$100 million on your first letter


I ran into a fun mental exercise and promptly apologised. What if you had a $100 million but could only procure goods and services that share your name’s starting letter? It’s difficult to think of a contract, will, or prize upon which such a condition would be stipulated, but then again that sum of money is equally unlikely.

(As an aside, remember when these hypothetical started with a million dollars? That would barely cover the cost of most houses in Australia).

Let’s call out the loopholes first, which I will not employ:

  • Using a generic descriptor, such as a red house or a ravishing hat. I’d just include my wishlist here prepended with really awesome.

  • Increasing liquidity by converting the money into ringgit. Aside from rendering the entire exercise pointless, Malaysia places strict controls on its forex anyway. Maybe rupiah, rials, or rubles.

So here’s my list, in descending order of importance:

  1. Research of a medical nature. Either opening a not-for-profit lab, or continuing to provide guaranteed funding for existing researchers.

  2. Rural Railways that are shutting down. I’d convert them into tourist trains, or keep them viable for communities that need them.

  3. Radio, shortwave or national FM/AM, to compete with the rubbish that’s current talkback radio. With a web stream too. Would basically be a front to funnel money into journalism with an evidence-based, scientific perspective (aka: facts) to counter Murdoch, and some good independent music. And I know just who I’d want to run it.

  4. Residences for Clara and myself. A small apartment in Sydney and Singapore would be lovely. Naturally the places I like the most have some of the most overpriced real estate in the world.

  5. Retirement, so I could spend my time contributing to open source software, independent media, and travelling. If I make the mistake of finding work I enjoy again, this would just be a nice nest egg.

  6. Retreats, like a little hidey hole in Kyoto I can introvert in for a couple of weeks of the year.

  7. Retro Computers. Okay that’s a bit of a cheat, but “retro computer” is a specific and discrete thing. Yes.

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