I don’t know what happened to my parents during the depression that made them so averse to anything cheap, stingy, frugal or tight. But averse they were. They came from, and got, very little in this life.
They believed in “always go for your wallet first, never quibble, and don’t get caught dead trying to weasel out of anything”. They would always grit their teeth while sharing their views. Strange, I thought.
My mother’s favorite joke was about a large family at their parent’s 50th wedding anniversary. None of the kids chipped in anything for the celebration and were having a grand old time for themselves at their parent’s expense.
At the appointed time the feted parents took the stage to address the large, adoring audience. The father said he had an announcement, “I just want to tell everyone here that for all these fifty wonderful years, we were never married.”
Shock went through the audience. Then a hush fell. One of the children shot up and said, “You mean we’re all a bunch of bastards?” The mother leaned into the mic and said, “Yes, and a bunch of cheap ones too.”
My mother would roar at that punch line. “Yes, and a bunch of cheap ones too.”
The worse thing in the world my mother could call you was a “cheap bastard.” Strange sentiment from someone who had nothing.
When my marriage was ending there was a lot of selfish, cheap, corner cutting things I could have done because I held the purse strings.
I could have feathered my own nest…..but I couldn’t lower myself to the status of “cheap bastard.”