So this cool Blogsite I belong to said we should all write something amazing about Friends and Money. It’s a good topic and I wanted to know how good I am with money because I never seem to have any and I took the money quiz and scored 59. Which is apparently OK and proves that leprechauns have been squirreling away my funds while I sleep because there’s no way I’m bad with money. The test SAID SO.
Money has never been an issue for me. Not because my family is wealthy, but because I’ve never had any and neither has anyone I know. Technically I did everything right because I went to a good college and got an honors degree in business but I still earn about the same amount of money as an Egyptian pyramid slave. That’s what you get for being born in a Third World country. (You also get cholera. A lot.)
But I never had the “things” my friends had.
We got our first TV set when I was seven years old. Before that, my dad used to take us to the mall and make us sit on the benches in front of the Audiovisual store so we could watch cartoons on the TVs in the display window. (Some good, sound parenting there, Dad.)
Toys were hard to ignore because like all children I was a materialistic little asshole. I remember arguing with my mother on Christmas Day, with my letter to Santa in my hand, “I SPECIFICALLY SAID I wanted TWO My Little Ponies for Christmas. A MOM and a BABY. This is just ONE My Little Pony!”
I didn’t have a Mermaid Barbie either, which was the fashion item of the day. I wanted that thing so badly I would probably buy one if I saw it in a toystore today. Instead my dad brought home two ducklings in a paper bag whom we called Gena and Henry. I also remember that my dad used to let us build “fords” in the backyard out of sharp sticks and industrial rubbish and then we would occasionally set fire to it. (More sound parenting. He ran kinda’ a crappy operation when my mom wasn’t around.)
When I was a teen I started whining for Levi jeans and things I saw girls on TV having but my parents couldn’t afford. So I started working when I was 14 years old. I cleaned up tables and dishes for 1 dollar an hour. I also watered lawns, walked dogs and cleaned sour milk out of frozen yoghurt machines. And my whole attitude regarding money changed.
When I suddenly had money in my pocket I didn’t – to my surprise – end up changing my jeans, but rather changing my friends (to a group of people who didn’t care what kind of jeans I wore).
Today I live in a “converted” stable on a scraggly little wine farm. It has 3 rooms and about a thousand good, secondhand paperbacks stacked along the walls. My car is turning 15 this year and the only thing keeping the bumper attached to it are cable ties. My friends and I still split one pizza five ways and I can identify the “good” cheap red wine in any store. I got my first washing machine (secondhand) at age 26 and it revolutionized my whole life. I’ve never owned a vacuum cleaner or dishwasher or a pair of jeans that cost more than 10 dollars. I’ve never had a credit card and I don’t owe anyone a single penny. My wedding dress cost 30 dollars and I had a barbeque for the reception. It didn’t kill me and it didn’t make me less of a person. I’ve never lain in bed dreaming of the possessions I don’t have.
I will never be rich. I will never have more money than I need. But I had my father (crappy parenting aside) spend time with me and I’ve learnt to keep myself entertained without just passively drinking in TV images and video games. I’ve learned to not worry about what I look like.I’ve also managed to attract a whole bunch of people who feel the same and really awesome and who would totally buy me a Mermaid Barbie if they saw one.
That's gotta be worth something, right?