1, 000, 000.
An impressive number compared with almost anything besides national debt and the distance to outlying galaxies. As a yute (did he say 'yute'? excuse me your honor, as a yooooth) few things were more alluring and yet ever out of reach than the status of millionaire. Except in the game of LIFE. Which, after we lost the plastic mansion, why bother playing really? To have a mess of peg kids? To sling the spinner into orbit every other go? To become a millionaire in Monopoly was harder still. We had to manipulate the rules, turn free parking into a jackpot. As a matter of fact, we had so inflated the real-estate market that the Parker Brothers allotment of varicolored bills was inadequate and we were obliged to print larger bills of our own. (Perhaps we were minor prophets considering the current mortgage mire.)
However sliced, a million is a number to be reckoned with--for its psychological and cultural significance (granted for pre-2K generations, mostly) as well as its actual numerical heft.
Why the fuss? I have reached a dubious milestone in my life. Blew by it about a month or so ago, actually. (No, would-be-glommers, I have not come into a million bucks.) Hold the drumroll. No applause, please.
By my calculations, in the last 12 years, I have ingested over 1, 000, 000 milligrams of mind-numbing pharmaceuticals. And I can't help but wonder how many lost flashes of brilliance that accounts for, how many less-than-thrilling stories in my catalog, how man never-inspired poems? Speaking of never, I will never know.
But that's Ok, right? It has to be OK. And that goes for all of us. Sure, you may not be so drug-addled as me; but you have your stuff. Stuff that impedes productivity. (Kids much?) Stuff that stultifies creativity. (Workaday onus much?) Stuff that shin-kicks, sucker-punches, and blind-sides the freedom of the mind to simply stroll the acres of live-oak and imagination. (The world is too much with us much?)
Did you ever try to count to a million as a yute? It would have taken about a week. Unless you needed food or sleep. Which most of us do. Ghandi and Edison, respectively excluded. A million miles? Go to the moon, bring me a rock to look at, then take it back. A million words? A] Your homework is to read War and Peace and Les Miserable. Or B] 1000 pictures of your choice.
Our lives are not measured in millions but let there be no doubt that there are millions of things we contend with in a lifetime. And most of us, for the most part, for most of the time will be OK. We will have to be OK. Because the alternative is bleak--all the mansions are plastic and all the money is just paper yanked from spiral-bound notebooks and printed with Magic Marker.