Logic of the Spendthrift
——-It is true that a carefree expenditure of money actually produces more (carefree) income, from unexpected sources, simply because if you are open to the one end of a transaction (giving), you are open to the other (taking). Money being a transaction flowing through you, fundamentally. If you draw in the reins, pull back on buying a small extravagance, like a Coke in a machine because you think you’ve got that 75 cents planned elsewhere, down the road say in the road trip you planned to the penny like a fanatic, then everybody around you pulls back too. The very adventure drys up in your path. A mere seventy-five cents is suddenly a burden, a thing not spent, because you saved it for later, so it is psychologically a debt!, a minus . . . and you don’t even have the Coke in the car to sip on your journey. What you’ve got is money that came to you (that you got, or took in effect, from someone), which you are holding onto a little longer. It’s money you are holding!
——-I thought about this long and hard on the New York State Thruway between Albany and Utica, after I stopped for gas and passed up the desire to buy a Coke in a machine there. I wondered: what is this seventy-five cents I am trying to hold onto, where did I get it and where is it going? Because money, I’ve always known, does not represent a logical universe, but results from a situation . . .it’s part of the complicated situation of living in a universe we don’t understand.
——-Psychologically, it is like this: there is money coming in, and there is money going out. I even think I put money I get into my right pocket, and transfer it to my left when it is about to be spent–dishing it out with my left hand like casually, stuffing it into my right pocket like it was being put there forever. Psychologically, it’s like you figure money coming in is deserved, and money going out is . . . being taken from you.
——-But in reality, of course, money coming in is money you took, from somewhere or someone else–they gave it to you, or the world gave it to you, for whatever reason. It is received. And money going out is the giving, even if you spend it apparently on yourself, someone else still gets it when you spend it. The story isn’t the money you get, but what you buy with it–someone else gets the new burden–which then of course they have to contrive to get rid of, because getting money is actually like incurring a debt, you see, and no matter how much money you spend it is like you never cover that debt of the money you ever . . . earned, so to speak. In fact, you cannot spend money fast enough, or foolishly enough, to ever cover your tracks! This is what I always end up thinking.
——-The fact that money exists at all shows we are living in a strange and complicated society, in which the most common circumstances are clouded and cursed with impenetrable confusion. I hate to generalize, but the following categorization will make my reasoning all the more clear. Divide all the world into two types of people, those who are on a budget, and those who can’t even afford to have a budget.
——-Immediately you can see that the people who are on a budget are the very ones who, because they in fact have enough money to plan the budget, don’t in fact have to keep track of their money all that closely. They just like to imagine they are being practical, and logical– because (exactly because) they refuse to acknowledge that the money they have was given to them, they really did not track it coming in. They are unable (poor souls) to see that the money they spend is a . . . donation. Part of the great exchange, the circus! They are always trying to pull in the reins on the money which keeps flowing to them–by this artificial means, this symbolic means, of actually planning where they spend it. So what? . . . so they won’t be accused of extravagance? But they can hardly help being extravagant, they made that decision when they decided to take so much money in the first place. ——-How they spend it has nothing to do with how they got it!
——-More calmly though, I speak of the people on the other side, people who can always actually count their money, because there is always a pitiful, finite amount of it, they are always forced into the issue of whether they are guilty of extravagance. Ten times a day they have to say . . . well, maybe not, and then–the hell with it!, and watch the money disappear. It disappears one way one week and another way the next week. It is all fascination and circumstance. There is never enough of it, because they never figured out how to . . . get that much money in the first place!
From my point of view, I only see money going out. I just keep giving it away; it’s like it amazes me, fundamentally, that anything costs anything . . . or rather that its cost should be figured in terms of money. I don’t think it’s an arrangement of a practical society, so that people get back what they put in, so to speak. I think it is a sign of a weird situation, in which we can’t make the simplest transactions without a go-between. Money is a song and dance, and all the fun and humor is in getting rid of it.
——-How and where exactly I ever get money I don’t know. I mean, I do know technically, say on a ledger (if I kept one), but that doesn’t seem to explain it. The truth is always my purchases are much more real, than my sources by which I get the means to make them. I concentrate almost entirely on the spending of money–that’s what I remember, that is life. The collecting of money, which happens in fits and starts, only sometimes sustained, I never really credit to anything but . . . a run of luck! And luck is fortune, fortune by definition unearned, and therefore (by my logic) a debt–to something or other.
——-As far as money is concerned, spending money has to be the goal. As much as you can spend, the farther ahead you are–no doubt about it. If you think this is not the case, try it! Be a spendthrift, and see if things don’t flow your way. Or save your money in your tightened fist . . . portion it out like you earned it by hard work, beggar!