Life­styles of the rich and stupid

The Covington News - - OPINION -

We are al­lowed to dream, aren’t we?

“ If you won the lot­tery, say $ 130 mil­lion, what would you do with it?”

It’s a con­ver­sa­tion I hear, and en­gage in, of­ten. We prob­a­bly all do. In this case, there were three of us.

“ Well, first of all, I’d build a big house — the big­gest in town, with a huge Olympic- size swim­ming pool, a stocked pond out back and build a golf course for just me and my friends to play on when­ever we wanted,” said the first to re­spond. “ I’d buy a house in Hawaii, a plane, about 12 sports cars, a Hum­mer, a nice big boat and a house in the moun­tains. I’d also hire a per­sonal masseuse, a but­ler and a chef that only cooked pizza. What­ever I had left, I’d just blow it.”

Our pre­tend sec­ond lot­tery win­ner had a sim­i­lar plan.

“ First thing I’d do is get a char­tered plane and all my friends and we’d go to Ve­gas,” he said. “ We’d go gam­bling, and I’d spend about $ 5 mil­lion that night. Then I’d hire AC/ DC and Wil­lie Nelson to per­form at my birth­day party, even if it wasn’t my birth­day. Then, whoever was left, we’d just travel around the world — to Lon­don, Rio, Greece, Rome, China, wher­ever we wanted to go. We’d have a great time.”

When it came to my turn

“In ad­di­tion to hold­ing records at Vir­ginia Tech and with the Fal­cons, Michael Vick has now set an­other dis­tinc­tive mark: He is the big­gest dummy in the world."

to dream, I paused, deep in thought.

“ What would you do with $ 130 mil­lion, Len?”

“ I would start a foun­da­tion to pro­vide col­lege schol­ar­ships for un­der­priv­i­leged chil­dren,” I said solemnly. “ I would use about $ 40 mil­lion to fund that. Then I would tithe at least $ 13 mil­lion. The rest I would do­nate to mis­sion­ar­ies work­ing in third- world coun­tries in an ef­fort to com­bat world hunger and erad­i­cate guinea worm dis­ease.”

There was stunned si­lence for at least a minute be­fore the first guy to speak chimed in.

“ Yeah, I meant I would buy a big house and all that af­ter I started a foun­da­tion to com­bat world hunger and elab­o­rate worms.”

In all my times of hav­ing that lot­tery dream di­a­logue, I have never heard any­one re­spond, “ If I win the lot­tery, I’m go­ing to risk my for­tune by start­ing up an il­le­gal, un­der­world dog­fight­ing op­er­a­tion.”

But that’s ap­par­ently what Michael Vick did when he won his “ lot­tery” — the rich­est con­tract in NFL his­tory ($ 130 mil­lion over 10 years, not count­ing en­dorse­ments). Sure, he bought a big house and some fancy cars and the Mr. T starter kit. And then he bought a house in Vir­ginia and started “ Bad Newz Ken­nels,” ac­cord­ing to a fed­eral in­dict­ment that ac­cuses the At­lanta Fal­con quar­ter­back of be­ing the fi­nancier of, and par­tic­i­pant in, an in­ter­state dog­fight­ing en­ter­prise.

In ad­di­tion to hold­ing records at Vir­ginia Tech and with the Fal­cons, Michael Vick has now set an­other dis­tinc­tive mark: He is the big­gest dummy in the world.

Sure, Vick hasn’t been con­victed and pro­fesses his in­no­cence. I re­al­ize that. But af­ter read­ing the in­dict­ment, where wit­nesses iden­tify him at dog­fights, and the fact that one of his co- de­fen­dants has pleaded guilty and is tes­ti­fy­ing against Vick, I think call­ing him “ the big­gest dummy in the world” is a safe, rea­son­able ver­dict at this point.

To re­ally un­der­stand how stupid Vick is, you need to read the in­dict­ment. For in­stance, the high­est purse of any fight his dogs en­gaged in was $ 26,000. That’s .0002 per­cent of his base salary. He risked his ca­reer, his for­tune, his rep­u­ta­tion, and worst of all, the pos­si­bil­ity of go­ing to jail, to watch some dogs fight?

Some­where — prob­a­bly in a gut­ter in Hon­duras — Mike Tyson is say­ing, “ Tsk. Tsk. Michael Vick is an ig­no­ranan­i­mous.”

I con­cur. Sud­denly, hav­ing AC/ DC and Wil­lie Nelson per­form at your birth­day party seems like a wise fi­nan­cial in­vest­ment.

Len Rob­bins

Colum­nist

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