Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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July 23, 2012

Oh, what's it like to be super rich?


And the rest I would spend foolishly.

Nah, that’s not me, darn it all.

I like to think I would pay off my kids’ college loans, spread some dough around to other relatives and friends who have shown me kindness, and give generously to all kinds of worthy charities.

Oh, I suppose I’d get a decent car, but I’d rather live quietly in a modest house in the suburbs than be stuffed into some mansion where I’d have to have servants to take care of the joint and bodyguards to see that no one gets abducted.

One thing I’m certain about is I wouldn’t want my money to permit me to be Mitt Romney or Sheldon Adelson.

The guy I’d really want to be is John Beresford Tipton.

OK, he’s fictional, but so, for that matter, is all my money.

If you’re younger than a half-century old, you probably don’t know who I’m writing about. But if you remember the ’50s and ’60s, you know who I mean.

John Beresford Tipton was a character on the CBS television show “The Millionaire.” Each week, an episode would begin with a calm voice explaining the wonderful premise of the program.

“My name is Michael Anthony. And until his death just a few years ago, I was the executive secretary to the late John Beresford Tipton, Jr.

“John Beresford Tipton, a fabulously wealthy and fascinating man, whose many hobbies included his habit of giving away $1 million, tax-free, each week — to a total stranger ...”

You never saw Mr. Tipton’s face, only his right hand passing off a check for a million bucks to Anthony, who would dutifully give it to that week’s beneficiary.

I loved the tax-free part, and you’ve got to remember, a million dollars in 1955 was worth almost $9 million today.

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