If I were a superhero, my superpower would not be finance.
There are moments in my embarrassingly sheltered, spoiled life when I realize I should never have been let off the leash of childhood. Now, I am writing this fully aware that my parents read this blog, but I’m pretty sure they only remember this blog exists every three months or so, and therefore I am placing my bets that they will read this in November when this post is no longer relevant.
Sometimes my adult-ness is awesome. I exercise my freewill the way a junkie exercises her needle, as frequently as she can without any regard for the gross outcome. A bag of candy on my office desk at 10:40 a.m.? Let me unhinge my jaw so I can eat without chewing. Unlimited Netflix streaming of Friday Night Lights? The only reason my eyes burn after a 10 hour television marathon is because I haven’t been training hard enough.
When I have a good run with my adult-ness I feel unstoppable. I drop my clothes off at the dry cleaner and want a high five from the woman behind the desk. Sometimes, after changing the sheets on my bed, I think, “You know what? Let’s put some money in that mother f*ing savings account!”
This is what being an adult looks like kids. Take notes.
I grew up with financially responsibly parents. My father drove each car for 10+ years. My mother never let me buy clothes at full price. We bought bargain brands and ate dinner at home most evenings. Both my mother and father are gifted with math. Not only can they do it, but they enjoy it. It’s sick. My mother used to quiz me in the grocery store asking questions that would have made the Gestapo proud:
“If this jar of tomato sauce is 32 oz and costs $3.29 and this jar of tomato sauce is 50.5 oz and costs $7.18 but comes with a free car and three months of cable television, which package of pasta should we buy to guarantee you get accepted to college?”
Not cool, mom.
So math has always been a touchy subject with me. Put me on the spot with a math problem and my pupils will dilate looking for a calculator and a sharp object.
Unfortunately for me, and all my fellow Liberal Arts majors, math is in fact an essential part of life. Which brings me back to the savings account. The fact that I even have a savings account gives me a false sense of adult responsibility. False because I hardly add to my savings. Now, I’m not blaming any said employer or anything, but I really make peanuts. And by peanuts I mean the bargain brand peanuts that you buy in the gas station that look like they may have been packaged in 1972. I try to live below my means: I don’t buy expensive clothes, I don’t have cable, I don’t need a lot of salon treatments to feel pretty. But I still manage to spend a lot and I’m pretty sure it’s because I have an eating problem. And I live in the greatest city for people who like to eat and eat a lot.
But sometimes, after changing the sheets on the bed, I think, “You know what? I haven’t spent that much money this month, how about I hop over to the friendly banking establishment and deposit some money into my savings? I’m so awesome!”
So I went to the bank. I kissed the savings deposit slip for good luck, whispering, “Make mommy rich!” and waved goodbye like a proud parent on her child’s first day of school. At this point what couldn‘t I do?
Seriously folks, I was being a mother f*ing adult, and by golly it just felt so good.
So yesterday, I’m minding my own business at home on my day off. Then I think, “Oh boy, it’s almost time for my cell phone bill. I better check how many text messages I have sent…” I know what you’re thinking, “Texting, Janine? You have to check how many texts you send?” Yes. I have unlimited minutes, but that’s so 2004. I, even to the deep chagrin of my parents, text a lot. In their opinion, texting is today what rock’n’roll was to their generations’ parents. Society’s demise. But you ask, “Why does it matter what your parents think of your texting?”
Well, friends, because they pay my cell phone bill.
But it was time I came out of the closet about this.
My parents still pay my cell phone bill.
That’s the reason I have 267 area code. It’s not because I am so Philly proud that I can’t stand the idea of switching to a Southern area code. It’s because I can’t get my act together, and my parents actually feel sorry for me.
So I check my messaging amount and my heart drops to my stomach. I’m over. OOOOOOOOOOOO boy, I’m in trouble.
There’s nothing else to do right now, but turn myself in to the boss. So with my tail between my legs I call my Mommy and tell her I did it.
And then, after that humiliating phone call when I pledge my loyalty to the Jankovitz family and my disgust with myself and my carelessness I hang up the phone and receive an alert in my email box.
INSUFFICIENT FUNDS!!???!!!! This isn’t fair! I went to the bank to deposit money in my savings account! I should be given a pass because I was being a grown-up! I gave the dry cleaning lady a high five!!! Doesn’t that count for anything these days???
I did it folks. EPIC ADULT FAIL.
I tried to save money: good.
But ended up taking too much out: bad.
And now the bank is charging me because guilt doesn’t pay for insufficient funds: very bad.
Apparently, when math looks like this to your brain:
You don’t know how to subtract.
Two epic adult fails in one day. Seriously? I can’t keep track of my crap at this point?
I told my boyfriend about this. I told him, “This is why you shouldn’t marry me.” And he laughed (or at least I think he did since it was over gchat-NOT text message Mom) and he said, “That’s ok, it’s just money.”
Silly boyfriend. This is just one of those cultural differences of growing up in a gentile home. “It’s just money? JUST MONEY?” I can hear my parents screaming at me from Philadelphia: It’s not just money, it’s irresponsibility. It’s carelessness. It’s something our parents couldn’t do when they were running from Hitler, the Czar, the pogroms because there WAS NO MONEY and now you have money and you spend it on text messaging? How could you? Why don’t you just kill us now while we can still feel???!!!!????