a passport, sunglasses, money, and a hat on a blue and yellow background

The recent holiday week — an entire week off with our offices closed (thanks, bosses) — just confirmed, yet again, a hypothesis I’ve held for decades: I would be SUCH a good rich person. 

I don’t need to work. I wouldn’t be bored. I could fill my days just fine.

I would. I know it. I wouldn’t be one of those “curse of the lottery” crazies who loses their mind and ends up on some reality show about how “the lottery ruined my life.”

Trust me, I had plenty of time to consider the matter last week, during a perfect Christmas holiday with my parents at the Jersey Shore, and then back in Key West — while binging like millions of others over “The Curious Case of Natalia Grace.” (What a bizarre and twisted tale.)

But back to my riches. I wouldn’t change my whole life; I love my life. I’d just make it more comfortable, but not just for me, for lots of people.

I’d buy a house. I’d buy my parents a place in Key West and my brother a place wherever he wanted. I’d put all my bills on autopay — because I’d know there was finally enough money in the bank each month, at the same time, to cover them all. 

I’d charge all purchases to a credit card, rack up miles and rewards — AND pay the entire balance every month.

I wouldn’t buy loads of ridiculous and depreciating cars. I wouldn’t own a superyacht. Sure, I’d charter one for a few weeks on the Amalfi coast, but OWNING one is just stupidly expensive. Same with a plane. I’d be just as happy with the ability to book a first-class commercial ticket anytime I wanted, for travel anywhere.

Above all, I’d be grateful. Not for the lavish stupidity I could surround myself with. But for the genuine sense of comfort that comes with financial stability.

It’s a lot easier to feel rich if you’ve been broke. And I’ve been broke. Never destitute, by any stretch. I grew up in the upper middle class with the world’s most normal, supportive and loving family. I’ve always had their protection as my forever safety net, my lifeline.

But I’ve never gotten a trust fund allowance every month. (What’s THAT like?) We didn’t take European vacations every summer. I worked full time, every summer, from age 14 on. And when I moved to Key West at 22, I was making $19,000 a year at a full-time newspaper job. But I paid my own rent and my own bills. 

I wouldn’t have some gilded palace filled with staff, golden fixtures and marble statues.

But I’d have a stunning backyard pool and a really, really good mattress. See? Nothing crazy.

I would never buy $800 flip flops from Louis Vuitton. I’m still mad at them for refusing, 25 years ago, to give me one of their shopping bags to carry on Rodeo Drive. (I was planning to put the boots I’d bought at the top of the street — in the “nothing over $20 store” — in the LV bag, but they didn’t know that.)

I wouldn’t spend more than $200 on a purse and I would still scorn anyone who spent thousands of dollars on some hot pink designer Balenciaga bag. I’ll never understand that. It’s a purse. It holds your phone, wallet and tampons.

I wouldn’t suddenly grow fond of caviar and champagne. But I’d splurge on High Noons over White Claws, regardless of which was on sale.

Oh, and I’d travel. Hell, yeah, I’d travel. Anywhere and everywhere. But not to the stupid celebrity, look-at-me places. I’d still use Uber.

I would tip really, really well. And I’d have a hell of a good time. I just need the chance to prove it. Perhaps the local news industry isn’t the best proving ground, but we’ll see. Anything can happen.

Mandy Miles
Mandy Miles drops stuff, breaks things and falls down more than any adult should. An award-winning writer, reporter and columnist, she's been stringing words together in Key West since 1998. "Local news is crucial," she says. "It informs and connects a community. It prompts conversation. It gets people involved, holds people accountable. The Keys Weekly takes its responsibility seriously. Our owners are raising families in Key West & Marathon. Our writers live in the communities we cover - Key West, Marathon & the Upper Keys. We respect our readers. We question our leaders. We believe in the Florida Keys community. And we like to have a good time." Mandy's married to a saintly — and handy — fishing captain, and can't imagine living anywhere else.