Friday, August 30, 2013

Oh, pay day, how I love you so

I just found an online calculator that, when you input your annual income, can tell you where you rank globally in terms of wealth.

If you've ever wanted to feel really, really rich, you should try this calculator (

Actually, tools like that are mixed blessings. Sure, they make you feel like Bill Gates (which most of us are, compared with a stunning proportion of the rest of the world's population). But they also make you feel a bit guilty. Or at least that's what they do to me.

Being born in the United States means there's an excellent chance you rank among the richest 1% of people in the world (I'm thinking they include children in their formula, but still...) And I don't doubt you've worked very hard to get there.

But Americans strutting around because they're among the richest people in the world is a lot like the guy who claims to have hit a home run after he was born on third base.

Now I'm not trying to start class warfare here. Nor am I a bleeding heart liberal who thinks all wealth is bad. I'm just stating the undeniable fact that, no matter what problems you may have, you're still a lot better off than most people on the planet, and it's largely because of the circumstances into which you were born.

Nothing wrong with that. It just is.

Anyway, I bring this up because today is pay day at my place of employment. We get paid every two weeks, which is a schedule I like.

So does my wife. Getting paid every other Friday means that, two or three times a year, there will be a month in which I get an extra check. And she uses those extra checks to get ahead on bills, pay for emergency repairs, buy me Gala apples, etc.

When I worked at the Cleveland Clinic, we used to get paid once a month...on the 15th, if I remember correctly. Talk about having to manage your money.

On one hand, sure, it's nice to get a huge lump of cash deposited into your checking account all at once. But by the time you got to, say, the 7th or 8th of the following month, unless you were really disciplined, you were running a little short of funds.

But it's not the money I love so much on pay days as what the money buys. Specifically, pay day often means it's Terry Goes Grocery Shopping Day in our house. And that woman can shop. Well.

By the time I come home from work on pay day, she has usually returned from an epic shopping trip that has taken her to three or four different stores, where she has purchased all of the food, toiletries and other staples needed to support a family of seven.

She goes to three or four different stores because she has a system down, you see. She knows where to find the best prices and the best products. She knows how to use coupons to maximum effect. And she knows how to stretch that food budget of ours to its outer limits.

Anyway, by the time I walk in the door every other Friday, the kitchen is filled to overflowing with fruits, vegetables, meats, snacks, and new Keurig coffee cups. I love the fruit, as I've mentioned, but those Keurig coffee cups make me tingly.

I get so excited to see all the newly purchased food that I don't mind the fact that three-quarters of it will be gone by the end of the weekend, thanks largely to the voracious appetite of my 15-year-old son, Jared.

Jared regularly consumes seven meals in a day. I'm not kidding. It's sometimes even more. And he's as thin as a pencil.

I resent him for this, but it never lasts long. I get so distracted by the new crop of juicy apples and the K-Cups that there's no room in my brain for resentment.

Yes, pay day, I love you. You make everything OK.

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