Really good money is the stuff you screw someone out of!
by Charlie Leck
My wife has a language quite her own. I wrote an essay about that a number of years ago and I think it's worth repeating here. I find her sense of extra dry humor delightful and delectible. It's also great fun being married to someone who, when they speak, you want to listen carefully in order to catch all the little inuendo that might get away if you aren't attentive.
Let me recreate for you here the entire essay as I wrote it in approximately 1991.
Really good money, the best, the golden stuff, is the money you screw someone out of. Forgive that dangling participle, but the sentence works best that way. Also, that's close to a verbatim quote, which I must credit to my wife. She calls it Pitchfork Philosophy. She talks that way a lot. There's Fern Gully Philosphy and Guggi Philosphy and Bowling Philosophy. Don't ask me to explain them all. I'll just deal with Pitchfork Philosophy. It's "the stuff" farmers come up with while they're forking manure into a spreader. An hour or so of cleaning out cow barns, sheep pens or horse stalls can be pretty boring -- causing one to think in such a manner that we might assume one has inhaled too much.
So, that's from whence came this idea about "really good money" -- straight off the pitch fork. "Really good money, the best, the golden stuff, is the money your screw someone out of."
Well, let's be honest here! She was also up pretty late last night and rose at her usual early hour. So she's been running on empty nearly all day. And, it hasn't helped that she's also unusually ticked off. We went to another city council meeting last night and listened to politicians being politicians. There's nothing quite like a small town hack. They can lay it on heavier than a southern senator or a French baker. They were laying it on pretty thick last night.
It was obvious that they have an agenda they need to implement over the objections of a strong, large section of the community. So, they took to attacking the wealthy and how they get their money. When all else seems to be failing, get after those with the money. That always works. They attack trust-wealth and inherited money as particularly evil. Fees collected by lawyers come in as second most terrible.
Never mind that the motive for what these town legislators want to shove down our throats is surrounded with the pleasant aroma of real estate development money. That, you see, is good money. It's the money that comes about as a result of screwing your neighbor good. You know what I mean. It's that slick contented look on the face of the cat, just before she closes her eyes and drifts off to sleep, satisfied by the deep, full feeling in her tummy. Never mind the fish bowl is missing one goldfish!
"So," my wife said, "the money your mum gives you is bad. And the money you make from farm subsidies, so that your neighbors can eat cheap, is bad. But, screw the town and make happy some crazed developer who needs a new hamlet to pave over -- that's good money! Oh, pitch fork!"
She seethed a while over her hot vegetable soup, fueling up so she could go face another dirty barn. A chaw of crusty French bread and she was ready again to take pitch fork in hand.
"You know," she said seriously, "the really good money is the stuff you get and you're still able to look your neighbor right in the eye after you get it."
She was back to thinking and talking about the council meeting. She was startled by how few councilmen could look anyone in the eye. They always seemed to be looking out over the heads of the audience, at some far distant dollar sign, never focusing, in word or thought, on anyone to whom they spoke. (No danglers there, boy!)