If I Had A Million Dollars..

A thought or two by Warren Pilkington, August 2005

A while back (1992 to be precise) Canadian band Barenaked Ladies sang "If I Had $1,000,000" a hilarious thought or two into what they'd do if they actually had that amount of money, ending with the line "..I'd be rich". I always thought about it a few years ago when entering the lottery thinking what I would do if I won a large amount of money, and also what if you were elsewhere in the world and a BNL fan.

Well, if I won the lottery, I'd certainly be rich (especially if I was like that Irish woman who won close to £80 million on the Euro Millions a few weeks back) and I'd probably make sure that the family was well looked after: maybe split the money so that they'd have a set amount each to do what they'd like to with, and keep the remainder for myself to be able to buy a really nice house in Didsbury, Manchester, a holiday home in one of my favourite coastal towns, and a full size games room would be part of the house, with full size snooker table and a few pinball machines - that'd be so me.

Then again, it would depend where I won the lottery, and if for example, how much a million dollars would be worth. For example, Barenaked Ladies are Canadian, so in today's money (that's English pounds for comparison's sake) that would mean I'd be approximately £461Kbetter off. Not bad, but that house in Didsbury would have to wait methinks. On the other hand, if it was American dollars I'd fare a bit better: £555K, so not too bad at all. What else? Australian Dollars, right? Well, being a Pommie, I'd complain about their exchange rate, it only equates to £418K or so. Not that good.

I then did a bit of digging into the name of research primarily becuase of the popularity of the TV show "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?" where the prize is a cool £1 million if you do really really well. In the US, it's $1 million, so the comparison is pretty interesting. So, if I had a million dollars won in this gameshow around the world per se, would I still be eating Kraft dinner* or what? Well, this is how it looked as I typed this up:

Country $1,000,000 is worth? (to nearest £K)
Barbados £279K
Eastern Caribbean £206K
Cayman Islands £670K
Jamaica £9K
New Zealand £387K
Zimbabwe £23 (yes, twenty three pounds!)

Well, that makes it pretty clear: if you happen to be a BNL fan in Zimbabwe, that song rings a bit on the hollow side doesn't it? And certainly getting to question 14 on a certain game show meaning you can win around £11-50 isn't exactly for the faint hearted. Just a thought, really. One thing's for sure: it pays to make sure that you're clear what you're writing about in song: as even £9K isn't that rich these days really.

* It's a line in the original BNL song. I have no idea what Kraft dinner is, only that it sounds cheap.