Ah yes, the obvious has once again reared it’s ugly head. For those who work x-o’clock AM to y-o’clock PM, Monday to Friday, these words don’t mean much to your current situation. But if you’re a paycheck-to-paycheck freelancer (like us), or out of work entirely, this Captain Obvious statement may be all too familiar.
I overheard a conversation between my husband and his father in the other room. Hubby was telling him how we’ve done the calculations, and we know how much longer we can live on the x amount of dollars we have, in anticipation of the next gig, which is yet to be determined. My academia-prize-winning, probably-genius astro-physicist of a father-in-law said, “You should get a job – then you’d have money.” Fortunately, my hubby is no slouch with comebacks, so he gave him the appropriate, “Oh really? Why didn’t I think of that??”
On a related note, let me tell you about my favorite game. It’s called, “How much would I have to pay you?” Here’s how it goes: one person says to another “How much would I have to pay you to… [fill in the blank].” Usually endings to the question include “run into 7-11, naked, barking like a dog” or “steal a police car and drive it home, while blasting Ramblin’ Man through the loud speaker”. Then the other person responds, “$15,000” or “$10”, or whatever they think the task is worth. Of course, the game goes no further than that – this is not “Truth or Dare”… I mean, I’m a mother after all! I went to private school! I’m from a good family! However, everyone’s got their price. Or do they?
People’s monetary estimations depend on, in my opinion, one of four factors:
- Their morals
- Their embarrassment threshold
- Their previous criminal record
- And yes… the size of their wallet
People have surprised me with their answers to such questions – you can get to know a person’s character on a different level in playing this game. My father, for example, whom I would have thought wouldn’t have even wanted to play the game at all, answered my question about jumping into the East River and swimming to the nearest boat with, “Well, I’d be arrested… humiliated, and consequently fired, so I’d say…” though I don’t remember his price. Good for him!
Well, we played the game the other day with someone far less adventurous than I even thought my father was. She’s the first person I’ve met who did-not-have-a-price. “What?” I thought. “Not even for that??” We even lessened the threat of the task by making it something that would be a mere embarrassment, and not threaten her police record, or her health. “How much would I have to pay you to walk out of a restaurant bathroom with your pants around your ankles, look down, and say ‘Oops, I forgot!’ and pull them back up? $100? $1,000? $10,000,000?” Nothing. I didn’t know whether to respect her more for her high moral standards, or resent her for not wanting the money, at least to give me a few thousand (I mean, c’mon, we could all use it).
The point is not that I would have done it for $4,000, or that hubby would’ve done it for $500, but that life costs money these days, and life ain’t cheap. Our credit card debt alone would require something like stealing a police car with Ramblin’ Man playing. “Oh so this is a debt issue?” She asked. “No”, I replied. “This is a money issue, and we don’t have a whole lot of it, and Monkey needs to go to college in 18 yrs, I think I need a filling in one of my teeth, hubby needs new glasses, and damnit, mama needs a new pair of shoes!”
The reality is that we do have x amount of dollars for y amount of time, and that time ain’t up yet. But if you asked me how much I’d do something mildly embarrassing, a little illegal, and slightly immoral? I’d say, “our-credit-card-debt-our-mortgage-our-bills-and-a-smidgen-extra-for-some-new-shoes dollars.”