Thursday, May 20, 2010


Yesterday I received a cheque from my insurance company, paying me out for the car that was destroyed in the storms two months ago. Since I've already paid for the new MX5 out of my savings, the cheque goes straight to me. I need to pay back a small loan, but even after I've done that, I still now have a five figure bank balance for the first time in my life.

I feel like the richest person ever.

Of course I am not the richest person ever. The Flatmate is the richest person ever. But I feel like I am coming in a close second.

I recognise that my feelings are erroneous. Occasionally one will hear stories of people who've lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in a scam, or get sweet-talked out of fifty grand by a golddigger or lothario. I respond not with sympathy or philosophy but with incredulity - who has that kind of money? And more pertinently, who has that kind of money and yet is stupid enough to fall for scams and/or golddiggers? Surely in the vast financial ecosystem of exploiters and exploitees, these people would be disencumbered of their wealth long before it reached the quadruple, let alone quintuple or sextuple digits? Meanwhile I get a relatively minor amount of Dead Car Money and suddenly I come over all Gollumesque, caressing the receipt from the bank and whispering about the Precious.

This is my problem with money.

You see, instead of a normal financial adviser, I have two imaginary characters who sit on my shoulders and whisper advice in my ears. On one shoulder is reckless international playboy Spender St. Carefree, who throws money at every cool and shiny thing that comes his way. On the other shoulder is a sort of superhero called No Money Man, who escaped his home planet Bankruptia just before it was destroyed, developing superpowers of thrift and frugality when he reached Earth. His costume is various shades of brown, and the cape is a little frayed along the bottom.

Yes, my imaginary advisors really are that detailed.

If I unclamp my ear and start listening to Spender St. Carefree, I quickly go just a little bonkers and start buying all sorts of silly and overpriced things. Last weekend, for example, I spent more than $200 on booze, including three bottles of vodka, gin, red wine, bourbon, vermouth and a bottle of Creme de Cassis. What was I thinking? Who the hell needs Creme de Cassis? My bar cart is already more crowded than the French parliament on Bring Your Mistress To Work Day. Now I'm worried that it's going to snap in half.

But if I listen to No Money Man, my wallet cramps up and I start devising ridiculous economies. I convince myself that I don't need a new phone, even thought the old one has a battery life of about eight seconds. I don't get the front gate fixed, because really, having to charge it with my shoulder to get it to open isn't such an inconvenience. And I ignore the fact that my dining chairs, purchased from the local charity store, are missing important structural bits and shedding flakes of old varnish like lepers shedding fingernails.

So I try not to listen to either of them. Frankly sometimes the best course of action seems to be to get them both drunk and then go about my business while they're declaring eternal friendship and singing karaoke.


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