The Barenaked Ladies song “If I Had a Million Dollars” is one many people know at least some of the words to. It is fun to sing along with but the line at the end of each refrain left a bad taste in my mouth for a long time.
If I had a million dollars
I’d buy your love
Isn’t love idealised to be something that is not for sale? Why then romanticize about buying it? Sometimes I wouldn’t sing that line but usually I did because it was part of the song.
Recently I found myself singing the rest of the lyrics when the line that bothered me suddenly stopped bothering me. I have decided I like it in this context. And, as usual, it is the context that is key.
Let us review the list of things that are being purchased for “you”. (In-song commentary is in parentheses.) My commentary is in italics.
- a house and furniture for your house
(Maybe a nice chesterfield or an ottoman)
This sounds incredibly practical. Maybe not a first-date-move, but practical nevertheless.
- a K-Car
(A nice Reliant automobile)
Decent enough cars in their day and a terrific pun for any age.
- a tree fort in our yard – you could help, it wouldn’t be that hard
(Maybe we could put like a little tiny fridge in there somewhere
You know, we could just go up there and hang out
Like open the fridge and stuff
There would already be laid out foods for us
Like little pre-wrapped sausages and things)
This sounds incredibly fun. I would probably add a zipline exit.
- a fur coat
(But not a real fur coat that’s cruel)
Both practical and stylish.
- an exotic pet
(like a llama or an emu)
I perceive this to be a reasonably common move in a relationship where a couple wants to explore the commitment of caring for a being incapable of caring for itself. In this case, I take exotic to equal “more adventure”. Throw in a dog or cat allergy and this even makes practical sense.
- John Merrick‘s remains
(all them crazy elephant bones)
This constitutes an unusual gift, to be sure, but it certainly meets the test of “unique and interesting”.
- We wouldn’t have to walk to the store, we’d take a limousine ’cause it costs more
Everyone who has ridden in a limo knows it is fun. Definitely worth taking a limousine to the store at least once. What a scene it could be, especially if “you” bring your exotic pet and wear your fur coat. I would dress regular. We could tie the exotic pet up outside while we bought our stuff from the store. Then we’d all walk home from the store because walking is fun too.
- We wouldn’t have to eat Kraft Dinner
(But we would eat Kraft Dinner
Of course we would, we’d just eat more
And buy really expensive ketchups with it… dijon ketchups)
While I am not a fan of Kraft Dinner per se, I respect and appreciate the notion of continuing to do the things you love, even if you feel you are not financially required to do them. For example, walking home from the store.
- a green dress
(But not a real green dress, that’s cruel)
- some art
(A Picasso or a Garfunkel)
An artful pun. They will look and sound nice in the house, I’m sure.
- a monkey
(Haven’t you always wanted a monkey?)
I have heard monkeys can be trouble. Definitely good to be looking for consensus on this purchase.
It seems to me that the proponent in this case is sharing, playful, funny, thoughtful, and grounded. That alone is probably not enough to win someone over but those attributes are likely pretty good ingredients for an attempt. And, having spent the million buying those things, there would not likely be much cash left. It is a gamble. But if it works, he‘d be rich.