I was asked, on a date a few nights back, what I would do if I had Elon Musk money. What I would do if I had Richard Branson money. I could not, for the life of me think of an answer because I could not, for the life of me, think of why someone would bother with such a dull question. After weeks of flirting, dirty texts and pictures you NOW get into Richie Rich roleplay?
But, it has lingered. And I think I have an answer now.
Everyone nurses, once in a while, a thought or two of what you'd do if you won the lottery. It's the actual thing you are buying when you drop five bucks for the ticket. You have, until your brain ruins it with odds, a glimpse of pure possibility and everyone has spent some time lingering there.
But that wasn't the question. The question was what would I do if I had Musk and Branson money. The answer to that is quite simple. I wouldn't. It doesn't matter how smart I am, how good my million dollar idea was or how hard I have worked. You don't get that kind of money without screwing people over. Your workers, cheap manufacturing slave labour in thir world countries, dealing with banks that deal with terrible shit, investors that live and breathe money.. Na. I simply wouldn't. I'd never go public. I'd make sure all my workers got a living wage. I'd make sure everyone had insurance and could stick with me til they were simply done and had to move on and then make sure they had a pension when they left. They were loyal to me, I'd be loyal to them.
None of these are "Proper" by today's business models, so I'd never be a businessman. I'd never make millions. But everyone that worked for me would make enough. Besides, there comes a point where your money becomes an issue. There comes a point when the money becomes the job: looking after it, nursing it, making more of it. It is a crazy place, hypothetical to my mind thank god, a madness as old as mankind itself.
I am never going to be rich, in terms of treasures and fame. Not that I mind at all. I would not trade this life for anyone else's. The simple truth of it is that any money beyond what I need to cover my walls, clothes and food I'm just going to give away to people who need it more than I do. It is what I have always done.
I don't know if I learned heart from my parents, or got radicalized in goodness from my bouncing around religions and social movements with open eyes and ears and an inquisitive mind. I know that someday I will understand more than I understand right now and that things, generally, work out when you stop worrying about them and just trust yourself and the world around you.
And someday I will be to explain this to the hot guy in the nice suit who spent most of our date talking about money, how he makes it, the alchemy through which he turns it into more money, all the things he is going to buy with it and how he could never get into a relationship with a leftist hippy like me.
Couldn't even talk him into dirty sex on all his money piled on the bed.
Ah well. He got me thinking about how I can change the world for the better.
It is a pretty simple plan.
Live tomorrow as I lived today.
As me. Here and now. Being as happy as I can. Being as helpful as I can.
It is all I can do.
It is all any of us can do.
And the best part? It is all we have to do to change absolutely everything that is wrong with this world.
I've spent the past two months reading everything I can on the various opiate and opioid epidemics we've had in North America and the for profit prison systems of our Southern neighbors and I can't shake one thought from my head:
When it is white people dying, ie the current opioid epidemic, it is a medical crisis.
When it is black people, or First Nations folk up here, it is a criminal justice issue.
Decriminalize drugs. Legislate rehab and therapy. Shut down the racist prison systems that are very much becoming institutional slavery.
The war on drugs very quickly became a war on the sick, the poor, the coloured. It became a self feeding monster that eats the unfortunate and traps them in a system of oppression and a cycle of abuse that affects all of us. It failed. It is time to try something new.
I've come around to accepting addiction is a disease.
I've volunteered around people suffering through dope sickness. I've seen dry blackouts in heavy drinkers. Incarcerating people for a disease is, on the face of it, inhuman. Making money off of that? Monstrous.
How do we fix it? No idea. I need to learn more before I find that answer. But what do I do today? What's the Happy Warrior take on this?
Easy. Every day I see dozens of people afflicted with this disease. All of us do. I am not going to ignore them, as all of us do. I am not going to get annoyed or angry at the aggressive panhandling.
I'm going to say hello. I am going to ask their name. I am going to engage in conversation with them. Call them brother. Call them sister.
Not be a fucking asshole. I'd help someone hit by a car. Why not help someone run over by life?