Money Changes Everything -Extravagant Purchases

I just finished an incredible book, which I will write about soon, but I want to write about a new anthology on money I began reading--Money Changes Everything--which is a book of essays by writers about money and their relationship with it.

The first essay I read was by the now well-off author of the Lemony Snicket books, Daniel Handler. He decided to take the $1200 he was going to be paid for his essay and use it to buy a $1200 bottle of wine. The question being--is buying a $1200 bottle of wine immoral...and also, what does a $1200 bottle of wine taste like (seems it tastes pretty much like regular wine).

Daniel has a personable dry-humor voice that works well for this piece. He's honest in telling us that he was broke once and now, he's far from broke--think the Jim Carrey movie--yep, not even close. As his agent said to him, "The money train is pulling into your station" and it did.

And though it's completely a way to get new material, I enjoyed his experiment of buying this $1200 bottle of wine and inviting his poorest friends over to drink it with him. And when his poor friends didn't think it was immoral of him purchasing a $1200 bottle of wine, he said, "So you would purchase a $1200 bottle of wine," and they said "Never! But we're fine with you using your money to buy it."

What it made me think of are these odd purchases in our lives, the extravagant moments when we throw money at something we think we want, or do want and if we feel regret afterward or if we are still to this day thrilled with our purchase.

When I 29, I was at an antique shop and saw an old stained glass heavy wooden door from England. I asked my husband "Do you think that would fit in between the laundry room and the kitchen?" He said yes, not knowing what it cost. Great! I said, can that be my anniversary gift? Sure, he said. I paid $400 for that door I never measured, never flinched at the price or tried to bargain down. Five minutes later I was the owner of a hundred year old door that may or may not fit in my house.

Since then, that door (which did fit) has given me much writing material, photo opportunities in front of it, and just plain happiness as I look at it with the vinyl "6" I placed on top to represent our anniversary. If/when I leave this house, that door is coming with me, it could go on to a new life as a tabletop or interesting wall decoration. But maybe what it brought me was the realization that my spontaneous, my decisions from the heart have always been my best decisions. Every day it is a reminder that when I see something I want, I should act and trust more in my gut than my head. It's also a reminder that I was much more spontaneous before I had a child.


  1. I don't spend too excessively, although I sure love books. And shoes. And music.

    The door sounds beautiful.


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