The Real Reason It is Good To Have Money

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“Another Saturday night, and I ain’t got nobody…”

Okay, it’s not Saturday night, it’s Friday.  And, unlike the song, I didn’t just get paid, either.   Payday is the 5th and the 20th, but for some reason I only occasionally get paid before the official pay date when payday is on a weekend or a holiday.  This cycle, payday is on a Saturday, and my check wasn’t deposited, but should be there on Monday.   In the 5+ years I have worked for my current employer, my checks have never been deposited to my account on Saturday or Sunday or a holiday.  

So, I’m well and truly broke until Monday.  Then it’ll be a trip to the dreaded Walmart for groceries, because it’s very literally the closest and cheapest place for me to shop to fill my cabinet.  I kind of wish it wasn’t.  I wish it wouldn’t be such an imposition to boycott Walmart.  But, I need light bulbs, and groceries and acetaminophen and there are few places I can get it all with one trip.  Since I don’t have a car, one of my housemates who does gives me a ride for less than a taxi would cost me.  But I can’t afford to be going three or four places to get what I need just to spite Walmart.  I don’t have an extra $15 or $20 to spend on carfare twice per month.  

Yeah, I’m that broke.  Destitute.  Penurious.  Impoverished.  Hey, I’m a thesaurus!   

If I had money, I might have a car again, even though I really don’t like driving.  I never was a “true American male” in that sense.   Wasn’t champing at the big to get behind the wheel of some overpowered muscle care in 1970 when I turned 16 and could legally do so.  I’ve seen cars I like, cars I thought were sexy, cars I thought would turn heads, but I’ve never been real focused on trying to acquire one of those for myself.  I would have liked a Hummer if it was a little more practical, just because of its overall utility.  I owned several American Motors Gremlins in my time.  Seriously.  Held onto one that I bought for $200 for over 10 years.  When it finally just completely died and couldn’t be salvaged any longer, I bought a 5-year-old Chevy Cavalier station wagon that I then drove for 15 years, until I finally junked it almost 3 years ago now.  And I’ve not had a car since.  

What would I buy if I had more than enough money to be stupid with some of it?  We’ll, I’d probably buy two cars.  I would buy something small, seriously miserly on gas and upkeep, perhaps even a hybrid or electric.  Maybe an electric Smart Car.  The biggest drawback, to me, of a small car is that I would then be even more anxious about being on the road with all the idiots who would try to run over me in their two-story four-wheel-drive pickups.  And I might get a van or a truck.  To haul model airplane stuff to the field and back.  If I had money and I needed to impress a date or something, I could always rent a vehicle for the evening.  

See, that’s why it’s good to have money.   There are a lot of things money can’t buy (but probably fewer than you think; I once quipped “Money may not buy happiness, but it’ll buy a good enough actress I can’t tell the difference!”)   The most important thing money can “buy,” isn’t even a purchase.  

It’s options.

When you have money, you have choices.  What poverty does is steal choices.  If you have a little money in the bank, you can quit your job without worrying about needing the insurance and not being able to go six months without while you wait to be eligible at a new job for their group insurance.  (If you find a job that offers insurance.)  You can decide where to go on vacation, rather than sitting around because you can’t afford to go anywhere if you do get a couple of paid days off.   You can decide to look for housing where the schools are good or crime is low, rather than where the rents are cheapest.  You can decide which restaurant to go to, instead of being limited to a choice of which flavor ramen to fix for dinner.  

I’d have the option of shopping somewhere else instead of being forced to consolidate all my shopping into one trip (which actually isn’t a bad idea and is a good habit) to Walmart (which is the bad part).

Unquestionably, the single reason it is good to have money is because it buys you options.

Mania And The Downside

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Ideas.  I have lots of ideas.   And, of course, I’d probably be better served by going to bed and getting some sleep so I can work my job tonight, than staying up bouncing between a half-dozen half-finished blogs, a half-dozen partly read books (at least two of which I doubt I’ll bother finishing, because frankly, they’re just not very good or engaging), news programs I’m too distracted to watch, research I’m too tired and hyper to concentrate on, and all the other things that are keeping me awake at the moment.

My best friend is the son of a psychiatrist.  He told me many years ago, when I was a teenager, that I was manic depressive.   It’s the closest I’ve come to a diagnosis of having bipolar disorder.  I tend to avoid the people who could actually diagnose me with that and I’d have to listen to them.

When I was married, my now-ex-wife referred to my “Superman days.”   Many days I would go along, not getting a hell of a lot done besides working and sleeping and eating, and then I’d have a day, usually once or twice per month, when I got all the things done that needed doing besides eating and sleeping and working.  Mow the yard, paint the house, install new faucets, whatever.

I never went out and spent a lot of money I couldn’t afford on a lot of things I didn’t need, just to be buying things to fill some hole inside me I couldn’t explain.  I never went out and tried to have sex with a half-dozen ladies all on the same weekend (like the aforementioned friend of mine did one weekend on a visit home from college).  I never binge drank, or binge ate, or binged on drugs.  I never did a lot of the things that most people look at as examples of manic behavior.   My mania was (is?) always characterized by having a lot of ideas about things to write about that come so fast and that are all so good that I can’t seem to get them all written down before I forget something.

The downside of the mania is, of course, depression.  When it comes time to do the research, it’s overwhelming.  I can’t find the answers to my questions.  The slogging work of actually pounding keys is too much effort just now, because I’m tired, I’m in pain, my hands hurt from neuropathy, my back hurts, and I just don’t have the energy any longer.  Putting pencil to paper for a drawing, I can’t make it “look” right.  Cutting wood for a project and figuring out the design won’t work.  Everything grinds to a halt.  No ephemeral pleasure seems to be worth daunting effort and the chance it will be unsatisfying anyway.

After the party, there’s always clean up to do.  Pick up the cups and bottles, fill the trash bags and the dishwasher.  Arrange to the clean the carpets you just cleaned before the party so they’d look good for guests who trashed your floors with dropped ashes and spilled drinks.

But… It was a hell of a party!