I’m a cheap guy. Anybody who knows me will tell you that. Not disgustingly cheap, mind you. But close. If Raisin Bran…or solid white Bumble Bee tuna…or Apple and Eve apple juice go on sale? I’ll buy a backpack full of the stuff and hope that by the time it runs out there will be another sale. There’s really no need for all that parsimony. I think I got if from my grandmother, who was the cheapest person I’ve ever met.
I’ve done one extravagant thing in my life. And it taught me a lesson. At the ripe old age of 6, my mother gave me a whole dollar for my birthday…which I promptly spent on 20 packs of baseball cards. It turned out that every card in all those packs was one I already had…and all I really got for my buck was 20 slabs of putrid bubble gum. Yccch! Talk about an instructional moment!
Maybe I’m not so cheap after all. I harken back to my days taking photos of the girls at a certain factory. Every time I saw one (and I saw them a lot), I’d throw the girl a twenty. Just seemed like the right thing to do. How many of them threw me a twenty when I took their photos? Answer: Two. I guess you could say those girls were even cheaper than me! Or maybe it was just their bull shit sense of entitlement. Who fucking cares? They’re you-know-whats (fill in your own perception) anyway!
I’ve often wondered about cheap people like me and inheritances. If money brings joy (which is debatable), wouldn’t it make sense to know the day you were gonna die so you could spend your last cent on a blow job the night before? What’s the point of leaving money to your spoiled children?
Me? I have no children. Both my nephews are comfortable – as are all my cousins (except for maybe one and he’s as undeserving as any lame offspring I could imagine). Thus, my money is willed to The United Way and St. Jude’s Hospital. Sound odd? Check it out.
Twenty-some years ago, I was cruising empty in my cab at dawn on a Sunday morning. I was 13 hours into a 12 hour shift…keeping the cab for an extra hour or two because I knew from the list that there was no driver on the car for the day shift. Might as well make a few extra bucks as I detoxed from the madness that Saturday night cab-driving always was (and I’m sure is).
On the radio came “Take Five,” a jazz standard with which almost all music aficionados are familiar. The song ended and the smooth AM DJ oozed “That was Take Five written by Paul Desmond, who willed all the money the song earns to The United Way.” And that was it! Maybe (probably) I’ll never write anything as good as Take Five. But I can still leave my money to charity.
When I cross the River Jordan and meet St. Peter on the other side (I know…I’m Jewish. No River Jordan and no St. Peter), will I get my just rewards? Who the fuck knows? Not why I did it. I just followed my spirit in that ecstatic moment as the sun rose on my yellow internal combustion stinkpot that beautiful winter morning.
But I digress. Cheapskate or spendthrift notwithstanding, I’m gonna work on one of two things: 1. How I can take some with me…and 2. Ascertaining the day I’ll die so I can budget accordingly. But fear not. I’ll make sure to leave some to charity. That in love with the companionship of women 1/3rd my age I am not!
And now… live version of Paul Desmond playing Take Five.