Be honest and admit it: when you heard recently about all those people exercising their Facebook stock options, you said to yourself, “whydidn’t this happen to me?!” I don’t know a single person who wasn’t mulling over the idea of big money, and trust me, I know MANY people. Even I have entertained such thoughts – BIG TIME! Especially since the newspapers rubbed our noses in it and reported about all kinds of lucky nobodies who passed through the offices of Facebook selling sandwiches or painting the walls and, instead of being paid, were given a few shares of the company that today are worth $10 million. There was also some story of a secretary who agreed to drivearound in a Mazda 3 and not a Mazda 5 – and now she’s earned $100 million.
With those figures in mind, I sat opposite the “First Lady” one evening and I tried to understand where all our money is disappearing. You all know what I’m talking about; the standard routine of the husband looking over the bills from the supermarket, the insurance, gas for the cars, the kids’ afternoon activities, and wondering how he’s ever able to get through the month.
And just like those discussions about winning the lottery or having Ed McMahon show up at your door, we started fantasizing about being among those first few Facebook friends. After all, we too had all kinds of great ideas for start-ups and for social (and anti-social) applications. We too, like Zukerberg, know how to screw over our friends when the time comes (i.e. when big money is involved).
We also began fantasizing about making a modest exit of $100 million. I said that the first stage will be purchasing 50 apartments in Tel Aviv at $1 million each. The rest I’d put aside for conspicuous consumption. The “First Lady” claimed I was sorely mistaken and we should instead buy 25 larger apartments, because a million dollars today in Tel Aviv would hardly be enough to buy a 2-room apartment in a transitional neighborhood. Besides, since our daughters’ future is very important, it’s preferable to diversify our investments a bit more, because if something happens to Tel Aviv, we’re screwed.
I told her that, as the guy who worked at Facebook 24/7 and had to answer all those calls from that annoying Zukerberg at 2 AM, I too have a say in how the money is spent! She shot me an angry glance. I whispered to her that I thought it would be a good idea if our daughters got jobs, since if they relied solely on our money, they’d eventually become spoiled and lazy and our lives (and theirs) would become a living hell – and I have plenty of examples…
I felt I was getting through to her; there was definitely a change in her tone of voice. In the end, we settled for a 10,000 square foot apartment in Petach Tikva in a quiet religious section with a room for each of our daughters, a large kitchen and a porch for barbeques. I told her that if I don’t have a study of my own, it isn’t worth it. She responded by questioning why I need a study in the first place – “with all that money, you won’t have to work anymore”.
“Yeah, I know”, I said, “but someone will have to go through the mail, the bills, check that the bank isn’t messing with our interest rates and collect rent for the apartments we’re renting out. Who’s going that to take care of all that – you?” We settled on a small workspace for me and a laptop and I vowed there would be no wires or cables, since I have a tendency to clutter up any room I happen to be in with wires and gadgets and this would be unbecoming, given our new socio-economic status.
Then, she started talking about a swimming pool on the roof. “Over my dead body”, I told her. I knew very well what would happen. In the end, it would be ME who every morning would have to slave away at the pool, cleaning the pool floor with that long stupid pole. Not to mention the many guests on the weekends who of course “happened to be in the area and decided to pop by to say hello”. Yeah, right… with bathing suits! “When was the last time you were in a swimming pool, anyway?” I grilled her. “You hate pools. You prefer the beach, but there’s no way I’m purchasing a beach. Enough of this!”
She didn’t respond. I got up and declared that I want a Harley-Davidson. Black and beautiful with spikes and a sleek chrome tail pipe. “Are you out of your mind” she shot back. “You don’t doesn’t look good on a motorcycle. You’d look like one of those old, fat Hells Angels who smokes grass all day. Not to mention those skanky chicks who tag along, wearing leather boots and sleeveless undershirts”. I actually wanted to discuss that particular point, but she wouldn’t let me.
I agreed to give up on the motorcycle, under the condition that we have a live-in doctor. I’m not a spring chicken anymore and I have all kinds of health issues. It wouldn’t hurt for us to have a permanent doctor on the premises, who knew all of our health problems and who perhaps specializes in cosmetic surgery. Yeah, come to think of it, I’d like to have someone who knows how to properly inject Botox and stretch the skin where necessary.
My wife broke into tears. She claimed I was sub-consciously suggesting that she has aged. “Not at all”, I said as I reach out to hug her. But she was already on her way to the bedroom where she remained till the morning. I was left to sleep in the living room.
At night, while in exile on the sofa, I dreamt that Mark Zukerberg called me to ask what’s doing. I told me that he can take his stock options and go to hell. I want my life back. If a connection with someone from the music industry is so important to him, he’s got Bono, who just cashed in on his Facebook stock for $1 billion.
Zukerberg gave me a “like” on my Facebook page and disappeared.