Radiogurl a la Carte

Sunday, May. 23, 2004

Under the category of God's protection of animals, small children, and fools...

I ran into a person Friday evening while in Phoenix. She's a woman of a certain age, if you will - mid-fifties, reasonably attractive, has a nice home, widowed about three years ago, just retired from her job with a modest retirement income... And has the judgment of a Rhesis monkey on LSD.

I'm not sure how to categorize her - friend isn't exactly the right word because our value systems are separated by several hundred points. Acquaintance isn't right, either - she's intimately familiar with my family, can probably tell you more than I can about some things relating to my kids. Family might somewhat apply - and it would explain why, when she so thoroughly pisses people off on a regular basis, everyone still stays in touch with her.

But for here I'll call her Friend, just because I'm lazy.

When Friend's hubby passed away, he left her a tidy little nest egg. Not exactly in the category of filthy rich, but reasonably well off. She promptly sold her decent house and moved into a place that was substantially larger and much more home than she needed or had time to keep up.

Over the course of the next year or so, she spent with little eye on how much she was spending, until she'd whittled away most of the nest egg, a lot of it on bric-a-brac. I remember thinking how I'd have done things differently if it were me. I'd have left most of the investments to make money.

As it turns out, some six months after that, her broker informed her that he lost every remaining penny of the nest egg in bad investments. While that wasn't good news, at least before that, she'd acquired the things that she really wanted, and was still working - and he had nothing to do with her retirement funds from her job, so she lost relatively little in the ensuing fiasco. If she hadn't spent it in what I considered an extravagant manner, she might have lost everything and had absolutely nothing to show for it.

Case in point two. Same person, now a couple of years later. She met a man and after dating him for some time, asked him for help with her finances. Said man had financial experience, a degree from Harvard, and was a recovering alcoholic. He convinced her to let him help her set up several things, including automatic payment of her bills and so on.

Does anyone besides me see a problem here?

Fast forward to just a few days ago. In the interim, man had regressed (again) in his drinking, adding pills to the mix. He was a violent drunk and finally Friend told him he had to leave - after she also discovered he'd stolen approximately $5,000 from her. Once she sent him packing, she documented everything and because of the way he accomplished his theft, she is going to get the money back. Can we say, lucky?

But there's more.

Man, as it turned out, decided to drink too much even for him. He was found dead in his bed a couple of nights after she sent him packing. And police found that he had her personal information with him, including social security numbers, bank information, everything. But by the fact that he died so quickly, he'd been unable to do anything with it.

Case in point three. Same person, equivalent stupidity, has an affinity for smoking - and I don't mean Marlboro. I don't generally judge people because I personally think marijuana should be legalized, but when a conviction for pot means arbitrarily losing your job and the retirement you've been building for 25 years, it's not something I'd recommend. And said woman was also providing smoke for teenaged son, who elevated irresponsibility to an art form. (Can't imagine why, can you?)

As you might have guessed, she was busted. Until then, her home was paid for, but she had to borrow some serious money to pay legal bills for being terminally stupid. In the end the charges were dropped. Once more, luck above reality.

She's now putting her extravagant home up for sale and selling several items, and while she won't recoup all she spent, she'll unquestionably come out all right, buying a more modest place to live and living in a more realistic financial stratosphere.

She'll probably marry a serial killer, send him off to jail when she finds out, and he'll die just after writing a bestselling book to which she's sole heir of the profits.

Go figure.

Before - After

In the grander scheme of things, no soul can truly be replaced. Each one of us has a place in the universal tapestry. We each contribute our own color and texture. When one thread is snipped too soon, it distorts all the threads around it. Other lives can unravel and tear. If the wrong thread is ripped away, the whole fabric of life becomes dangerously fragile.
- LeiLani, aka Radiogurl aka Bright Opal (1957 - )