Fire Away!

By Dee Jay Gordon

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About 20 years ago I was sitting at the kitchen table with my Mom. I felt I deserved a raise in my allowance. My pitch to her was very sound: If I had more money, I'd do my chores in a more productive manner because I'd be more cheerful, and everyone knows that cheerful people are productive people. She looked at me across the table and said, just as if she were a sane person, "Money doesn't buy happiness." What!?! This I'm getting from the woman who says it's just as easy to love a rich man as it is to love a poor man! My reply was instantaneous, "Sure it does!"

Okay, so maybe you can't just walk into the 7-11 and pick it up off the shelf, but money certainly does buy the tools for happiness. Think about it: Who do you think is happier, a single woman trying to raise three kids on welfare, or Marla Maples Trump? Oh, sure, Marla has her troubles, too. The Donald can't be an easy man to live with. Then there's the dilemma of which shoes match which outfit. But at least she doesn't have to deal with wondering where the rent check is coming from.

"Tormented" artists like Elvis or Kurt Cobain or the lovely and talented River Phoenix should have jumped on the clue bus instead of committing suicide. They had the money to get help for their addictions, yet they took the sucker's way out. The Betty Ford Clinic isn't available to your average junkie on the gotta have bucks to get in that place. And poor Macaulay Culkin! Dealing with his insane parents and growing out of his "cute" stage has to be traumatic. But he has the option of running off to Barbados for a little R&R. Other kids with neurotic parents just have to deal with it.

People for whom money can't buy happiness are people who will never be happy. I mean, let's face it, if winning the Publisher's Clearing House Sweepstakes can't put a smile on your face, you're a lost cause! Money can fix everything from an abusive spouse (you'd have the money to ditch him) to obnoxious children (two words here: boarding school). About the only thing money can't fix is the death of a loved one. And even then you'd be able to afford a nice memorial service as opposed to a pauper's burial. And mourn them in Tahiti.

No, money does not equal happiness. I realize that, so stop rolling your eyes. Lots of folks have loads of money, and they're exceedingly miserable. But their problem is that they know how to count their money, but not their blessings. If they'd stop and realize just how fortunate they are to have cash flow, maybe they'd stop whining. It galls me when the "haves" grumble about how lamentable their lives are. Their problems are no more severe than the problems of the "have-nots", only they can still feed their kids. And buy clothing. And go on vacation. And pay their phone bill.

So to you fiscally stable individuals I say, "Quit crying." You could be Kim Alexis, the former supermodel who is now forced to peddle yucky feminine hygiene products (on national TV no less). Someone should have referred her to a good financial advisor while she was still on top. Do you think she was happier then, when she was posing for Vogue and Cosmo, or now, when the whole world knows her intimate female problems?

Maybe Mom's right and money doesn't buy happiness...but it sure makes misery a whole lot more comfortable.

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