Sometimes I have a real ‘paying for’ problem

Published 6:49 am Tuesday, February 26, 2013

All my life I have known that I had a problem, but had never heard it so eloquently expressed. My thanks abound to Brother Steny Hoyer, House of Representatives, in good, ol’ Washington D.C. Those guys and gals up there really have a way with words. Or maybe I should say, they “get away” with words!

Those of you who read this column know that I bought a car a few weeks ago. Donna Sue and I always talk about major purchases and we agree on them before they occur. That is, most of the time.

I was going through my closet, looking at my wardrobe, and decided that it had become old and drab. I needed some new threads, so I decided to go out and splurge. No more Goodwill suits for me; Hart, Schaffner, Groucho, and Marx it would be.

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I bought three and brought them home. Donna Sue liked them, but asked, “Three?” I could tell she felt I was “pushing the limits.” I explained to her, no problem, I had bought them on credit.

A day or two later, I was looking, all squinty-eyed, at our 32-inch television and decided that it would be good to get a larger TV.  Later, I just happened to be walking by a 54-inch doozy that looked bigger than the drive-in picture show I remembered. I bought it on credit, of course.

That led to the need to re-design the living room, because we didn’t have a wall that would support a 54-inch whopper of a TV. The carpenter happened to take credit. Good for him.

That did it. Donna Sue said, “We need to talk. I think you have a spending problem.”

“Au contraire, my lady,” I retorted. “I have heard from the budget gurus in Washington and Brother Steny Hoyer has convinced me that I don’t have a spending problem, just a ‘paying-for’ problem.”

“I’ve never heard such a silly phrase,” Donna Sue replied. “What do you mean by a ‘paying-for’ problem?”

“It’s very simple,” I began to explain. “It means that it doesn’t matter if you spend too much. Just don’t say it that way. Just say that it’s not a spending problem, but it’s a problem with paying for what you buy.” I was beginning to get confused over what I was saying, so I stopped digging the hole any deeper.

We keep separate checking accounts and I suggested that my problem could be solved by a transfer from her checking account to mine. I tried to explain to her Washington’s more balanced approach. Since she was responsible to live within her means, if she would simply transfer more of her means over to my means, then I could balance my budget. I was not very convincing.

If you all don’t hear from me for a while, don’t worry. I am in the midst of a sort of sequestration. What does that mean? I don’t know, but it must have something to do with a frying pan coming down hard upon a head!