Okay, so don’t get your hopes up that I’m going to give you instructions on counterfeiting money. For one thing, I don’t know how. If I did, telling everyone would be extravagantly stupid, but I still wouldn’t tell everyone. Probably.

The thing is that over the course of the last year or two, I have been reminded how unreal money really is. Really. Why do some people have so much money they can’t even use it while other people live in fear of losing their tiny income?

The following is a collection of my very stray thoughts, which means there is something in here for everyone. So while fake money might drive you, you can drive it back.

It’s very frustrating to be too broke to operate your tiny broke powers. This feeling is exacerbated by having misplaced grandiosity, and I often have experienced ridicule from other people when I reveal myself as the Mayor of Grandiosity. There are a few things I want to accomplish during my reign, but nothing too nutty: write some books, fix some stuff–you know, mayorly past times.

Saving money is a very strange hobby for a mayor. I stop and ask myself, do I need this or do I only want it? Will I regret it? Can I eat it? Is it healthy? Is it truly a food? How long could I avoid buying this and what would happen? Sometimes the interrogation takes so long the shopping opportunity has passed. It’s fine, it hasn’t killed me yet.

Over time, I have discovered something that all my citizens already knew: money isn’t the answer to most questions. There’s an impulse to buy our way out of a jam; we try to bribe the toddler or buy a bigger box to keep our secrets safe or pay someone to tell us we’re not as sick as we imagine we are. It solves nothing.

All money ever did for anyone is help them stop worrying about money, and we can do that for free!

If you have enough money coming in to cover the essentials and you still worry about money, there is only one step to stop worrying. When you realize you are worrying, just chuckle and tell yourself, “Money shows up.” Silly money!!

This is not to suggest I’m over it. I still catch myself worrying about money, and I get irritated by the relentless math required to decide things. One prescription is equivalent to two pizzas or a tank of car juice. It’s fine. Why not get a refund on a dumb purchase and give the money to a kid doing a fund raiser on the way to the car? Sure!

Maybe the real alchemy is turning stupidity into encouragement. Money might just be a side effect.

When I clench about the inevitable flat tires or other invitations I cannot afford, I remind myself that I’m not getting paid to worry about any of it. If I pass up taking a trip, I can consider it paying myself some fake money to stay home.

It’s fine. These days I don’t have champagne wishes. They have all popped or something. When I pass a big, beautiful house, I don’t lust for it, not even a little bit. I know what the maintenance entails when you can forget how many bathrooms you have. Now, I feel happy for whoever has decided to saddle themselves with the place. They have to love it, right?

These days, for me to have a better life, I just need to be a better person with a better imagination. It’s certainly not about a better car or a bigger pile of money. If you think you need things to impress other people, you are missing out on the fact that you can impress other people with how little you care about impressing them for free.

You can use your money to buy yourself time, but you can also use time to make money. It’s not physics and it’s not hard. If you use your postponement powers to stop from spending stray money that finds its way to you, it will begin to pile up. Instead of buying a book on saving money, maybe just write the title down and stick it in your Shopping Drawer. While you think it over, maybe sell the book you bought last year about converting trash to treasure with macrame and manic episodes.

The last time the stock market dropped hard, I watched as the fake losses transformed into fake gains. A person with a modest retirement savings lost and gained all the money I made toiling for a year. How is this real?

It’s a horrible bind for anyone who is working solely for money. Not only can the quest in search of nothing but money lead you into big trouble, you may end up with a bubble in your hands. Then what?

If money is going to work at all, we must agree what money is and what it is not. I don’t completely disbelieve in bitcoin, so it’s getting somewhere, I guess. Is it money, though? What if someone gave you a hand painted rock in exchange for a sandwich. Is the rock money? Is the sandwich?

People who understand fake money don’t like to talk about it. It’s spooky. They are likely unnerved by their ability to understand just how spooky it is. Fortunately, you don’t have to understand it to shrug it off.

I have decided that real money is the stuff you can use to get professionals to help you. You cannot get a colonoscopy in exchange for a painted rock. For a doctor to appear with clean hands and good news, you have to have somebody’s real money available. You may be able to get professionals to show up without real money, but if so, they are just going to spend their efforts trying to get you to agree to some future real money payment. They may tell you your painted rock is magnificent, but just try to give them a second one and see what happens.

In my way of thinking, your dignity is real, your gremlin collection is fake money. Your peace is real and your bills are pieces of paper that represent fake money.

It’s possible to have a wonderful time for free. The moon is free and howling at the moon is also free. The only way to have time to enjoy all the free stuff is to stop chasing pieces of paper, anyway.

I had a surprise refund show up last week and had a ton of fun thinking about what I wanted to do with it. Mostly, I wanted to hurry up and take care of some expenses that have been barreling toward me. I have so many marriage parties on my calendar right now that finding things like bargain gold shoes is becoming another annoying hobby. I tithed and then I bought the shoes. The refund payor stopped the check and the money got yanked back out of my account.

Fakers. They yanked the money, but they couldn’t yank away my fun. I thoroughly enjoyed buying the shoes I was going to buy anyway.

You don’t have to believe me, but I have been poor enough to own one pair of pants and I have also been dipping in the money river enough to have a collection of pants that cost as much as a house in some places. Sure, it wouldn’t have been a very nice house, that pants house, but I stand by my pants point. I currently have pants that no one would steal and I feel fortunate to know I will probably be able to afford my next pair of second-hand pants, somehow.

Having traveled near enough to the money river, I am content to be on this side where I can see the nonsense of all that paddling.

Please don’t let a little fake money hurt your feelings. Your are worth so much more.



Cranky Cat Fund

What does she want? Certainly not sunflowers on the table. In her reality, pens belong on the floor and toys belong under the couch and a jump of two feet requires a pep talk. She likes tuna, however. That has never been in dispute.


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