The Casting Dock

That green paper thing we’ve infused with value…

Money. I like it.

The other day in English class (I work part-time at a high school), the teacher was recapping some main themes from The Canterbury Tales. For those of you who can’t summon your mind to recall that which you studied at the ripe old age of 15, The Canterbury Tales is a collection of stories written by Chaucer in the 14th century as a critical and ironic portrayal of English society and the Catholic Church. It ain’t flattering.

In the recap, particularly of one of the stories which is littered with the destructive power of greed, the teacher notes the most prominent theme as Money is the root of all evil. Immediately my otherwise uninterested ears perked up. Whoa now I thought, Let’s rephrase that a bit. But no–that was deemed the theme of importance and the subsequent multiple answer choice on the unit test: money is the root of all evil. I must say, I disagree. Considering Chaucer’s religious intent, his focus on greed as a main theme was no doubt referencing the oft-quoted Biblical passage For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil (I Tim 6:10). The love of money, not money itself, is a root of evil, not the singular root of evil. It was the love of money that led to greed in the story and then the greed opened the door to all kinds of other evil. I didn’t say anything at the time–ambiguous role in the classroom that I’m still feeling out–but in hindsight, I wish I would have.

All that to say, I like money. Hopefully I don’t idolize it to an unhealthy degree, but I like it. It’s necessary for life. And it just needs to be said that there is nothing inherently wrong with money. I have learned that people have different priorities on how they choose to spend their money, after the living essentials are parcelled out, of course. So let’s say people have different priorities on how they spend their excess money. I like experiences over things. Jerry and I don’t have the newest gadgets (in fact, we still have the “free with rebate” cell phones); we live in a tiny, very affordable apartment; we will never have flashy cars; we mostly eat-in unless we have a giftcard or are celebrating a special occasion. We choose instead to spend money on vacations. We have been saving since we got married to take a trip someday here: (Jerry TAed a summer trip there after we graduated college and absolutely fell in love.)

And I am planning a ski trip for next February–Jerry’s first time ever! Soooo it won’t be anything at all like this guy, but you get the flavor…

And I want to go here, and here, and here…and so many more places. 

But I know that people have different priorities on money…nice shopping sprees, the newest techy device, eating out a lot, jewelry, fancy cars, etc. How do you like to spend your excess money? Even if you don’t have much excess, we all have priorities on where it goes.

{money image}

7 comments

1 bryan { 01.25.11 at 7:38 am }

Good morning Lisa!

I definitely like money. I don’t have any guilt about it. What’s that saying… “i’ve been rich and i’ve been poor. rich is better.” I don’t doubt it. Money is more important than ever and things are very expensive!

BTW, you have a bad link on the bottom of your post… No money image :-(

2 Craig W { 01.25.11 at 8:13 am }

Thanks for correctly pointing out the oft-repeated error in this Biblical quote. I’ll just add that “the love of …” hints at the real problem: the broken desire of the human heart (a.k.a., “sin”). I’ve concluded recently that even “the love of money” is not the true foundation here. The foundation is “power”. We love money because it seems like it will give us power: power to gain shelter from the elements, power to negate inconvenience, power to regain health when we are (mildly) sick, power to win the (shallow) admiration of others, and so on. It’s the power that we think money grants us that is such a siren song. And we all hear it in our own way.

“I like experiences over things.” Hear! Hear! I would much rather have 500 pictures of my trip to the northern California coastline than a cooler car (I drive the 2005 Mercury Grand Marquis whose original owner was my then 76-year-old mother … we refer to it as “Grandma” because that is the target market). If I’m honest with myself I probably like the “power” of cash in the bank even a little more than the 500 pictures. :)

3 Rhonda { 01.25.11 at 8:35 am }

The problem with money is that people are never satisfied that they have enough. We always want more whether it be to stock pile a bank’s ability to loan it out or whether we want to buy the next greatest new gadget. Greed and money often go hand in hand. I agree though, money is not inherently evil..how can it be..it is simply printed paper. It is how we idolize money and those who have it where the problem begins. Having said that, money can also be a blessing. It can be used to feed the poor, bring medical help to the sick, provide a roof over a family’s head or provide a much needed vacation any place in the world. It can be used for fun events or holidays. I personally don’t have much excess money, but I do enjoy eating out with friends, buying things for my grandson and taking little vacations now and then!

4 noche { 01.25.11 at 6:09 pm }

You quoted one of the bible verses I have my Financial Peace class memorize.
Travel is always worth spending ” excess” money on. I used to say I can’t remember what the couch looked like in my house when I was growing up, but I remember every trip (few as they were) our family took. It’s all about the experiences.

5 k&c's mom { 01.25.11 at 8:59 pm }

Hey, let’s get back to the original question you asked: “How do you like to spend your excess money?”
Answer: traveling and musical theater and concerts. The end.

6 Nicole { 01.26.11 at 8:32 pm }

Lisa! You must go to san fran.its fabulous!!!

As for o ur “excess”, and I say “excess”, because like most purple we our slaves to the student loan. Anyways…wr are saving for two things…a house and the trip we are planing to to take to italy this year!! And sometimes ry goes and buys things like new digital cameras, mostly so I stop whining about how mine is broken :)

7 Terri { 01.27.11 at 9:04 am }

Please let me know what mountain Jerry will be skiing down, I am going to save my pennies and be there when he hits the slope!

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