Tag Archives: money

1989. Daughter memories

It was a tragedy when Diana and Mansell’s seven-year-old daughter, Destiny, died. It had been a medical mistake. Destiny had gone in “for a little operation” and the surgeon had left a sponge inside her when he sewed up. Destiny died.

Diana and Mansell were, of course, heart-broken.

“We have to sue the doctor,” declared Mansell. “We have to sue the hospital. We have to sue the Health Board. We have to sue…”

“I think we should remember little Destiny and the happy times,” said Diana. “To sue would simply extend our grieving forever.”

”It’s not the money,” said Mansell. “It’s the principle. We don’t want this happening again.”

“I think we can rest assured that it won’t happen again, whether we sue or not,” said Diana. “I would prefer to remember Destiny the happy way she was.”

But Mansell went on and on. He wouldn’t let the topic drop. Whenever Destiny’s name was mentioned he went on about the irresponsibility of the doctors and the nurses and the hospitals.

It was impossible for Diana to ever share memories of their daughter with her husband without a diatribe. It lasted a lifetime.

1988. Granny’s gift

It was the year 2064. Mary (such an old-fashion, uncreative name for the 2060s) had come across some old (really old) family videos. They were in a box in the attic. At first she didn’t know what they were. Then a friend suggested they were videos and Mary spent quite some time going from expert to expert to find out how they should be played. Eventually a state-of-the-art studio managed to copy them for Mary onto her Clockdropia.

The first one she watched was labelled “The Family – 1991”. Mary didn’t recognize anyone in it, and presumed (even though the house with the attic where they were found had been in the family for generations) that the video was not of her own family.

The second video was more revealing. Mary recognized her late grandmother when her grandmother appeared to be in her teens. Grandmother was holding paper bags, and in them she said were wads of money. “Wads and wads of money. I’ll show you where I’m going to hide them so that a person in the future who finds and watches this video is welcome to get the money and become instantly rich!”

Would you believe! The paper bags were under a loose floorboard in the corridor cupboard. It was a miracle the house hadn’t burnt down accidentally or that the house hadn’t been sold or that someone hadn’t accidentally stumbled across the bags of money while returning the vacuum cleaner to the corridor cupboard. Mary went to the cupboard immediately.

There underneath the floorboards were bags. Inside each bag was an unbelievable pile of money. Mary counted it. It came to just over four hundred thousand dollars!

Goodness! It was 2064. What does one do with worthless paper money? Mary chucked everything into the dumpster.

1987. The number of toffees

(Note: I wrote this story four months prior to the Presidential Election in the United States. Being a foreigner I was not keen to meddle in American politics, but didn’t want the occasion to pass without a story. Hence, today’s story doesn’t take sides. In fact, as you will see, it possibly has nothing to do with the election. I’m not actually trying to make a point – this was posted even before voting began!)

You might think that organizing a simple “Guess the number of toffees in the jar” competition at the local fair was a pretty easy task. Not so! People paid a good five dollars to enter, the prize being a vehicle donated by a nearby car manufacturer. It was all for a good cause. The children’s hospital needed forty new beds, and the locals had got together and organized a fair.

Pauline was in charge. Her cousin, Michael, had come to stay a few days and he was a most willing helper, although he was not seen publicly. It was after all a local fund raiser.

Michael’s task was to act as if he had never met Pauline before. When Pauline announced that the winner was 124, Michael would step forward as a stranger and receive the car keys.

“And the winner is…” declared Pauline dramatically, “the winner is Michael! Don’t ask me who Michael is, but if he’s here could he please step forward.”

That was when the policeman declared that to be fair the toffees in the jar had to be counted by two independent observers.

Pauline and the police officer had an argument. The policeman prevailed. Gavin and Gwendoline were asked to count the toffees. It came to 124. Michael had won the car after all, which just goes to show that corruption can pay off if it’s properly organized.

1884. How to succeed

(Apologies today for two postings; this monologue here, and then a poem in an hour’s time. I normally like to do only one posting a day, but I’m “slightly” neurotic about not messing up my story numbering system and wanted to get the poem out of my head… anyway… thanks for your patience!)

You can’t pamper to everyone’s needs. You can’t pussyfoot around. You’ve got to be bloody-minded and go for it. Remember, if you want to make money, you’re number one.

Let me illustrate this with a story. There was this guy I knew called Dale. He was a plumber. He came to me and said, “Look Lincoln,” he said, “I’ve got this little old lady who’s not getting any hot water in the house. Probably she has accidentally flicked a switch off or something. She asked if I could come and look at it, but she said she couldn’t pay until next week when the pension comes in. What should I do?”

I said to him, to this guy Dale, you tell her to jump in the lake. It’s a dog eat dog world out there and if she can’t cough up then she can’t get the job done.

Later my mate, Dale, he said he did just that and she went for a week without hot water. And when the pension came in he contacted the lady to ask if she still needed the job getting done. She said it was getting urgent so he went round to her place two days later and charged her double for hounding him. Of course he didn’t say the hounding bit; he said he was charging double because the job was urgent. Also, it was just the switch turned off but he wasn’t going to tell her that. So he fiddled around for a while with some tools.

That’s the way to go about things if you want to earn a living – in fact more than a living – that’s the way to go about things if you want to live reasonably comfortably.

My motto for my business is KINDNESS LIVES HERE. People love it.

1809. Beautiful shoes

Esther saw the shoes in the shop. They were black ankle boots. They were beautiful. They were expensive.

Almost every day she would look at the shoes. Yes, they definitely cost too much. If she had more money she could squander it on these shoes.

Esther showed the shoes to her friend, Caroline. Caroline agreed that the shoes were lovely. “They would suit you down to the ground,” said Caroline. Of course, Caroline admiring the shoes wasn’t going to get Esther the shoes! Carolina could ill-afford to buy the shoes as much as Esther.

Not having enough money didn’t stop Esther longing, and looking, and wishing, and hoping, and dreaming.

Then one day, the shoes were not there. They had been sold. Goodness knows who had purchased them. Some rich person no doubt.

As she walked along the dusty road, Esther was consoled by the fact that none of the other kids at school could afford shoes either.

1776. I enjoy being a billionaire

Look, life’s not everything it’s cracked up to be. People dream of being rich. I can tell you straight: it’s not always all joy being a billionaire.

Everyone pesters you all the time for a helping hand. They haven’t got this; they haven’t got that. Why should I be able to afford all this stuff when they have enough trouble putting a boiled potato on the table?

I own seven houses – these are not the ones I rent out; these are the ones I live in at different times of the year. People have to realize that when you’re not in a house for twelve months of the year you have to pay a person to maintain the house. And a gardener; they’re not cheap these days. All I hear is moan, moan, moan from some people. No wonder they’re not rich; how can a moaner make a fortune?

But I want to point out something in all seriousness. I know this family a few blocks from where I live. They live in not the most respectable part of town. I know them because I got the wife there to sew me some special hot-plate mittens using a fabric I particularly liked. She worked from home as a seamstress. You know what? Their fridge broke down. I could’ve bought them a new fridge, just like that. But I didn’t. They skimped and saved and when they could afford it they bought and paid for their new fridge. It was yellow. They were so happy that the husband called into work sick for the day it arrived and they spent the rest of the day going in and out of their kitchen looking at the thing. It was wonderful. A joyful thing.

I’ve never known that. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy being a billionaire. But there are some things – like the excitement and joy of a new fridge – I can’t buy.

1735. Aunt Natalia wasn’t a bad old stick

 

Natalia kept her finances well-hidden. In fact, Natalie’s finances were so well-hidden that everyone presumed she was skint.

It wasn’t until she died that rumours started that possibly she had more than she led people to believe. She lived in a small fairly run-down house which she said in her will was to be sold, and what was left after funeral expenses should go to the Prevention of Cruelty to Cats Society. For the rest, it wasn’t much – not that she had much of a family anyway; just four or five grown-up nieces and nephews. Most each got what amounted to little more than an old piece of furniture or a domestic knick-knack.

Peter was left a dilapidated old writing desk. It was small, scratched, and ugly. In fact, he had nowhere to put it and no use for it. He dropped it off at the Salvation Army’s second-hand store on the way home. They could get a buck or two for it.

Freda was left a little music box that no longer worked. It had a glass ballerina on top that was meant to go around and around in time to the tinkling music. The container was much too big for jewellery. In fact it was a bit of a monstrosity. Dear Old Aunt Natalia! But… goodness! The broken music box was good only for the trash, which is where it ended up.

Darren was left Aunt Natalia’s old pieces of luggage; two battered suitcases. Not only were they empty, but they were extremely cumbersome and heavy. They were deceptively big for the relatively small amount they could hold. Just too, too old-fashion. He chucked them away.

Bryan got nothing other than a mention in the will. In fact the will stated that “Bryan gets a thousand dollars for every time he’s visited or asked after me in the last fifteen years – that is, absolutely zilch.”

Wendy got an old armchair. She actually did take it home. It was the right size for her dog. The dog’s bed was old and worn. This armchair wasn’t much better but it was free and suited the purpose.

So much for Aunt Natalia’s generosity! Yes, she kept her finances well-hidden because there was little to nothing to hide. The nieces and nephews weren’t particularly sad about her passing, although Wendy did say that “Aunt Natalia wasn’t a bad old stick”.

And then Natalia’s dog scratched a tear in the armchair’s upholstery.

1636. Hard times

Ernst had no real life savings but through care and a little nous he could get by comfortably enough on the weekly pension. His rent was reasonable, although it ate up the larger part of his pension. He could buy groceries, and by careful planning could even get a little something extra on a special occasion. He could pay for his electricity, provided he was careful; for example he always took a cold shower to save on hot water. He had a cell phone which cost him simply a few dollars because he never used it but kept it in case of emergency.

His house had a wood burner, but since he lived near a pine plantation the forest owners were happy enough for him to forage. In fact over the summer he built up quite a collection of firewood in his woodshed. As well as that, Ernst loved to garden, so the house was usually bright with a vase of fresh flowers, to say nothing of the soups and vegetables he could freeze for when the growing season was over.

All in all, Ernst survived reasonably well on the pension.

And then he had a stroke. He made a fairly remarkable recovery, but was limited. No more could he take a cold shower. He couldn’t collect and chop the firewood. It was cold. Nothing that year had been frozen from the garden. He couldn’t afford the few dollars for his phone. The electricity bill grew too big to pay. Then he couldn’t afford the rent. He was evicted but it cost too much to move his belongings. Besides, he had nowhere to go. He tried to sell a few things but with little luck.

Ernst was homeless.

As Mrs. Angela Govind-Higginson, who used to know Ernst and his late wife many years ago, observed, “Mercifully, he’s now dead.”

1520: Something nice to read while having breakfast

Thelma was not well-off; in fact she was practically skint. She had three children and they lived in a little house with a fairly basic rent. Thelma’s husband had been cleaning the spouting when he fell off the ladder and landed on his head. After the funeral, Thelma tried unsuccessfully to find a job. She wasn’t skilled at much. She had very little to go on, just a few savings that were kept in a tin in the cupboard under the kitchen counter. There was enough there for five weeks’ rent and a little food and the telephone and the electricity and some school books and… By being extra careful, and by doing without herself, Thelma managed to stretch things for a week longer than expected.

But the day came… There was no money left. In fact, that was not quite true; there was a two dollar coin in the tin in the cupboard under the kitchen counter. Thelma knew exactly what she would do with it. Before moving out of the house onto the street, Thelma would spend the two dollars on candy for the kids. It was a complete waste, she knew, but it would be an opulent extravagance; a sugar-coated memory; a throw-all-caution-to-the-wind celebration. The children were at school. When they came home she would give them a chocolate each and move onto the street.

On her way out of the house she picked up a letter on the floor that had been delivered through the door earlier that morning. It was from the landlord; did she realize she had missed paying the rent eleven weeks ago? Honestly, it was enough to break the camel’s back. Thelma burst into tears. She dabbed her eyes dry, tried to look reasonably respectable, and headed for the candy shop.

Here, gentle reader, is where you step in. I know you want something nice to happen, and quickly.

Thelma was the one millionth customer to walk through the door at the candy store. She got a great big free bag of candy in all colours, shapes and sizes – more than enough to rot the children’s teeth, if they couldn’t find anywhere to use a toothbrush out on the street.

On the way home Thelma gave the two dollars (and some candy) to a woman begging on the sidewalk. Surprise! Surprise! The woman was part of a “Why-not-make-someone’s day?” television show. For her kindness Thelma won six hundred thousand dollars!

And, dear reader, if you hadn’t had such a kind heart, such a wonderful thing would not have happened to Thelma. Here’s the moral: see how you have already changed the world for good, and you haven’t even finished your morning coffee yet!

1504: Prenuptial agreement

It was the ravishing, rich film star who insisted on a prenuptial agreement. I’m not having an ordinary plumber, such as the person I’m engaged to, running off with most of my money just because he married into wealth, said the ravishing, rich film star. As far as I’m concerned he can keep the car and boat, and get quarter of the cash. The rest will be mine.

The plumber was not at all happy with the prospect of a prenuptial agreement. It implies, he said, that you don’t think the marriage will last. I’d prefer to get nothing at all in the unlikely event of a divorce, rather than have a prenuptial agreement.

But the ravishing, rich film star had her way. Ten months later, when the marriage collapsed in a heap of rubble, the plumber (whose name was Jack) got the car, the boat, and quarter of the cash.

Fair is fair, said the ravishing, rich film star. What she didn’t know was that before the marriage the plumber had piles and piles of filthy lucre. He was ten times richer than the ravishing, rich film star. The difference was, he’d never thought to tell the ravishing, rich film star.

It was the plumber’s fourth marriage.