Debt

Debt: (n) something that is owed or that one is bound to pay to or perform for another

I am trying to determine if I remember if there was any measurable amount of sincerity in me at all.

I’m talking about that first moment, when I was nineteen years old and sat down in a car dealership to buy a five-hundred-dollar, old, beat-up van that formerly was used by the telephone company.

I was so anxious to get this vehicle that I probably would have sacrificed four days in heaven.

I know there was a salesman who was explaining payments, rates of interest—and also that the green-monster-wagon was being sold “As Is.”

I vaguely recall seeing his lips move as my glazed eyes peered over his shoulder at the prize.

I think maybe I was somewhat aware that since I put no money down, that my payments were going to be sixty dollars or so a month for the next year-and-a-half.

Yet I cannot swear to you that any awareness of these factors was actually registered by me, but instead, were later thrown up to me by the collection agency when it taunted me about my promise to make monthly payments.

I think there was a part of me that really thought I was going to try to make good on the debt.

I don’t know how.

I had no visible income.

I was negotiating my quarters and nickels to buy a pound of bologna a day with a loaf of bread and an apple.

I drove fifteen miles every other day to get free day-old doughnuts from my buddy who worked at the “Dunkin’ Something-or-Other.”

But there must have been some little piece of hopeful legitimacy that envisioned sixty dollars being made available for a monthly installment—even if I believed that a bird was going to fly it in from the Bank of Heaven.

Of course, it’s also possible that I was just an irresponsible teenager who couldn’t look beyond the temptation and couldn’t care less about my responsibilities.

Yet I sure do like that bird idea.

 

Codger

Codger: (adj) an elderly man, especially one who is old-fashioned or eccentric.

It is not because I keep piling up birthdays–nor that there seems to be a new wrinkle in my countenance.

No, it is the fact that I believe that “codger” is not based on age. Instead, it’s a disposition.

Going through the store the other day, I noticed a fellow–no more than twenty-five years old–who was with his wife and little daughter.

He trudged.

I’m sure he didn’t need to. I’m quite positive that his legs were still filled with lots of power. But somewhere along the line, he convinced himself to adopt the profile of the masses when it comes to everyday living.

I describe that condition as a perpetual visual and emotional proclamation of, “It’s too much.”

  • It’s too much debt.
  • It’s too much crime.
  • It’s too much trouble with the kids.
  • It’s too much argument with my spouse.
  • It’s too much pressure on the job.

Once convinced of this, any individual–at any age–becomes a grouchy codger.

He or she spews the venom of a sour soul, giving up on the possibility of the possible–checking out, absolutely certain that there’s no need to check in.

Now, I will grant you that many old people have also donned this persona in honor of their ancestors, simply to prove they were no better nor worse than their predecessors.

But it seems to me that it keeps starting younger and younger, and considering the fact that we seem to be living longer and longer, it certainly might make for an awfully dreary lifespan.

If you want to keep from being a codger, you have to use both eyes and ears:

One eye on what’s going on, and one eye on the blessing that might be coming your way.

One ear on the complaints that surround you, and the other listening intently for the song of hope.

 

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Basilica

Basilica: (n) a building similar to a Roman basilica, used as a Christian church.Dictionary B

The battle will always rage.

It is the confrontation introduced by Judas to Jesus when he felt that the Master was foolishly spending money on unnecessary expenses instead of giving alms to the poor.

Honestly, as ridiculous as it is to spend a lot of funds on appearances, it is equally annoying to stand on the corner and lament the choices of others.

Here’s an easy rule I use in my life when deciding if I need a “basilica”–in other words, some edifice or evidence of my success and prowess. I ask this question all the time, and find it most beneficial. I use it for small things and for large decisions, and I find that if I’m candid, I always come up with the right answer, which enables me to avoid unnecessary financial loss, and usually dodge criticism from those who are ready to dole it out free of charge.

Here’s the question: Is this really necessary?

  • I do it with my time.
  • I do it with my family.
  • I do it with my underwear drawer.
  • I do it with my socks.
  • I do it with my car.

When you stop and simply ask yourself if the latest whim to build a basilica is actually going to adv ance your cause, or just burden it with debt, you’ll be astounded at how quickly your common sense will leap forward, attempting to take back control.

Even though I have many opinions on how money is misspent or how it should be given out in larger portions, ultimately it is up to the holder of the treasure … to decide what measure. 

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