A Slice of Humble Pie (Raw, of course)

For those who know me… well, even for people don’t, it will come as no surprise when I say that I’m not a very humble person. I’m awesome, I’m aware of it, and I have no qualms making others aware of it. I pride myself on being self sufficient, and am generally of the opinion that if left on a deserted island I would not only survive, but flourish and create a civilization greater than the one we know now.

Anyone who was hoping I would some day be put in my place will probably really enjoy this post.

My mother and I had a bit of a tenuous relationship while I was in school. I would assure her that I was doing my homework, studying, and receiving good grades. My report cards would assure her otherwise, and usually she took their word over mine. We got along well, but the massive arguments spawned from school related issues cast a cloud over our relationship. Guess which parent accounts for my stubbornness and penchant for arguing.

When I dropped out of school to become a professional gambler, my mother was not initially very supportive. She was of the mind that success was nearly impossible to come by without a proper education. When I first became successful I definitely threw it in her face a little bit, offering a little closure on our persistent argument.

As time went on she became accepting of what I did, even if it wouldn’t be her first choice for a career for me. Further down the line she stopped pushing me to go back to school.

Fast forward a bit, now. Six years later I run into a small catostrophe and my money gets frozen (no, not taxes. I pay those). Because making an income depends on me having a bankroll, my income shrank to zero. It looked like I may never get any of my money back. My entire life savings, and along with it the ability to easily earn more, vanished overnight.

The shock set in pretty quickly and I cut my notoriously frivolous spending down as low as possible. For a few months I was ok, but had very little breathing room. When a check came in from my book it was going to pay the credit card the next day. In an instant my entire lifestyle had flipped.

Despite making some progress getting my money back, I still haven’t recovered the bulk of it. I hope and expect to, but can’t be certain I’ll ever see it. This month it caught up to me and I had to skip paying my gas bill to make sure that I paid my credit card off in time. The heat was shut off.

While taking a bath in water heated from my electric kettle, I thought about it and realized that I wasn’t the bulletproof financial genius I thought I was. I was paying too much for monthly living expenses, and had failed to keep enough cash on hand to bail myself out.

My mother called later, and I told her what was going. I knew that she would be sympathetic , but I figured I’d endure a speech about why I should have gone through school.

Instead, she offered to float me some money until I get mine back, and let me know that she and my father had faith that I’d come out on top. Not a single jab about dropping out. The next day I met her at Whole Foods, and she gave me a check for several thousand dollars. No terms or lectures, just the understanding that when I could pay it back, I would. She bought me lunch, joined me grocery shopping afterwards and bought all of my food for me, despite my objection.

I was touched by my parents’ generosity and the faith they had in me. I never wanted to have to depend on my parents again – I was proud of my freedom. But obviously I got myself into a situation where I was a little bit over my head, or I wouldn’t have taken their help. It was a humbling experience.

I’ve always been very thankful to have my parents. They somehow managed to raise me without me trying drugs, drinking, or getting into serious trouble. They gave me a set of values that enables me to feel good about what I do, treat other people well, and appreciate all that I have. When I think of how happy I am with my childhood and the way I was parented, I’m awed at what exceptional parents they are. It’s almost intimidating thinking about having kids, because I don’t know that I could do as well as they did. Hmm… this isn’t that humble anymore, but it is meant to be.

So, even though my parents don’t know this blog exists and don’t read it : Thank you Mom and Dad. You guys are the best, and I can’t imagine being where I am without you, even if it wouldn’t be your first choice for a lifestyle.

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4 comments

  1. Your attitude is rock solid. I read your entry about the Amazing Race and it was similar to my experience. I’m posting this here because this is a fresh post and I don’t want to bury this in the archives. If you haven’t gotten a call yet from CBS check out my site to help in our effort to be your competition.
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  2. Money is just another sort of energy. It will come back to you as soon as you truly realise you don’t need it, and also when you believe you deserve it.

    My parents are pretty cool too.

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