Thursday, June 24, 2010

Liberal, Bleeding-Heart, Tree-Hugging, 'Kumbaya'-Singing, Green Tea-Drinking, Socialist, Communist, Marxist, Fascist, Progressive Democrat ...

I'm sure I missed a few there. No doubt someone will set me straight in the comments.

But this morning, I read a story about the "as-is" $75 million mansion in Orlando, and I just gotta say, "Really?"

The lede grafs:

"Listed as a 'monument to unparalleled success,' the largest home for sale in the United States comes with plenty of space but no carpet, tiles or interior walls. It's up to the future buyer to finish it.

The mansion started by timeshare tycoon David Siegel boasts plenty of big numbers: 90,000 square feet. Twenty-three bathrooms. Thirteen bedrooms. Ten kitchens. A 20-car garage, with additional space for two limos. Three pools. A bowling alley. Indoor roller rink. Two-story movie theater. Video arcade. Fitness center. Baseball field and two tennis courts."

Ten kitchens? Really? Ten kitchens?

Twenty-three bathrooms? Really? Twenty-three bathrooms?

This isn't about everyone having exactly as much as everyone else. But really? Someone can justify building a home that contains 23 bathrooms? That doesn't strike them as maybe just a smidgen excessive?

Or a master suite that covers as much square footage as most homes?

I don't even know how big my bedroom is, but if I had to guess, I'd say it's 11' x 12'. You know what I do in there? I sleep. In my bed. Which doesn't take up a whole lot of space to begin with. Why would I need the entire footprint of my house to be my bedroom?

I'm a giver by nature. I get that from my mother. I like giving to people. It makes me happy. I like that something as simple as a loaf of bread or a plateful of cookies can transform someone's day. I like offering to help, because often, people are reluctant to ask. And when they do ask, I do my best to find the time. (That's not an issue these days. Time, I have.)

And I do it with no expectations. It's not tit for tat. Though in the spirit of "You get what you give," those who give of themselves usually receive even more in return. I'm not keeping score, but I'm confident that if I ever need to put out a call for help, those I've helped would be there to help me.

I'm not saying that people who live in homes with 23 bathrooms aren't kind people. I hope they are. But such excess strikes me as emblematic of a devolution of humanity.

The man building this home said that he figured his family would never have to leave, because they'd have everything they'd want and need.

Isn't that sad?

What about community? What about interacting with other people? What about being a citizen of, if not the world, the city or town in which you live?

We're already divided politically to a point that scares the hell out of me. The next step is to build self-contained worlds?

And yes, there's an element of philanthropy to all of this, too. There's the question of how much any one person (or family) needs.

The price tag to buy the finished version of the Orlando mansion? $100 million.

Oprah's Mendocino mansion cost only $50 million. She seems pretty happy when she's there. Apparently, $50 million can buy a lot of comfort.

Think of what good could come of $50 million if the Orlando folks could find a way to be satisfied with a $50 million home instead of a $100 million home.

Of course, people are entitled to spend the money they earn, but how much is enough? Is there ever enough? We can't spend our way to fulfillment. Happiness isn't found behind the wheel of a $500,000 car.

Orson Welles knew all this in 1941. All the wealth in the world didn't do much for Charles Foster Kane.

7 Comments:

Blogger Jeff Hunter said...

People spend their money on what they think they need. I think spending more than $12 on a haircut is a waste of money, but I don't criticize someone for spending 20 times that. To me, $12 is enough. To somebody else, $240 is enough. That's their choice, they've earned it they can spend it as they wish.

I wouldn't think twice about giving what others would consider a day's pay to charity. Some think I'm crazy, but screw them, I can afford it because I get $12 haircuts. :)

9:49 AM  
Anonymous OneMan said...

The previous commenter does have a bit of a point.

But that being said a house that big seems a bit dumb. To be honest, I would rather just have more land and/or a small fishing pond.

10:31 AM  
Blogger Jeff Hunter said...

OneMan has just illustrated my point. He'd rather have a fishing pond, David Siegel would rather have 23 bathrooms. He made it, he paid more than his fair share in taxes, why can't he spend it the way he wants?

11:06 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

I'm not saying he can't spend it the way he wants.

I'm wondering (this is the way my brain is wired as well as how I view the world) at what point "enough" becomes enough for some people, how, to them, it's a good expenditure of money to spend $100 million on a home.

Hence the title of my post. If I had $100 million, I would live well, certainly, but I'd also think, "I can do a lot with this money to make the world a better place." And do then go do that.

I'm not saying David doesn't do his part. I have no idea if he does or not, but gross excess seems to me just that: gross.

12:12 PM  
Blogger Jeff Hunter said...

What is more gross; spending $100M when your net worth is $1.8B or spending $1.2M on a house when your net worth is $300K?

http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2007/1015/096.html

12:47 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Well said, Beth! I get mad enough watching "House Hunters" and hearing people complain that the bedrooms are too small or the bathroom vanity doesn't have double sinks. Of course Siegal can do what he wants with his money. But what kind of person is that selfish? Maybe I have a different mentality because I don't have $100 million to fritter away, or maybe it's because I actually notice all the suffering in the world and couldn't in good conscious keep that much money to myself when I fantasize constantly about how I would help people if I were rich. We seem to forget that there are cultures where entire families share one room, not that people can relate to that in a society where multiple cars, high-def TV's, smart phones, iPads, & Kindle Readers are becoming the norm...

1:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you mention cookies? cuz Dan

3:55 PM  

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