Smiter’s Law No. 231: spare cash
This is the law that states simply that wherever an abundance of cash is to be found, an equivalent expense, or series thereof, will emerge to fill it.
Case in point: due to the sudden departure of a colleague from the Orifice, where I work, I recently logged so much overtime that I was fairly awash in lovely, lovely money. I paid off a few bills, I bought another round of spin classes, and treated myself to a small but efficient (and utterly necessary) air conditioner. I even bought a few extravagant little doodads that I had been wanting (several tins of the better grade of cat food and an afternoon at the movies, to name but a few).
Clearly on a roll, I contemplated throwing caution to the winds and (gasp) maybe taking a little vacation this fall; nothing fancy, mind you, just a weekend mini-break at a B&B or something like that.
When that was done, the rest would go into savings and topping up my RRSP, after which I planned to sit around ogling my bank statements and going “boohahhahahah” while rubbing my hands together and throwing twenty-dollar bills in the air like confetti.
But if Nature abhors a vacuum, it abhors a “boohhahhahahah” even more, and before the last echoes had even died away, the Money Hoover appeared.
It was like that scene in the sci-fi movies where the continent-sized spaceship looms over the city, its shadow blocking out the sun & turning day to night. First came an email cheerfully informing me that I needed to buy an expensive computer program for an editing project I was working on. “Think of it as an investment! Ha ha!” said the project manager, handing me a handkerchief and a Valium.
Then came an urgent need for new eyeglasses, as my previous prescription hadn’t been updated since the Trudeau administration, meaning I have had, for approximately half my life, the visual acuity of a badger with a pillowcase over its head.
After that came a dizzying succession of lethal financial blows, in growingly predictable several-hundred-dollar increments, ending (I can only hope) with the need for yet more repairs on my car, known fondly as “That [expletive, expletive] Piece of [expletive] That Should be Dropped Down a Deep [expletive] Hole and Have Napalm Poured on It while the [expletive] Taliban Pound It to Death with [expletive] Sledgehammers.”
(It’s a Pontiac Vibe, in case any of you are wondering what car NOT to go out and buy.)
And finally, with a decisive sucking sound & a pop!, my extra cash was gone as quickly as it had appeared.
Quite a few years ago, when my friend Katerina’s son was born, she told me of the strange Greek tradition in which passers-by (particularly old ladies, who presumably know how these things work) will attempt to keep the Evil Eye away from a new baby by leaning into the infant’s carriage and growling, “Oh, what an ugly baby!”
And while the Evil Eye is presumably heading for greener (or pinker) pastures, the granny slips in a small wad of crisp new bills into Junior’s onesie.
Pretty sweet deal, if you ask me, and it has given me an idea. My guess is that the Evil Eye and the Money Hoover are closely related, so with that in mind, my Cunning Plan is this: should I find myself blessed, ever again, with a surplus of cash, not a peep will I make. There will be no boohahahaha-ing, no throwing of bills into the air.
Instead, I will dress myself in a nice layette and bonnet, and then I will stuff myself into a pram and hang out on the Danforth, waiting for Greek grannies to take notice of me, throw a mild-mannered curse my way, and slip wads of cash under my blankets while the Money Hoover drifts off to bother someone else.