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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Lexulous Life Lessons: There aren't that many rainy days


 Most of us, as younger people are taught to save something for a rainy day. I remember that lesson as my mother repeated it to me many times over as a child. And for good reason. My father was the type to make lots of money and spend it just as fast. My mother was just the opposite. There were times when my father made hundreds of thousands of dollars each month, and a lot of that was cash. If left to his own devices, he would have found a way to spend it all. 
I remember one very memorable incident when that was very obvious. In one of the very good times,  my father had five brand new Cadillac's in front of our house. As we only had two parking spaces in the driveway, there were always 3 on the street. As well, my mother would never drive one, as she didn't like big cars, so only my father and I would, meaning 3 were never being driven. As a result, I was the only kid in high school who drove a top of the line Cadillac to school everyday. And, a different one everyday. They must have thought I was a drug dealer or a pimp.
When the bad times came again, all that money was gone and one day we came out to find that all the Cadillac's were now gone, repossessed by whatever company had supplied them.  Such was our life when I was growing up.
Luckily enough though,  my father was also very generous. He liked to give stuff and money to people. I had a lot of toys when I was a kid and our fridge was always full. Whenever we wanted something, my father would get it for us. It gave him a sense of pleasure to do that. Making money was a big rush for him, but giving it away and/or spending it was as big as if not a bigger rush for him.
My mother has related stories to me about how my father would come home with a big bag of cash, maybe $20,000, and just hand it to her. This was a weekly affair for a few years. My mother told me she would just put it in the bottom of a drawer and saved it for a rainy day, which came often. There were a lot of rainy days in my childhood. At times, although I was very young at the time, I suspect we were millionaires one month and then deep in debt a few months later. This went on for many years. There were a lot of rainy and sunny days back then for us. My mother estimated that at one point she had more than $200,000 in cash in a drawer in her bedroom. And yes, that made her very nervous.
I have always tended to be a lot more like my mother in that respect than my father. In almost every other aspect I take after my father, but not that one. I am sort of a saver. And that goes deeper than just money. I like to keep things. I am not a pack rat, but I am in the ballpark there.
Playing Lexulous as much as I do that becomes a noticeable habit. I like to keep letters and make words, even to the detriment of my winning or final score. Being naturally creative as well I like to make things-create things. If I don't have a word, I will save letters and try to make that word, even though I could probably make a better score by simply playing whatever word I have on those two turns. It is a mish mash of character traits that drives me toward this behavior.
Being somewhat intelligent as well, I know this is a poor strategy. Being a pack rat while playing word games is counter productive to winning, most of the time. Many times at the end of a game that I know I should have won but have lost I ask myself: 
Why did this happen? 
Of course, I know why it happened. I saved and hoarded letters and lost the game because of it. It is a very tough habit to break, when it is a coping and survival strategy you learned very young in life.
When I trained horses I did the exact same thing. I had horses I kept that I knew I should have just sold because trying to make them productive when they could not be productive was a money losing strategy. My inclination to "make it work at all costs" strategy has rarely worked out for me over the long haul. 
Playing Lexulous has once again pointed that out for me. It is a cold slap in the face when you need a cold slap in the face.
My Lexulous lesson for the day is this: There aren't that many rainy days in life. Yes, there are some, but for the most part holding on to something you don't really need will likely hurt you more than help you.
There is a very good reason that being a pack rat has a negative image. And that is because it usually brings in a negative result.
Saving is great, saving things you don't need to save is not so great.

Saving is great, but saving with a purpose it better. Saving things you don't need, or can't reasonably be expected to use is actually worse than not saving at all. It is all about value.

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