots, or hold the hands of someone who was sick and scared. I would listen to someone's story, or carefully and gently wipe away the tears of a hurt child. I would try to help them feel safe and cared for.

It is in this, the human face of what I would do if I could, that I would find my inspiration. My heart would be full, and the poetry would flow like water.

27 comments:

Tirithien said...

You hit the lotto, I'll glove up myself. :-)I am pretty darn handy with a hypodermic needle.

But, that is not the meat of your entry. I know what is, for I have seen it myself.

When I am writing of my passions, when I am writing of things that matter and things I care about deeply, the words flow like the Ohio. My 500-word med school essay? 14 minutes, and that's formatted and sent. A 3-page paper of musings I wrote to a friend, detailing what I thought about something? 12 minutes.

The mating habits of C. elegans, in 13 pages? 4 days. If I don't care, if the passion isn't there, my creative river slows to a trickle. If I care, and deeply, the floodgates open.

Bougie Black Boy said...

If I hit the lottery, I'd go into witness protection program first. Then, I'd get some no-brainer low-paying job -- part-time just for socialization purposes; then write fulltime. And with the rest--I'd pay off debt and do the moral stuff too, that i should be doing. :)

clew said...

Even when I was back in my self-gratifying early 20's, I have always told people that I would use a massive percentage of it to help others via charities, foundations, etc. (Humans and animals) and get involved myself being that I wouldn't have to work to live anymore. Some people told me I was full of sh*t when I said that. Those people simply don't know me.

The Everglades said...

I'd buy Direct TV, the Twizzler factory, and sit around all day in oversized underwear while watching all the movies NetFlix sends to my doorstep. And amazingly, I don't gain a bit of weight, I don't give any of the money to charity, I die with $56,000,000 in the bank, all of which I've willed to the future version of me, once I've been cryogenically unfrozen, of course. And when I do die, in the year 2146, I leave behind an utopia in which bartering is the only means to survival and I still go to heaven. I hope I win MegaMillions tomorrow!

Blake

Anonymous said...

If I won the lottery, I would do nothing but post flowery nonsense on my blog. I would turn every inane experience into high tea with the Lord God Almighty Himself. Because nothing is as it seems. It's really a metaphor for my creative triumph over evil in an otherwise cruel and uncaring world. For some it may just be a trip to the convenience store to pick up some beenie weenies, a Hustler and a box of trojans, but for me it's waaaaaaay more than that. It's a wondrous journey of the imagination, a quest for spiritual nourishment to satisfy my burning hunger and quench my thirst for tacit approval from like-minded hords.

Bainwen Gilrana said...

Brave words from someone who can't even give an identity.

Bainwen Gilrana said...

Oh, and it's "hordes," not "hords."

Anonymous said...

It wasn't meant to be brave. Just an observation really.

Bainwen Gilrana said...

Oh, I'm so glad it wasn't meant to be brave, because if that had been your intention, you would have failed quite miserably. But then, since you seem so fond of playing Blog Troll, I expect you're probably used to failing miserably at things.

Anonymous said...

Or not.

Anonymous said...

But I do find it very interesting that you are so quick to project serial failure on me simply because we have a difference of opinion. If I were a psychology major, I bet that would be a very revealing insight of your psyche.

Bainwen Gilrana said...

Difference of opinion?

Can you honestly define what you are doing as other than trolling?

It's a well-established psychological fact that anonymous internet trolls are trying to make up for perceived inadequacies in their offline lives. I've no need to project. All you present here points to some level of failure or inadequacy in real life.

Anonymous said...

I can certainly see why that's the picture you'd want to paint.

Bainwen Gilrana said...

No, no, I don't paint pictures. You're mixing me up with Mr. Jordan. Sorry, try again.

Anonymous said...

How about this -

I can certainly understand why you would want to characterize it like that. Life would be wonderful if people like me got what they really deserved, right? Well, somestimes we don't. Sometimes people like me are insanely happy and successful.
Sucks, don't it?

Tirithien said...

Yet, you're not. I would wager my paycheck on it.

Anonymous said...

I'll make it easy on you by allowing you to donate that $38.64 to the charity of your choice.

Bainwen Gilrana said...

Sometimes people like you are happy and successful, and sometimes people like you are miserable pricks with nothing better to do than try desperately to seem witty and edgy on the blogs of others. Sad, really. I expect you might have had potential once.

Anonymous Assclown said...

Or maybe my potential just manifested itself someplace other than my random blog.

Bainwen Gilrana said...

Maybe so. So why not go back to that other place and stay there? Why waste your oh-so-precious time trying to get me to see the error of my ways?

You, sir or ma'am, are irrelevant.

Anonymous Assclown said...

It doesn't matter to me whether you see the error of your ways or not as that's not my intention. And mocking my relevancy is strange coming from you.

Bainwen Gilrana said...

All right, then, what IS your intention? Do enlighten us.

Anonymous Assclown said...

I thought it was fairly self-evident that I was offering constructive criticism.

Bainwen Gilrana said...

It's the "constructive" part that eluded everyone. Are you sure you have a construction license? I'd hate to have to turn you in to the authorities for trying to be constructive without a license.

Wait, I wouldn't hate that at all.

Anonymous Assclown said...

It doesn't have to be "constructive" to anyone else. It just has to be "constructive" to me.

Tirithien said...

And yet, not. If you think you are Napoleon, that does not mean you are. Just because you think you are constructive, does not mean the rest of a sane world thinks the same.

Anonymous Assclown said...

I think we've established that. It's kinda my point really. Which is why it's so important to open yourself up to the realm of opinions outside your own particular set of lackeys. To expose yourself to other opinions and perspectives. You know, as opposed to deleting everything you don't want to hear as if to cover your ears, close your eyes and scream "I CAN'T HEAR YOU, I'M IGNORING YOU, YOU'RE A BIG POOPYPANTS!!!!".