The guys from Goldman Sachs told me I might even be worth a billion when they came in and made their pitch in early 2000.
I had two goals of what I was going to if I even made just one hundred million dollars.
In one goal, I wanted to make a commercial for the Super Bowl. The commercial would be completely silent. It would just be me walking around NYC and then playing chess in Washington Square Park.
30 million people watch the Super Bowl. It would be unlike any commercial they had ever seen.
In the second goal, I wanted to buy the bookstore that is on Broadway and around 5th or sixth street and I wouldn’t tell anyone. Then I would apply for a job shelving books. Nobody who worked there or shopped there would know that I actually owned the store.
What about charity?
I never thought about it. Or a bigger house. Or a plane Or anything like that.
Then I got worried that people would think I was selfish to do a two million dollar Super Bowl commercial about me just walking around. There would be protests and discussions on message boards, “he should’ve given that money to charity!”.
My response would be, “you don’t mind the commercial about beer but you do mind me walking around NYC.”
And maybe they would mind. I’m pretty boring when I walk around NYC.
Maybe I would do the commercial in black and white. The TV channel might protest but I would give them an extra million. It would be the most expensive TV commercial in history.
What if I fell in love with another worker in the bookstore? I was married at the time, with a small kid, so I’d probably have to get a divorce.
And then I’d have to tell the girl I fell in love with that I actually owned the whole bookstore. I would have to tell her I had a hundred million dollars.
I actually got stressed out that this could be a real conversation I would one day have. Like in a really bad Hollywood movie. Adam Sandler would play me.
“Why would you be shelving books? ” she would ask. Because would that really be the most fulfilling thing someone could do if they had a hundred million dollars?
But I liked to read. I would read in my breaks. And walk around and watch the people. Everyone’s face in NYC has a face like a game of solitaire. No two games are alike. Every game is played by oneself.
I loved card games.
Maybe I would be like Quentin Tarantino. He worked in a video store until he made some money. I’d be the Quentin Tarantino of bookstores. Only I’d be in love with the other shelfer and I’d have one hundred million dollars cash in my bank account.
At the time I only had fifteen million dollars cash in the bank.
And then I blew it all and eventually had zero dollars cash in the bank.
So none of my dreams came true anyway.