Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Spend My Money?

I always thought money was money.  Recently I have learned that there is my money that is completely and totally spendable and their money which is completely and totally not.

Let me explain.  For example, if we are at the Foot Locker and there is a 87.00 Air Jordan sweatshirt it is considered a steal if purchased with my money and a travesty if I ask him to purchase it with his money.

Driving home for the weekend to see friends and hang out, totally worth her gas money.  Ask her to drive home for a funeral or other family event and I am going to need to cough up some gas money.  What do I think gas money grows on trees?

It's funny, all our money looks the same and truth be told comes from the same source (my bank account) but once it changes hands it becomes useless currency unless they really want to spend it.

The quickest way to squash a purchase is to say "Sure, you can have it if you want to use your money."  First they look at me like I have just asked them to give up a kidney and then they put it back on the rack and glare at me  in disgust as if to say "I'm not spending my money on this junk!"

Every child goes through this.  You think your parents have all the money in the world and that they are so cheap.  They obviously just deny you things to feel all powerful and to ruin your life.  Then you move out and your first electricity bill comes and with it a hard slap in the face from what we parents like to call LONG OVERDUE REALITY!!!  I wish I could say we hate to see it happen to you but after years of trying to teach you that money doesn't grow on trees and if it did you and your sister would fight about whose turn it was to pick it, we are just a tad bit giddy.

I remember the first time my dad came out of the bathroom in my apartment and I said "Hey, turn that light out".  His eyes became moist with tears.  He said that was the best gift he had ever received.

In our house growing up it was the same ritual every Friday night.  There were five teenagers in the house.  We would come home from school and get ready to go out for the evening.  In the process of doing so we would turn on every light in our three story house.  Curling irons and clothes irons would be left on high and ready to burn our house down at any minute. My dad would say that he could see our house a mile away when he was driving down the road home.  He would spend the first few minutes after entering the house making himself a drink, walking from room to room turning off lights and muttering under his breath about how he should own Consumers Energy.  Same think happened every Friday night.

Saturday mornings were spent with him gathering five sleepy teenagers around the table and going over the electric bill as we all yawned and rolled our eyes.  He would say the airport asked if they could use our house as a permanent beacon and remind us we were not responsible for setting the world's record for most light bulbs burned in one evening.  He would go over the "when you leave a room, turn off the switch" and then he would point to the switch and show us how it worked just in case we didn't get the whole concept of off and on.  We would all nod in understanding all the while never intending to do anything about it.

So for me to tell my dad to turn off a light it meant that I had finally gotten it.  Electricity costs money! All the lectures and demonstrations had paid off.  His work here was done.

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