Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I would grow wings and shed the shackles

I thought all that but mostly I thought about ten million dollars. I thought about each of those dollars all the way back to the office. In the warmth of that office, with Swathmore in front of me all animated and sounding like a Peanuts adult, it was the money I thought of. At my current rate, it would take me a little over two centuries to gross ten million dollars. Patience, it seemed, was all I needed. With ten million dollars I could return all my phone calls and answer all my mail without my heart tightening.

I would never ride the subway again and even if I did it would feel different. I would do very little I didn't want to and lots I did. I would feel joy and relief.

I would have a library.

Well, first a house to put it in, not a glorified closet. And there I would sit, in a crazy regal chair made of fine Corinthian leather smoking a pipe for no good reason while draped in a crushed velvet robe. I would read until my eyes failed and my head overflowed. Any book that sounded even mildly interesting I would buy. And not cheesy paperbacks either, hardcovers only. Leather-bound collector's editions if possible and appropriate. I would read everything of note ever written. Gilgamesh to Grendel, Gibbon and Gass, Goethe and Gödel, Günter Grass and non-G works too. I would devour them all. And when I tired of reading I would swim in my pool, parting the azure blue water like a veloce human knife. Or I would visit the equally lush home of my mother and her others, now swimming in the knowledge that I singly moved them out of their cramped quarters.

I would grow wings and shed the shackles that kept me tethered to this place and day. Thus freed, I would soar up and through the air, above the Earth, to exotic locales where I would be pampered beyond my wildest dreams. Venice, Paris, Rome, Sydney, Tokyo, Rio, Athens would be my homes.

No, better yet, I would be homeless. Owning and owing nothing and no one. I would exist well outside the norms and concerns of society, my only concern my personal advancement and evolution as a human being. As such I would only intake the very finest our tepid species had been able to produce. Only the finest foods in my shell, which shell would be subjected to only the finest medical care. Through my repaired ears and into my melon only the most angelic music would pass, which by now you know would include a healthy dose of live Ludwig. And along with those notes only the finest thoughts, arguments, theories, hypotheses, assessments, deeds, proofs, actions, creeds, kudos, slogans, phrases, sayings, limericks, and memories. Okay that last one's tricky but beauty in, beauty out, as I would be transformed into a timeless yes evanescent superbeing who didn't know what anything cost.

— from A Naked Singularity, by Sergio De La Pava.

What would you do with ten million dollars?

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