Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Root of All Evil?

I have a real love-hate relationship with money.  I love when I have money.  I love being able to buy things like food and clothes.  I also love going downtown with friends for dinner and drinks.  I love to buy gifts for people, I love to treat myself to a pedicure and haircut once a month and I love the feeling I get when all my bills are paid and I have a clean slate.

Now, on the other hand, I hate money.  I hate what it does to people.  I hate the greed it propels.  I hate the devastation it causes for those who don’t have it. I hate not having enough of it to stop working and I hate knowing that a serious illness or other catastrophe could wipe me out.  I simply hate worrying about it every day.

I know it is unrealistic for me to think the world could survive without a monetary system, but I sure do enjoy dreaming of what life would be like if we went back to the days of bartering for goods.  Would we respect each other more knowing we are dependent on each other’s skills and products?

When I was a kid, I didn’t have much concept about money. Even when I started getting an allowance, which I believe was fifty cents a week for doing household chores, I was still too young to comprehend the impact that money would have on my life as an adult.  We had a much simpler way of determining who was rich in the neighborhood – we traded baseball cards.

You always knew who on our block was prosperous at the moment in the baseball card world.  They were the ones who had to carry their cards in a shoe box.  Those of us who were less fortunate could carry our entire collection in our back pocket, perhaps with a rubber band around the stack.  If you were lucky enough to come into possession of a Mickey Mantle or a Roger Maris card, you could trade it for a whole pile of lesser known players.  Most times you wanted to hold onto one of those valuable cards for as long as possible.  It was the equivalent of having a hotel on Boardwalk.

Life was so simple back then that we solved wars with baseball cards.  Two cardholders would square off, flipping down card over card.  The pile would grow tall, and then it would happen.  Your opponent would lay down a red card, perhaps a Ron Swoboda Mets card.  And then you won the pile by trumping it with another red card, Sandy Koufax from the Dodgers.  Wouldn’t it be nice if instead of sending our soldiers to Afghanistan to ferret out terrorists, President Obama could simply challenge Hamid Karzai to a game of baseball card war?

Living life as a turkey sandwich has definitely jolted my financial security.  Gone are the days of the steady, weekly paycheck and the annual two-week vacation.  I worry about money a lot more, but somehow I always seem to get by.  It’s more about focusing on real priorities – family, health and happiness.  Would I trade that to go back to the nine-to-five, hectic rat race, corporate world?  Nah.  But I might for an Elston Howard Yankees card.


  1. i remember having to take bologna sandwiches for lunch because we couldn't afford ham. i was always happy when my mom made a chicken because i knew i would get a chicken sandwich.

    that was a long time ago and financially we're doing well, but i'll never forget those days. it makes me appreciate every thing i have.

  2. it's nice having money, but it can't buy your health.