I’ve been asked to answer a question many of us have probably asked ourselves: What would I do if a check for one million dollars (tax-free) landed in my lap? Of course, it’s hard to avoid the knee-jerk reactions—“I’d buy an island,” or “I’ve always wanted a castle in England.” I mean, who doesn’t want their own tropical paradise or a house you can get lost in? But if you really stop and think about it, would you really splurge on some private real estate in the middle of the ocean or a pile of old rock?
If I had a million dollars to spend, I’d be tempted to indulge my love of jewelry and clothes just a little—and I’d probably go ahead and do it (I mean, how often do you get your hands on that kind of money?). Being the mother of two teenagers, I’d also put some aside for college and definitely earmark part of the fortune for my kids’ future. After all, they might want to start a business or put a down payment on a house up the road. But even after all that, I’m pretty sure I’d still have a sizable amount of money left over. What to do…what to do…
At the risk of sounding blatantly altruistic, I’d want to donate money to a good cause. Now, there are tons of wonderful organizations out there devoted to curing diseases, assisting the homeless, and aiding the poor—all worthy and in need of support. But a recent tragic event—the suicide of a 14-year-old boy—brought home the painful fact that many kids are literally being bullied to death. That boy was Jamie Rodemeyer. This beautiful, sensitive young man was mercilessly taunted for questioning his sexuality (no one’s business but his) and for having girls as friends (not a crime, last I checked). I watched his “It Gets Better” video with tears in my eyes as he tried to reach out to other kids like himself, even as he was overwhelmed by his own pain. This must be stopped, and the aim of the Trevor Project is to do just that, by providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth 24/7. I can’t think of a more worthwhile cause than protecting today’s gay, transgendered, and questioning youth from the effects of prejudice, ignorance, and cruelty. No part of my million dollars can force people to accept one another the way the characters in my book, THIN AIR, embrace—even celebrate—their mutual differences. I know that’s too much to ask in the real world. But supporting the Trevor Project and other organizations devoted to making the world a better place for all of us, regardless of our orientation, is a step in the right direction.
What would you do if you had a million dollars?