Elizabeth Taylor. Michael Jackson. Elvis Presley. Charles Schulz. Bob Marley. John Lennon. Marilyn Monroe. Albert Einstein. Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss). Steve McQueen. Bettie Page. Richard Rogers. George Harrison. Besides being dead, what do all of these deceased people have in common? They made millions after they died. From top (Elizabeth Taylor) to bottom (George Harrison) they made between 5.5 million and 210 million dollars from the grave in the past year. They made more money pushing up daisies than I will even come close to making in my lifetime . . . and, definitely after I am long gone. It must pay to be dead!
Now granted, movie stars, singers and musicians, poster queens, cartoonists, writers, and world-famous scientists do make more than the average person . . . probably more than they are worth . . . but, hey! Apparently they earned it through smart investments, copyright laws, and having more than they could ever count. But these guys are still earning outrageous amounts of money and they aren’t even alive! A little sweat equity would be nice!
Sure, sure . . . there are those of you out there reading this thinking: “You can do it too!” Yeah, right. I cannot act . . . I am not beautiful or ruggedly handsome . . . I look terrible in a one piece bathing suit, so I will never be the subject of a pin-up poster . . . I can’t draw a straight line much less a cartoon . . . nor can I write clever rhyming children’s stories with cartoon-like characters . . . can’t sing or even carry a tune in a bucket . . . and, science, never mind. So where is the money going to come from? My greatest talent is tying a cherry stem in a knot using my tongue! People aren’t going to pay to see me do that.
Where is the money going to come from? Maybe I should take that big two percent raise the state of Montana increased my salary by and invest that . . . about 25 cents a pay period . . . I can see my descendants rolling in the mountain of pennies now. The money surely is not going to come from what I make as an employee of the state of Montana.
This was the first year since Michael Jackson died that he was not at the top of the list. His good friend, Elizabeth Taylor, bumped him. In actuality, next year he will probably be at the top as Elizabeth’s rise to the top was due to the sale of much of her property . . . costumes, jewelry, paintings, and other belongings that people wanted. Maybe that is where my deathly riches can come from . . . my family could sell my collections.
I am sure that my baseball collection—balls that I picked up around Dehler Field in Billings before the Mustang games—is worth something. Major league baseballs sell for about six to eight dollars each. I have about 70 of these stack precariously in my closet. They are a little scuffed up and dirty, which will probably drop their value . . . they could probably get between 70 and 100 dollars. It is a start! Better than that two percent raise I got this year!
Maybe they could sell my beer cap and wine cork collections . . . except the beer caps are not really mine. I have been saving them for the youngest son as he plans to make a coffee table out of them. The wine corks . . . not much demand for them. I probably should have saved my money and not bought the wine and beer . . . could be a small fortune there!
I have a sports card collection . . . and there are the Beanie Baby bears I have stored away . . . possibly my Big Red collection, but we are in Montana and Bobcats and Grizzlies are more popular. My books, but no one reads real books any more. There are all the old license plates stacked up in the garage. I don’t know if the sale of any of these priceless items would even come close to getting me on that list of the “top earning celebrities . . . especially since I am not even a celebrity beyond my own mind.
Oh well, I guess I am probably worth more alive than I ever will be once I kick the bucket. At times I feel quite wealthy . . . I have wonderful children who love me . . . a son-in-law who respects me and enjoys being around me . . . a future daughter-in-law who does likewise . . . beautiful grandchildren . . . a loving wife . . . a great congregation . . . good friends . . . and not only one job, but two that I enjoy . . . I live in a beautiful state . . . and I can still afford microbrews instead of that crap they pass off as beer called Bud Light! I am blessed and wealthy in my time . . . what more could I want? It may not pay when I die, but in the meantime money can never replace what I have.