In the summer of 1975, I was still riding bikes to get around. My 10-speed was my main mode of transportation.
I had saved my earnings from the entire previous summer to buy that bike. It was $100. Adjusted for inflation, that’s $442.89 now.
Today, some people have a different approach when they need money. They ask other people to give them some of theirs. A Go Fund Me account is something people set up when they want cash. How it works is quite simple. You set up an online account, then ask people to fill it up.
I’ve seen many great uses for this type of account. Friends have set them up to help others who are ill, have lost a loved one, or need things after a house fire. All great causes, and very similar to how it was done in the old days. People passed the hat at church or the office.
But one story I saw reported in the media took the cake. The wedding cake, to be exact.
A bride-to-be wanted (it would be more accurate to say, demanded) her family and friends to pay for a $60,000 dream wedding. She sent a request for $1,500 per person with her invitations. The cash request extended to the bridal party.
She was shocked that only four people RSVP’d with the money.
I was shocked that anyone sent the money.
The woman said that she and her fiancé had been together since they were 14, and that a psychic had told them to go for the fairy tale nuptials in Aruba.
The invitations and demands for cash left her $54,000 short, so the bride-to-be set up a Go Fund Me account, which garnered just $520.
She was already upset, but after the lack of interest in everyone else funding the island ceremony, she seemed to lose it.
Her profane-laced tirades on social media allegedly ran off her maid of honor, and even her fiancé. He had suggested that the two of them do something more affordable in Vegas.
Bad idea on his part. After she went off on him, she soon announced that the wedding was off, just four days before the ceremony was scheduled.
There was a time when a story such as this one might have been a movie script, but never real.
But, we have reached the point in America where many people feel owed. Why should they have to work? Others should just give them what they want.
Mowing yards, bagging leaves, and picking up sticks was the Go Fund Me account of my generation.
You didn’t ask people to give you cash, you asked people if they had anything that needed to be done, you offered to do it, and then you negotiated a price for a job.
You worked, they paid you.
When I was young, I started a lawn mowing business. I worked out a deal to use my parents’ or my grandparents’ mower, and I knocked on doors until someone said, “yes.”
My bike was what I used (along with a nylon boat rope) to pull my lawnmower across town. I carried my gas can in one hand, steered the bike with the other, and then mowed the yards I had lined up.
I made $2 to $4 per yard, and I saved that money for things I wanted. It took a long time to save $100, but when I had it, I felt a sense of accomplishment. And, I got what I wanted without asking anyone else for anything.
If my bike had a flat, I pushed the lawnmower across town. Sometimes you have to improvise and work harder.
Recently, I went out to mow the yard, and a belt broke on my big riding mower and didn’t have a replacement.
I have a couple of extra mowers. The next riding mower I cranked up and pulled out of the storage building had a flat. So, I got out the push mower and mowed until I got tired. I then found what I needed to fix the flat on the riding mower.
Not how I wanted it to turn out, but I got the results I wanted. The yard got mowed.
There’s a large sucking sound in our country. It’s the sound of pride being vacuumed away.
It wasn’t so long ago that begging (these days known as Go Fund Me) would have been considered shameful. Not so much now.
Pride made the list of the Seven Deadly Sins. Matter of fact, it’s at the top of the list, ahead of greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth.
But this wasn’t a matter of pride. It was a lack of pride.
I was taught at an early age to work for what I wanted, and to help people when they need it. Not when they want it.
I’ve never consulted a soothsayer, but I have to wonder why the psychic who told the woman to go for the $60,000 wedding failed to mention there wouldn’t be one.
©2018 John Moore
John’s book, Write of Passage: A Southerner’s View of Then and Now, is available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Write-Passage-Southerners-View-Then/dp/1548144983.
Email John at John@TheCountryWriter.com.