One of my first lessons in money, I learned at the toy store. It was after school and my mom took me with her to the mall for whatever reason, and I begged her to take me to look at some toys. I tried to be a big girl about it; my mom has this little game where I could point at anything I wanted and wish for it, hoping that Santa might be eavesdropping. The “game” worked for a while, until I realized I was being conned, so I begged and begged my mom to get me the Barbie beeper (It’s just so necessary). With the iron will of Kublai Khan, she refused despite my growing surliness. I cried so hard on the ride home, feeling like the most abused kid in the world as I ate my takeaway KFC, seasoned with my salty tears.
My mom is a tough negotiator — she didn’t want me upset (a post-iyak vomit situation loomed close) but she knew she had to straighten me up. So she said, “Rate the beeper from 1 to 10. If it’s a 10 and you still want to buy it when we come back, then maybe we can get it.” Of course, I was the kind of trash heap child that insisted that I wanted it, 11 out of 10, even though I pretty much forgot about it once we got home. And when I did get it for Christmas, I barely remembered how much I suffered to get it under the tree. At that point, the damn beeper was just one of my many cool gifts that year.
See, that’s the thing I learned about money. If you’re not the one holding it, earning it, and keeping it, you pretty much don’t give a fig about how it’s spent. The older you get, the more its necessity becomes apparent, despite how little we try to rely on it. We need it without wanting it. We look for it and don’t have enough of it at the most crucial moments. It’s that weird cousin of yours who’s really good at fixing computers. You love him (kind of), and despite him quoting every 9gag post he’s ever seen, you kind of keep him around to fix the router every once in a while.