Monday, June 29, 2009

High Finance, Low Scruples

R man and I are re-financing our mortgage. No big thrill, but at least it gave me something to make conversation about with my father when I spoke to him on Sunday. As soon as I mentioned what we were doing, he offered to loan us $100,000 at a ridiculously loan rate. I think it’s to my great credit that I refused. I do not want to take advantage of my father’s generosity. According to my father, that is not a trait I share with my brothers, which in turn, makes me even less eager to join in at the trough.

Never the less, he pressed me to accept because, as it turns out, he has $100k in an “investment” which has lost money three of the last four years. I know the last year has been rough, but prior to that, one would have had to work aggressively to lose money. And that would appear to be exactly what my father did. Some guy cold called him and talked him into this great money making opportunity. I think there were more details, but I didn’t hear them; I had put the phone down so that I could more effectively bash my head on the kitchen counter in frustration.

Say you are an elderly man sitting around watching old guy movies. The phone rings and a stranger says “mrpeenee’s father, I would like to talk to you about your portfolio. “ Do you reply, “My sons have repeatedly told me not to talk to gypsies”? Nope. You say, “Where do I send the check?”

When you’re a little boy, you think your daddy knows everything, that he’s Superman. Then, as you grow into a smartass punk teenager, you decide he’s a brainless idiot who knows nothing. Later, having matured, you come to see that you’ve been too harsh, that he’s a perfectly sensible adult, just like you. And then, at 54 years old, you realize you were right when you were a sullen 15 year old: he is an idiot who is a menace to himself.

So now, I can either join in with my brothers, be no better than they are, and take the money (although I would pay it back, just like a regular mortgage. That would be good just for the novelty’s sake,) or not take it and wait for yet another scam artist. Oh, what the hell, who am I fooling? Make that check out to mrpeenee and get it in the mail. It would seem I have more in common with my dear brothers than I thought.


  1. Ah, the joys of family! I've never had this particular problem (the old man having burned through all the capital, such as it was, on his own, thank you very much), but we did survive (if with some bitter rancor) my grandfather selling every ounce of silver in the house to a "nice lady who rang the bell". For $500. For something like six sets of twelve of flatware, four teasets, and assorted trays, dishes, etc. (Grandmother Muscato having been a packrat, I mean collector).

    Every time I pick up a goddam stainless teaspoon I rain imprecations on that evil grifter.

  2. I always suspected you were monied...

  3. If my father has his way, we certainly will not be.

  4. Honey, I say when people offer you money out of the blue, say "thank you, yes" very politely. Especially, as you point out in this case, you'll pay it back and it'll keep him out of more potential trouble; you're actually doing B a favor. Unlike your brothers.

  5. Mr. Peenee, you story makes my blood sport icicles! Fortunately, or unfortunately, while my father was always in complete ownership and control of his facilities, as he earned with two hands, my mother(a completely different story), squandered with two hands, two feet and an ear or two. Unfortunately she outlived him and the family fortune by several years.


In Which We Take a Trip

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