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Use the money, don’t let the money use you.
Some time ago I was in a fancy restaurant with my wife. We had a great meal and I had known the owner for decades.
I saw a young Marine and his girl eating a couple of tables away. Think small town Texas rock hard movie handsome blonde haired crew cutted stud and his girl as beautiful as Texas bluebonnets in a flowery dress just a bit off the current style.
As packaging that frock contained a full blooded Texas high school cheerleader just a bit awed by the big city but gamely mixing with the beautiful people. And her fellow was just home from war and belonged only to her. It was poignant.
I could read his medals and knew he had seen action, had been decorated for bravery and was freshly home from war.
I couldn’t take my eyes off them. It was looking at real life dead in the eyes —- not New York Times life but real life where living and dying is real.
My wife and I left the restaurant and she stepped outside to summon our car from the valet and I lingered ostensibly to say good bye to the owner.
I slipped him some cash and and told the proprietor that the young Marine and his gal were now my guest. It was $200.
The proprietor smiled and looked me in the eye and thanked me.
When I got into the car and my wife asked me what had taken so long, I hesitated to respond.
She laughed and said I know exactly what took you so long. You paid for that Marine’s dinner, didn’t you?
I didn’t answer because if I had tried I would have broken into tears. Not because I am a sensitive guy but because in that tableau I saw my own life reflecting back.
And, that, my friend is how the fuck you use money.
You make it celebrate life and you make it dance to your own memories and you pass it along.
Later I was back in that same restaurant and saw the proprietor and he said that the young Marine had proposed marriage and his girl had accepted.
Is this a great life or what?