Meditations on Being Broke

I've had a lot of time lately to reflect on the idea of having no money; it gives me something to do now that I'm no longer buying things like chicken tacos at Chili's or 99-cent songs at the iTunes music store. Here's my first discovery: *of course* poor people seem wise and zenlike, as though they'd spent years attaining oneness with the universe. It's the only activity they can afford.

So that's me now. Me and the Mrs., shell-shocked former binge spenders, stumbling through the hallways of our house, dazedly remembering the days, like last Thursday, when we could go out and grab a beer, or a six-pack of them, if we felt like it.

"Hey, you wanna go rent a movie?"

"Naw, I think we returned our last movie after it was due, and the late fee's probably three bucks or something. I think it was The Unbearable Lightness of Being."

"No, it was Predator."

"Oh yeah. Well, you know, either way..."

And we shuffle off toward the living room, where we'll stare at the couch, then the table, then the wilting fern by the bookshelf.


It's a new approach to life, one involving new concepts, like deep-seated and genuine gratitude to the Target cashier who lets us return a packet of underwear - underwear! - for the full price we paid, rather than the current sale price.

"If you bought it on a credit card, I can probably credit this back to your account."

"Bless you, ma'am. Bless you. I swear I never wore them."

And I feel bad, extra bad, because Penelope's all the time apologizing to me for this sorry state of affairs. Like it's her fault. I know it's not; the main problem was that I miscalculated the balance in our checking account by about $1700 the week before she quit her job. Furthermore, I know this isn't permanent, so it's really a pretty shallow dread when you get right down to it. And even *further*more, I know this is good for us. It needed to happen; we couldn't go on with credit card bills double our mortgage payment forever - that's just dumb.

So I choose to be amused by it. Hey, it's an adventure. Adventures in poverty.

Don't miss the next exciting installment, where I complete every household project imaginable using tools and materials we already have on the premises. There are actually quite a few - lumber, paint, caulk...

We used to have money, you see...

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