November 23, 2010

Something about "Money"

Have you ever cringed at the mention of "money?" Have you ever worked for someone and when it came to being paid (and, Great Scott!, how much?) you practically writhed in discomfort?

Let it here be said: I have an odd relationship with money. 

I have always had a peculiar knack for deducing what is of the most value in a situation and aquiring it (I was quite successful at haggling in India). An example of such 8-year-old wiliness (or 18-year-old, for that matter) would be something like this: There is a bowl of Skittles and Snicker-Bars. There are only a few Snicker-Bars. I do not like Snicker-Bars. But everyone else does. In a mad rush for candy- I would pick the Snicker-Bars because they, being in higher demand, are more valuable than the Skittles and once all the other Snicker-Bars are gone I will be able to get far more Skittles than before for the simple exchange of the much-desired Snicker-Bars. (No, you didn't just read that.)

I have difficulty making even such simple decisions as which kind of pie to have without making above calculations. How mercenary.

When I was six or so my mother was reading the story of Joseph to us. I was, well, quite surprised that Pharaoh would trust anyone so willingly with ALL his money. "Oh," I said. "I would like that job! 'You have ONE dollar left!'"

It was a common saying in our extended family that one day they'd all be working for me. Yet even with a mind that so easily deduces and calculates and pinches and saves and spends- why is it that over the years I have developed a loathing for actually making and *thinking* about money?

The idea of investing makes me feel ill. And ask for money? Over my dead body. And MAKING money? How often I squirm when people ask how much to pay me. How much is too much? Wouldn't it be better if they didn't pay me anything at all- and I was a free, willing, helpful worker?

I was this week in such an awkward situation- when what was supposed to be an exchange of academic services turned out just me- tutoring another student- and I was in the position of informing him that my time was valuable and I needed monetary satisfaction.

Is it possible that I care so much about money I can't bear to let it show?

Maybe I heard one too many Sunday-school lessons about theft and greed.  Maybe, in light of how well I can deduct how to get the most out of a situation, I am forever terrified of taking advantage of someone... (Even odder when my employer feels the same way- and we both stand, awkwardly, "money" hovering in the air, as neither of us wants me to be paid too little, or, God-forbid, too much!)

Was I told one too many times not to ask for anything as a guest in someone's home? Or maybe, because I can't, I just can't imagine anyone giving anything away for free- out of good-will?

Maybe it's because, at the end of the day, we all want to get paid. We as humans are ever bent on what we are owed. And the physical existence of that insatiable desire in the form of stupid, worthless pieces of paper is so self-convicting, and disgusting, to me.

I am going to great lengths to avoid debt in college. And I hope that if and when I marry, my husband will manage all the bills. I will do my part by being a spend-thrift wife.

Oh, why do we have to have money at all?

I wish we traded in butterflies.

And maybe I wish we were all butterflies- care-free, beautiful, and as trusting as sparrows...

In heaven we'll trade in kisses

we'll barter with butterflies

and we'll say, "don't worry, pay me later-

"I have an eternity of time."


  1. I love your quirky personality :o)

  2. Not only is the love of money the root of all kinds of evil, it's boring. I choose to love cream soda (which unfortunately costs money.

  3. I sympathize with your squeamishness when being paid. I feel guilty when people try to be generous. :-P

  4. Used to feel the same way...and then long, hard hours of low-wage work forever cured me of any "paycheck guilt".

  5. LOL, Josiah. I understand a bit- I guess I know when my work is worth something. But sometimes people have me do work and I have no idea why they can't do it themselves or find an easier way. ;-)

    Tim: Exactly. Like, why generosity? was my work not worth that? 'Cause if you're just trying to be nice- don't make me work. Just give me the money as a gift. :-P 'course, that's weird, too. Oh, for win-win situations.

    David: All I have to say is: Cream Soda?? Ew. :-P