In my never-ending quest to become a better pie, I have identified one of my bigger fears. Once I figured this out, I went to talk with Mrs. Pie about it and she just gave me an exasperated look and said “You didn’t know this already? I’ve tried to get you to face this for years. How did you finally get yourself to realize it?” “Oddly enough, watching a football game,” I replied.
I was watching college football and the announcers were extolling the improvements of one of the schools after decades mired in mediocrity. However, the trigger for said improvements was very clear. A Billionaire alumnus of the school in question made an unprecedentedly HUGE donation to the football team, which provided them with the ability to get State-of-the-art facilities, Stadium upgrades, and other items that allowed them to start recruiting with the other top schools in the country. Piles and piles of money made a college football team better. The irony was amusing. The NCAA works diligently to keep money out of the player’s hands, but turns a blind eye to the billions of dollars that Universities beg, borrow, and steal in the name of athletic progress.
So I did what I’m assuming most people would start doing – I thought about what I would do with billions of dollars in my bank account. Then something happened that always happens when I think about having a lot of money, but I always thought it was excitement at the prospect of being rich. For the first time I realized that it wasn’t excitement I was feeling. It was anxiety. I was getting tense and nervous. I discovered that i’m scared of money.
Not physical money, per se. I’m not scared of coins and bills themselves, but of the power and responsibility that comes with having money. I’ve seen what the power of money can do to people. It is not pretty. There are members of my family and Mrs. Pie’s side of the family who would run over me and my children with their car for next month’s rent. I don’t want to be that kind of person, but I want to have enough money to live comfortably. I give to charity and we donate all of our old clothes and household items to Goodwill – the ones that are in good enough quality to be donated – the items that are trash go into the trash. But in the past, I’ve felt guilty for not donating more. To avoid that guilt, I’ve tried to stay away from the money decisions in my life. If there’s not enough money to pay the bills, then I can avoid the shame of mismanaging and put the blame on Mrs. Pie who is responsible for the bills. This is unfair, but it’s what I’ve taught myself to do because I’m scared of dealing with the problems that come from money.
How do I overcome this fear? I don’t want to completely take over the family’s finances, but I obviously need to take some of the responsibility. Mrs. Pie has shouldered that responsibility for far too long. This is going to require a change of focus from me. I’m going to have to spend more time looking over money issues and solutions and less time on other things. What I’m scared of also, is going obsessive in the opposite direction. I don’t want to get so caught up with money issues that I ignore anything else. This kind of money first thinking runs in may family and I am terrified of becoming that kind of person. I am afraid of the kind of person that having plenty of money would make me.
This fear explains why I’ve been historically bad with money. I just don’t want to deal with it at all. I don’t want to think about it, and I absolutely HATE people who put money before anything or anyone else. These type of people should be executed, not exalted. Just because capitalism beat communism in the Cold War doesn’t mean that it’s the end-all-be-all of philosophical thought. Unchecked capitalism in our country has led to a corrupt government, the widest disparity of income in the history of the United States, and a system that rewards white collar crime. If you’re involved with drugs, you deserve to go to jail forever. If you’re caught stealing millions from pension accounts or defrauding an entire industry and single-handedly crushing the nation’s economy, you’re just trying to get ahead in life.
There is a name for someone that will do anything for money. They’re called a whore. I have whores in my family and I don’t want to be one. Therefore, I’m scared of money. I have to confront this fear without going to the opposite extreme. I need to find a middle ground. A compromise. This should come with experience and maturity from taking a little more responsibility for the finances each day, week, month, and year. There is a nagging voice in the back of my head that is telling me “You shouldn’t have to worry about this. It’s already too late, so why bother. Things aren’t that bad, just ignore it and it will all work out.” Things aren’t that bad, no. But they could be a lot better still. And it’s not too late to change things. As the saying goes “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” The second best time for me to start dealing with my fears is now.