They say you can tell a lot about folks by the stories they tell. I don’t have much use for the old “girl pines for distant boy and her love makes him stop being an asshole” stories or the “boy pines for unconscious girl and his kiss awakens her” stories. But there is one fairytale I really wish upon a star would come true for me.
Here’s that story:
Once upon a time there was a brilliant and cute girl who lived in a place between the interstate and the train tracks. She lived there because it was close to work and she could surround herself with animals and brothers, many of which seemed to spend most of the day farting noxious farts. It’s unclear why she put up with that.
Even though our hero was cute and brilliant, with fun curly hair, she had a deep dark secret. Here’s what it was. When it came to personal finance, her strategy was to open the bills, pay what they ordered her to pay, and, when her bank account was empty, ask her brother for enough money to cover the rest.
There are many ways that this arrangement was not smart, but for the most part, it made her happy so whenever someone asked her why her brother was not paying more than just what she could not afford to pay, she got very angry and stomped on their left foot. Most people stopped asking.
But one day (and here’s where it become untrue) a brilliantly funny, hairy, liberal accountant/lawyer with a high tolerance for flatulent pets arrived at her door.
“Why,” he asked her, “are you making more money than your parents made the whole time you were growing up and still are living basically hand to mouth?”
She glared at him and stomped on his foot. He didn’t even flinch.
“Why don’t you do something about it?”
She glared at him and stomped on his other foot. He smiled at her, somewhat amused.
“Fine,” she said, tears streaming down her face, “the truth is that I’m not brilliant when it comes to money and I feel like I’m making all of my decisions based solely out of terror and not out of wise money management strategies. You see, sir, as smart as I am, I am not smart enough to know what right courses of action are available to me. I have no math skills.”
“Lucky for you,” he smiled, or at least he appeared to smile through his lush moustache, “I am an accountant and an attorney with a vast personal fortune. I will buy you a house, consolidate your credit card debt into one easy and manageable payment, and help you budget your money so that you have enough for property taxes, a cleaning service, and a little money so that you can go out with your friends.”
“Money to go out with my friends?!” She cried. “It’s been years since I regularly had money to go out with my friends. Sir, you are too kind.”
“Thank you, ma’am,” He winked at her and came in, sat down at her computer, opened up Excel and, within an afternoon, had made sense of her financial mess, while she sat on the couch, listened to rap music, and admired his steel-toed boots.
When he was done, he got up and headed towards the door.
“I’ll be back next week to take you house hunting. I’m sure we can find you a nice house with some character in a funky neighborhood no problem.”
“And after that?” she asked, “Will I ever see you again?”
“Well,” he said, “I spend a great deal of time on the road with my biker gang, but I’d be more than happy to stop by for smooches and to take you out to dinner ever couple of weeks.”
“That sounds terrific,” she said.
And it was.