Gwendolyn and Cecily were old friends, having grown up together in Lindenhurst, New York. Each year since their teens, according to their lifelong agreement, they were to take a week-long vacation. Each one saved up quite scrupulously from her pittance of a paycheck. Over the course of the past three decades, thanks to their arrangement, they got a chance to see both Las Vegas and Atlantic City, as well as all sorts of other places throughout the country. Each year they both got all their available funds together, picked precisely the best available weeks, made hotel reservations and bent over backwards to make all sorts of other arrangements that left them quite overwhelmed and frustrated. Going on vacation was usually so much work, but this year it was going to be different. Cecily came up with quite the perfect brainstorm. Just because it was vacation time, that didn’t necessarily mean, by definition, that they’d have to be bothered with traveling a significant distance. She told Gwendolyn that she’d like to go on a fishing trip at Captree State Park and then hang around on Robert Moses Beach the rest of the time. The only clothes they’d need were bathing suits and towels. With all the money they’d inevitably end up saving they could go over to the Fifty Six Fighter Group, or some other local bar or restaurant, and have a really nice relaxing meal. All worked out quite well. By spending the same amount of money as any other year, they got a lot more enjoyment out of it to show for it. Never again would they feel the need to be extravagant.
Recently my Aunt Shirley and Uncle Harvey from northeastern Pennsylvania died. Since I was always their very favorite nephew they left me their old grand mansion in the countryside. It’s an absolute mess unfortunately but they also left me a significant amount of money with which to have it fixed. After I take care of all the unavoidably necessary repairs-plumbing, painting and electricity among others-I intend to hire a professional landscaper to fix up the grounds. What I shall really need on all these acres of land are quite a wide variety of flowers. Since, unfortunateIy, I have never had a lot of physical strength, I shall also have to get someone to work on the land on a regular basis. I should also like a very large built-in swimming pool to keep things interesting during the summer when it’s entirely too hot. Taking into account the unfortunate fact that northeastern Pennsylvania has always been quite notorious for bitter cold treacherous winters, I really want quite an absolutely perfect heating system. Knowing me I shall simply have to have a nice stereo and television for all my CD’s and DVD’s. Because I’ve never been able to stand any unwelcome noise I shall have to have the house soundproofed so all the noise that happens wherever the television and stereo are, can inevitably be counted on to stay there. Although I’ve never been able to drink much I should really like a very well-stocked bar. I’ve always quite enjoyed alcohol in moderate doses. Not ever having been known to have many parties I shall be able to take my time with it. No house of mine could possibly be complete without a seriously large, well-stocked library. I have such a plethora of books, and reading material in general.
I just got a telegram this morning announcing the recent death of Uncle Chester’s wife Aunt Mabel. The bad news is that I honestly had no idea I even had an Aunt Mabel or Uncle Chester. The good news is that according to the terms of her will she’s left me a million dollar inheritance. There’s quite a lot I shall be able to do from now on with that kind of money. Before anything else, of course, I shall have to do the responsible thing and invest a significant enough amount of it in order to ensure that all my bills will be paid in full from now on without any trouble. After that’s allbeen taken care of I shall then be able to concentrate on all the really interesting things I’ve always really wanted to do. I could start out by traveling all throughout Europe. So far the only foreign country I’ve ever seen is Canada. That’s only because it’s so close to the western New York borderline. I shall have to make sure I get a passport. There are a few dozen countries in Europe so it will take me quite a while to see all of them. The only foreign languages I ever took in school, unfortunately, were three years of Spanish in high school and two years of Italian in college. That will present quite a significant problem but I shall be quite happy to attempt to figure something out. I shall have to take my camera with me in order to be able to take a lot of pictures.
After I’ve finished with all that I should really like to go back to school and to get an advanced degree. That’s always been quite a major concern of mine too. The only colleges I’ve ever attended have been S.U.N.Y. in Farmingdale, and Adelphi in Huntington, New York. Perhaps it would be entirely too much of a strain on my old professors there if I were ever again to try to sit through any of their classes. I think I should go someplace else where I don’t already have a reputation to have to live down.
Of course I shall most certainly have to make sure I get some especially nice clothes too. It’s very important for a man to make a truly natty appearance at all times if he intends to have that interesting a lifestyle. I shall most certainly have quite a lot of interesting stories to tell once I really get involved with all this activity.
Were I ever to take a walk down Lincoln Boulevard one day and to stumble upon something very valuable on the beach, I should probably try to do something in order to find its legitimate owner. At first, knowing me, I should most probably be so desperately tempted to keep it without telling anyone. My imagination would wander around in many different directions. If I found either an exceptionally large sum of money, a significantly expensive piece of jewelry, or some other major thing, I’d go quite a bit overboard with all sorts of mixed emotions. Imagine all the bills that could be paid. If it’s an extremely significant sum there would be enough left over to be quite self indulgent too. I could splurge on a lot of luxuries. Who could possibly be expected to pass up such a nice deal? It would take me quite a terribly long time to make the final irrevocable decision to do the entirely honorable thing. Of course if it’s cash, or merchandise without any serial number or other identifying marks, as far as I know it would be entirely fair to assume that no one could prove ownership anyway. Unfortunately, though, there’s also quite a seriously intense part of me that eventually would have to end up reporting it to the policemen over at the local precinct. It’s always so very much better to do the right thing than to take a chance by doing something that might sooner or later backfire and do more harm than good anyway. If after the official waiting period has expired, it still hasn’t been claimed, I should then be quite willing to keep it. Then I could be so very happy without having to be bothered with all those nasty obnoxious voices, in my head, constantly whining at me.
Of course unlike Rahm Emanuel I’m not part of the corrupt Chicago political machine but I can imagine that the line about not letting a crisis go to waste can be true in a legitimate sense too. Each of us should be quite capable of learning not merely from his mistakes, misdeeds and setbacks but from all kinds of bad circumstances in general. Even though no one should ever even think of taking any kind of inappropriate advantage of a crisis, either financially or otherwise, there’s always something that can be learned from each experience. I can’t remember having turned any sort of crisis into an opportunity to accrue some kind of advantage, either financially or otherwise. It’s always quite a good idea for each of us to examine all the specific circumstances that are relevant to each particular crisis and to make sure that he learns how to avoid taking any unnecessary risks from then on. Each individual should pay very strict attention to any crisis that transpires in order to ascertain whether it was the result of problems with either timing, health, spending money or some other kind of trouble. From then on he can avoid, to the best of his ability, falling into the same traps.