The other day over on the Unshaven Comics Facebook page (you DO like us, right?), I offered up a little question of the day that sparked the largest block of engagement we’d ever seen on the page. While I’d hoped that it would be some fantastic and layered comic book debate… instead it was a bit of naval gazing instead. I proposed the always-good-during-a-long-car-ride prompt: What would you do with $1,000,000? I then specified (to detract from the typical snark that might come in tow…) that the money was after all taxes were paid. So, like, you wake up tomorrow and are a million bucks richer, no strings attached. What would you do?
Well, for those that participated on our page, it was a ton of practical answers that I both understood and frowned at. Truly, my ilk have all grown up when the most common answers all revolved around paying off debt and traveling. Not that any of those answers should be frowned upon, of course. But I was more hopeful for flights of fancy.
A million dollars doesn’t go as far today as it once did — but it would still be a full-stop life-changing amount of money to my meager middle-class means. It’s appropriate (if, yes, a little sad) that my honest answer would of course be to pay off my home, my cars, my student debt, and so on. I’d ensure that I invested enough of the sum to ensure my children could go to college without the anchor of debt to attach to their adult lives. And with whatever remained, I suppose I’d super size my McDonalds for a while. But let’s recalibrate, shall we? This question isn’t one built as a measure of maturity! It’s a prompt to let your freak flag fly.
So fly it I shall.
While I’d love to say I’d start a production company and watch as The Samurnauts is funded enough to make me (and my Unshaven brethren) multi-millionaires, frankly I don’t think a million dollars would instantly make that happen. Plus, financing a TV show, movie, or even a well-produced piece for the web would not guarantee any real success without proper partnerships. So, I’d take a solid quarter of my million dollars and sink it into Unshaven Comics. With that money we would buy ourselves time to produce more material, be able to hit the major con circuit to promote the material, intelligently invest in some advertising to help increase our social media reach, and cap it all off with a trip to the West Coast to try and find the right partner to launch The Samurnauts into the next tax bracket. And if we fail? At least we would have given it a real shot and maintained our brotherhood while doing it. Money well spent.
Next? Oh, well now comes the fun. Ensuring my three boys (7, 2.5, and 9 months) would have their grandmother flown first class from Indianapolis and Uber XL’ed to our home… allowing my wife and I to remember what it was like in the long-long-ago. I’d then whisk my baby mama on a whirlwind weeklong vacation to allow us to recharge (but not over-indulge). We’d start with a night in Chicago (where we’d meet up with 4 lucky friends to join us for a meal at avec) then jump to New York, so we could take in a show on Broadway. Then leaving that awful cesspool of a city (more in future articles why, like Homer Simpson, I hate New York), the Fishman’s are going international, baby! With the next 5 days, we’d split time between London, and a few choice spots in Tuscany. Accents would be loved. Trinkets would be purchased. And we’d return home, refreshed and ready to live the exciting life of parents once more.
Now, even if I went insane with first-class flights, 5 star hotels, and amazing meals, that whole trip couldn’t run me more than 50k (look, we’re extravagant, but not bluebloods), which leaves entirely too much funny money left to burn. So, let’s start burning it.
- I’d pay WWE superstar Brock Lesnar $50,000 to spear tackle Tom Brady on the street. And then $100,000 to Ronda Rousey to do the same to Ann Coulter.
- I’d get a pound each of every flavor of gummy bear from Albanese Candies ever made, and really nice glass jars to display them.
- The Nerf Prometheus. Tricked out by Adam Savage.
- A painted portrait of Kyle Rayner as done by Alex Ross. Extra tip because I know he hates the character.
- I’d hire a personal trainer to purposefully kick my arse in the gym for a year to get me into the shape of my life. And then hire a wellness coach the next year to help me maintain whatever that shape was (“less lumpy pear person”).
- I’d reunite the Barenaked Ladies with Steven Page to perform in my backyard. And we wouldn’t let them leave until they stayed together.
- The Critic, read as a radio play by all the original voice actors, to my spec script where Jay Sherman becomes my dad.
- I’d buy myself a lap steel, and lessons to get decent on it. And then slap bass.
- And with any leftover money still around? Get something nice for my kids.