Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Money Doesn't Buy Everything, But...

Three times this week I have heard a rendition of the phrase, "Money doesn't buy everything!"

I consider the words and imagine them spoken first by a wealthy individual whose view from the top was quite rich. I also imagine a single mother trying to convince her teenage daughter that skinny jeans from Hollister aren't really "all that." Or a mother and father of seven who are serving noodle soup again for dinner.

No matter who is saying it, it is personally irritating to me and difficult to not respond with, "Ah, you sound so self-actualized, so mature and evolved... but come on now, having money sure does make a difference!" Give me a try, I will show you how far I am able to stretch "more"!

Admittedly, guaranteed money offered as a reward would probably motivate me to the finish line of (nearly) any race. Money is not actually a motivation for me TO RUN a race but instead to be able TO REGISTER to run the race -- with registration fees for ultras over $100 each nowadays, I literally cannot afford to do as many races as I am physically able to do.

So if I can't afford to exercise away my stress, shopping therapy is always an option. Not like any of us need to acquire additional STUFF, yet it goes without saying how retail stores and online shopping provide endless opportunity 24-hours a day to buy material objects of any sort -- even, ironically, collectible currency.

I have heard that money can buy you an early retirement, but it is no longer necessary to buy sex (it is literally being given away, for free!).

In general, money is able to fund convenience. Like hitting the "easy" button, if you want a task done, don't have time but have cash, you can pay someone to do it for you. Why iron shirts when the drycleaners have starch? Why spend a week of evenings mulching when Alex and his family-team will do it in four hours this Saturday? No time to visit mom for Mother's Day? 1-800-FLOWERS, done.

This is a worn-out topic, way overdone, not barely worth discussing. Yet it still irks me when a pompous ass throws out a grand cliche and acts like it's some valuable life lesson which obviously he ignores.

Money might not buy me happiness, but it sure does make the pain of unhappiness go away by affording a five course champagne brunch at Main Street. Argue the justification, anyone.

Without getting too serious and sad here, having money can actually make the difference between going to college and not -- trust me, I award scholarships for a living.

Even more serious, a lack of money can invoke outright violence. Imagine a starving father or mother stealing to feed his or her family. Thank God I have what I have.

My point: let's admit that having less money generally means having less options. And frankly, I not only want options for myself to choose my path of happiness, but to also influence paths of happiness and fortune for others.

So if you are one of the fortunate, please try and throw the phrase around a little less carelessly. There are many of us who would love the chance to prove how much even a little more money can buy.