This past week, for the zillionth consecutive time, I did not win the many-million-dollar Powerball jackpot. In fact for the millionth time I didn’t even have two of the correct numbers. Of course, all games of chance are rigged against me because I never win at things like bingo and raffles. It’s always the r person sitting next to me.
But, ya know, I still believe that one day I will win a $200 million jackpot. And, when I do …
Like most people, I will spread the wealth to my immediate family first, and then to those various and sundry extended family members and friends that I like. But, that last group will be very small and they should not expect a sizable donation.
Some of the do-gooder groups and community improvement agencies would get some dollars, along with my church, college and high school.
Since I would have so much money, there will be some things I can do that can make a difference. And, because I would have so much money, I will think out of the box to make my changes.
First, I would bulldoze the abandoned house down the street and pay whatever it cost to sweep away the remains. Lord knows the city government hasn’t done anything to deal with it for the past three years. Then I would sue the city for not taking care of it first.
I don’t want to hear about red tape. I say “poppycock.”
Hey, wait. If I have lots of dough, that would give me influence and if I have influence, then maybe the city would be inclined to take care of my situation without me having to bring in the dozer.
I then would help out neighborhoods around the city that can’t get movement on abandoned houses and buildings in their communities. I’m guessing that most of those neighborhoods would be in the poorer sections of town. They probably wouldn’t need my help much in what’s called the new south Baton Rouge. As the kids say, “I ain’t hatin’ on them.”
With my cash, I would go to the corner of Terrace Street and Thomas H. Delpit and erect some street lights. That corner has to be darkest and scariest inside the city of Baton Rouge. Drive by there at night and you’re debating if you want to obey the red signal light.
Then I would head to north Baton Rouge and into the Scotlandville community and see if I could partner with investors and community leaders (I’m not spending all of my money) to build large supermarkets so folks there can have easy access to a wide variety of affordable fresh fruit and vegetables.
With so much money I would be able to coax folks to do almost anything. I go to the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board with my newfound pals (because I would be so rich and influential) in the petrochemical and other industries to offer a viable, long-term job skills program in every public school. It would start in the 10th grade.
Every student, male and female, whether going to college or not, would be required to have a marketable skill in the field where jobs are available in this region upon graduation. That could be pipefitting, videogame designers, sandblasting, graphic design, plumber, office administrator. Let the job market drive the courses.
Too often, some students who don’t go to college have to find their way to something later on. Wouldn’t it be great to give every high school student a fighting chance to make a good living immediately after graduation?
Of course, I didn’t come up with everything. I still have some things in mind. But for now, these will do, especially my plans for the house down the street.
Edward Pratt is a former Advocate editor. He is assistant to the chancellor for media relations at Southern University. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.