Mo’ money may make mo’ problems, but everyone soon learns that no money sucks worse. I figured this out at the age of five while walking to kindergarten. There was a a sign for slush-puppies positioned outside of a convenience store and I instantly knew that I wanted it.
I asked my mom, whom at the time I considered to be the Source of All Things, if she’d get me one. Nope. We couldn’t afford it. She went on to explain that meant that we didn’t have enough money to get it.
I was stunned. How could it be that I couldn’t have such an awesome-looking drink, sold by one Mr. Puppy? It didn’t seem right that the same world that created such a terrific treat then went and made it inaccessible to thirsty kids like me.
Why not? I asked.
Because we have bills to pay, she said. It isn’t free to have put a roof over your head and feed you and your brothers and sisters.
Well, who can afford slush puppies? I asked.
People with money, she said.
From that I was to assume that we didn’t have a lot of money. Like a million other kids feeling the sting of being denied commercial goods, I vowed to learn how to get rich. Because if I could become one of these elusive people with money, I could get a slush puppy, or anything else, any ‘ol time I wanted.
The search for a solution didn’t take long. A week later, my mom took us to her sister-in-law’s place to watch a movie, where we’d been invited to watch Mary Poppins on a fancy machine called a VHS-player.
Toward the end of the show, a song played, Fidelity Fiduciary Bank, that explained everything. The children, under the ward of Mary Poppins, had arrived at the employ of their father, Mr. Banks, who was really upset about how their allowance money — their tuppence! — was going to be spent.
You see, Mary Poppins wanted them to blow it on feeding the birds. But the proprietors of the bank had other ideas, which, in the Disney tradition, they communicated to Jane and Michael via song:
I think that I wasn’t supposed to like those old men, singing about investing and the Bank of England and all of that. In fact, I was supposed to want to use my money to feed the birds. But I didn’t. Instead, what my mind focused on was a solution to my problem. These old geezers, with their suits, stern countenances, and fancy words were saying that I could make more money without doing a goddamn thing by simply putting it into the bank. Tuppence could create more tuppence.
Somehow, I missed the point of the entire movie, which is to enjoy life as it comes. Chim-Chimmery-Cheeree. Instead, my mind treated Mary Poppins like an advertisement for passive investing. If I earn enough and stick it all in the bank, I won’t just be able to feed the birds for a day. I could feed them for a lifetime — all the while drinking free slush puppies.
I could hardly imagine a more perfect life.
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