August 01, 2007
Originally published March 16, 2002
How much money is enough?
I wonder about this a lot, because I buy a lottery ticket every week and if my numbers ever hit, I believe I am finished with work. I live modestly, I pay my bills on time and I have some money in the bank. But I still need my job to maintain the status quo. I like what I do and I believe I am fairly good at it, but if I had my druthers, I wouldn't work. I would lay around the house, diddle on the computer, listen to CDs and play golf every now and then, pretty much the way I do on days off now. If I were rich and every day were a day off, I probably would live the way I do now, except for a hot tub on the back porch and a personal masseuse to rub my back at least twice a week.
That's why people who make more money than they ever could spend and still strive for more puzzle me. Dan Rather earns (well...IS PAID) millions of dollars for being the chief talking head on CBS. He still feels compelled to whore on the side to gather extra income through some really unnecessary speaking engagements. Why does he do that? If you can't make it on $10 million a year, a few extra thousands aren't going to make a lot of difference. Plus, he compromises his position as moral arbitor of the news when he takes his show on the partisan road. Is this unbiased, impartial newsperson addicted to his own fame? I am DAN, hear me speak. Then PAY ME. I don't get it.
I can understand Bill Clinton, because he owes tremendous legal fees and would rather talk before an adoring crowd than grope a horny woman, even though he likes groping A LOT. That malformed bastard has a terminal case of unbridled ego and may be excused for what he does, they way we excuse chronic bed-wetters and masturbaters. I really don't believe money matters to Clinton as long as he gets laid regularly and has crowds of people go all doe-eyed when he steps before a microphone. But that's Bill.
Money doesn't matter a lot to me, either, as long as I don't have creditors hounding my ass over delinquent debts. Paying the bills with something left over is good enough. I don't need or want twenty antique sports cars in my three-story garage. If my job paid $20 million a year, I would not leave it because someone else offered $22 million. What does a guy making $20 million do with that extra $2 million other than brag about it? I don't understand.
I'll tell you why, too. I am at the point in my career where I have reached the plateau of diminishing returns. I received a nice raise last year and saw about 1/4 of it on my paycheck, and the IRS had a field day with me. I am single now, which means the gaping jaw of government takes an even larger tax bite out of anything I earn. If I get a $10,000 per year raise tomorrow, the government will take half and the leftovers won't change my lifestyle at all.
I suppose salary is a good scorecard, but the money doesn't matter after a while, at least not to me. My check is bigger than yours? So what?
I have enough. And enough is as good as a feast.
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