900 Trillion Dollars

Off The Wall #11

I read a bit on the web today about a lady in Staten Island who is suing New York City for—get this–$900 trillion dollars. You can’t even say nine hundred trillion dollars without placing your pinky finger in the corner of your mouth like Doctor Evil. Even Doctor Evil in all his evilness only asked for “one billion dollars” in exchange for not blowing up the Earth with a moon-based laser.

The lady who filed the lawsuit claims the city placed her children in foster care because she was an unfit mother who often left them alone. Oh, and she allegedly suffered from a mental illness that included “hallucinations and delusions.”

Okay, case closed. Plaintiff is clearly delusional if she thinks filing a $900 trillion lawsuit is not the act of a mentally ill person and she’s clearly hallucinating if she thinks she’s getting $900 trillion from New York City, whose entire budget for 2012 is $69 billion.

I tried Googling “Net worth of New York City” but all I got were links concerning The Real Housewives of New York City, so apparently its housewives who control most of the money there. Pretty much the same as my house, basically, but on a much smaller scale. No trillions, billions or even millions in my budget.

Nine hundred trillion is such a huge number that it would look like this if you wrote it out: 900,000,000,000,000. I’m guessing she only stopped at $900 trillion because she and her lawyer had no idea what came after a trillion. It’s actually a quadrillion, although it could just as easily be a bazillion, a gorillion, a donkeykongillion or a shakazuluillion, because the number is so large that we really don’t even use it, especially when we’re talking about money.

Even astronomers, who deal with vast distances, don’t use trillions. They jump right to AUs (Astronomical Units, or the distance to the Sun from the Earth) and light years, the distance that light travels in one year.

In fact, there is not $900 trillion in the entire economies of every country on Earth. The United States’ annual Gross Domestic Product is around $14 trillion, which is a paltry sum when compared to this lawsuit.

The richest guy on the entire planet is a Mexican billionaire named Carlos Helu, and his net worth is estimated at $74 billion, which wouldn’t pay even one percent of this lawsuit.

Estimates vary, but all the money in the world would equal about $45 trillion dollars, which would only pay about 5 percent of the crazy lady lawsuit, assuming she won her case and the jury awarded her the full $900 trillion. Maybe she’ll settle for $45 trillion and we can at least pay her upfront.

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Randy Hartless is Executive Director of the Parker Area Chamber of Commerce, columnist and regular contributor on KLPZ 1380am.

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