Couch

Couch: (n) a piece of furniture for seating

Although I am just as guilty as the next man or woman of what we shall call “greedy” prayers—those wishes and supplications we make to God and the universe to improve our bank accounts—I am also fully aware that some of the best times of my life transpired when I was funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
unencumbered with the desire for finance, and found great joy in simply trying to survive.

There were many aspects of that process. Let me boil them down to three categories:

  • Eat
  • Sleep
  • Escape

When you’re poor, every day there is the need to find something to eat and also a safe place to sleep and something that is more comfortable than a cardboard box to rest your bones upon, and then, to have the intuition to escape creditors, family members, critics and anybody else who would try to “guilt” you into a lifestyle that mirrors their own.

Now right there, friends, is a full-time job.

If you do not have money, finding enough to eat, a place to sleep, and a way to escape the scrutiny of your adversaries will keep every child of God busy until morning’s light.

I learned the simplicity of finding change and turning it into a couple of dollars which would buy enough bologna and bread to make a meal—if I slipped out into the woods and picked myself some wild blackberries.

And I certainly knew how to circle a neighborhood and find a discarded couch which was heading for the dumpster and had nothing wrong with it except some dirt and recent rain that fell while it sat awaiting its execution.

That couch was fair game. It was rejected, left alone and on a public sidewalk. If I could jump out of my beat-up van, lift it in, and take it back to my location of rest, I could have a place to sit and sleep. There were times I broke out in tears over discovering a particular sofa that was so comfortable that it literally “couched” my aching muscles for many weeks.

I was amazed at what people will give away, throw away or discard because in their opinion, it got old too fast.

I was also astounded at how many doughnut places took their mistakes and day-old product and dumped them out every morning at 8:16 A. M.

And I was careful to swoop in at just the right moment, taking as little time as possible to procure a couch or a beat-up box of rejected doughnuts.

Poverty is an adventure in exhaustion which receives no applause for ingenuity.


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Bonsai

Bonsai: (n) an ornamental tree or shrub grown in a pot

Once upon a time, in a kingdom where bank accounts were not depleted, I had some extra money burning a hole deep in my right pocket of selfishness.Dictionary B

It was scary.

I went over the bills three or four times just to make sure I hadn’t missed something, but at the end of my calculation, I discovered that I was temporarily endowed with abundance.

I wanted to do something lavishly weird–and not just lavish, like buying several cans of whipped cream, but weird. Something that would give others pause, but then they would feel foolish for questioning the wealthy fellow and his eccentric choices.

I hunted, I searched and I found a gentleman who sold bonsai trees.

I knew nothing about them. But I felt like owning one was a symbol of prosperity. So I bought two. Double the potency.

The fellow tried to explain to me the care of these plants and I listened with the attention span of a three-year-old who has to pee but also wants to ride the roller coaster.

When I got home with my bonsai trees, I realized that I had completely forgotten everything he said, and had left the literature behind, trusting my memory.

Then came that great, ridiculous American assertion: how hard can it be?

  • So I watered them
  • I trimmed their little branches (having remembered this being part of the process)
  • And every day when I returned, they looked a little worse

It was like watching your Grandma die of old age. I was concerned but totally helpless.

Then inexplicably, they developed tiny insects which started eating away at the bark.

It took about five weeks, while I heroically tried to give CPR to these dying new friends, but eventually they turned brown–and for some reason, started to stink.

I threw them both into a big garbage bag, took them out to the curb and said good-bye.

I can’t swear to it, but I thought I heard one of them, from within the bag, gasp, “Murderer.”

 

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