Visible Origami – February 22, 2011
Dog Poet Transmitting…….
‘May your noses always be cold and wet’.
Money is a funny thing; not funny hah hah but certainly ironically funny, painfully funny, tragically funny, unintentionally funny, that’s not funny, funny …and unfortunately funny. It’s as funny as the money is, as in ‘funny money’.
I didn’t grow up with money but I never got the sense that we were poor, although we certainly were, with six kids on a military salary. There was always plenty of food and there were sports and books, which didn’t cost anything, if you lived on a military base and near a library. For a kid who was into sports, living on a military base is a dream come true. Sports and books were my escape from a life of relentless pain and fear; both contained some amount of them too but it was differently abled or vicariously experienced.
When I got away from home, my first social circle of any note were the children of the diplomatic, political and legal culture of Washington D.C. That’s the first time I saw what it was like to be surrounded by money. I’d find myself being taken on a tour of Virginia Graham’s house, when she wasn’t home; sixty or seventy rooms of furniture with plastic on them like nobody lived there and nobody did. The Gore’s of Senator the Elder’s fame were next door to my best friend. The junkie son and nymphomaniac daughter of the Kraft food fortune and assorted wastrels were all around, being jaded and junked like it was an avocation. The heir to an MGM fortune got his hands tied behind his back with a coat hanger and shot in the head for thinking that certain privileges extended into social circles where, in fact, they did not.
Later I was in the Catskills; the Jewish Rockies and I saw yet more money. I became a friend, if you can call it that, of one Steven Landsman, who came into about 50 million dollars and who used me to his advantage in all sorts of ways. Friends of mine would give me grief about hanging out with him but I felt like he was part of my job to wake people up to things besides money and all the heartbreak and disappointment that came along with it. Well, my friends were right but the juries still out on whether I made a difference. I was able to get close to him in certain ways because I didn’t want anything from him but even that failed in the end.
I didn’t see people as they really were most of the time. I saw them as I wanted to believe them to be and in all those more private moments, when their humanity had a chance to sneak out of its confinements for a little fun. Looking back now, I realize I was about as clueless as they come. Money never had that big an attraction for me, so I never saw it in the full bloom of its depravity. It was just something you used along the way to wherever you were going. I never had the illusion that it would be instrumental in taking me there. That might have worked for others because a lot of people were going places because money was there already.
My relationship with money transferred into the way I looked at cocaine. It was something to use and be generous with, precisely because the cost of it was so great. A lot of people locked themselves inside their hearts and houses with it because of what the expense of sharing it did to your right to the alternative to do it all yourself, unless you were looking to get someone to do the horizontal hula with you, when cocaine was coin of the realm for that kind of transaction.
Along the way of my life, I ran into any number of misunderstandings about the difference between ‘your money’ and ‘my money’. I saw ample examples of people who had it proven to them that they were not as generous as advertised, in the same way that they weren’t as spiritually driven as they thought they were, because money and the spiritual quest both come up against generic tests and are often related in the process.
Truth be told, I’ve had some severe disappointments with people, mostly because they didn’t walk the talk or found it much easier to dress for the occasion than to deliver upon the demands of it. It’s like that old saying, “it’s the thought that counts’. We all know people who have shamefully abused that little platitude, “Oh yeah, I was going to get that for you”, “I wanted to get this or that (fill in the blanks) but this or that happened and through no fault of my own, I was unable to carry out my good intentions but you should file my comments on the matter and hang on to them, as if they were evidence that I actually had done any of it.
Having been clueless coming out, I have turned into a careful observer of people in order to protect them from themselves in my company and to protect me from accidentally calling them on any number of invitations that felt good to say but caused a muscle strain to perform. I honestly don’t judge people for things like this because I know the nature of the magnetic power they are up against. It’s been running this number since people first began to barter one thing for another. If you can whip that particular shortcoming that has to do with money, you get a taste of freedom that most people don’t know anything about.
I have watched, up close and personal, what happens to people when a whole lot of money suddenly jumps into their lap and starts running its hand up their leg. I recall the promises and ambitions that got tossed around before money picked up the strap on and started to buckle it to its waist. People who used to have a certain amount of money most of the time, all of a sudden, had no money at all. The tales I would hear about why and how hard it was to get to the money would cause me to crack up. I assure you that it was rare for the other person to join me in the merriment. The ones who did are still friends of mine to this day.
I’ll tell you something else I’ve noticed; life has a magical ability to create situations where one realizes the actual power of friendship and faith in another. Life can take a person with too much money and actually put their life in the hands of someone with none. I’ve also seen these people forget what happened in a remarkably short period of time. One of my favorite things (not) is when you get to watch a person squirm and wriggle like a fish on a hook, as they are forced to calculate the value of a person’s acquaintance and whatever may have passed between you until that point. I’ve gotten good at heading them off at the pass and often they never know that I spared them from having to learn something they didn’t want to know about themselves.
Why am I writing about this? Well, there are a lot of things I can’t do for myself which involve making it easy for money to jump through the necessary hoops. I haven’t done a lot of things precisely because of these stumbling blocks and have always been reluctant about asking people to help me; even though whatever the project is, has a built in repayment understanding. I just know how people are, ‘most’ of the time.
I knew the time would arrive when my work was going to find a wider audience in formats seldom used previously. I knew it would begin to materialize and then other people would somehow be involved but I didn’t know the details. It’s like when I started announcing on stage at my gigs that I was going to Europe, probably Germany, to perform my music …and then life set it up and a few months later I was there and in a position to maintain as well.
This same thing happened again, starting about a month ago or so. People (that I already knew in most cases… but only virtually) started offering to do the things I could not do and turned out to be damn good at it too. About seven books are being readied for publication and a whole commercial website is being put together to facilitate the sales of books, music, audio books, old TV shows; all kind of things. These people are professional, devoted, hard working and believe in what’s happening and it is happening… just like that, just like that. The new blog looks are part of it and now a fellow who designs games and does 3D modeling has shown up to put his oar in. It’s simply amazing.
A long time ago I told myself that when money came and, of course, money does come at some point, once life has refined you to the point that you can handle it, or is about to give you a lesson in respect of it (grin), I said, well, I get 30% and my friends get 30% and 30% goes for projects and the other ten percent should be anonymous giving. That seemed fair to me. The idea now is to make enough money to fund The New Shangri La in a house on The Bodensee; maybe something like this. I suspect that someone will come along and just donate the money, the same way I wound up in Europe but you have to work toward an intention and not be concerned about the manner in which it will materialize. You just have to know that it’s going to happen and I do.
The reason I know its going to happen is because of one of those laws of the universe that can be proven. I have already done so more than once and so have many other people. That law says, “If you don’t want something for yourself- or even if you do- and it doesn’t harm another or take from another, then you may have it if you possess the requisite faith, trust and some amount of creative visualizing capacity.
I’m shocked and astonished at the support. Back when I was starting all of this online effort I expected more resistance and argument than I got. That still surprises me on a constant basis. I suppose it works if you somehow manage to get in ‘the Tao of your now’.
The secret of managing money successfully, so that it doesn’t cost more than it’s worth or destroy you from self interest, is to always be willing to take the left hand side of the bargain. People who understand the essential nature of generosity also understand something of The Law of Return and that applies not only in real time every day life but from life to life. I like to think of myself as an investment banker who works for a secret stock exchange. I suppose it’s an irrefutable truth, if you don’t push the river, it will get there all the same.