Things I Learned from R. B. (July 5th, 2020)

Jonathots Daily Blog

(4454)

Episode 22

And then we got rich.

My wife’s mother passed away, leaving behind a sizeable inheritance that mingled with Grandma’s money—protected through years of a widow’s frugal living.

The number hung high in the six figures.

Now, before this bonanza, we didn’t feel poor. We were solvent, with plenty left over for charitable adventures. But after all the assets were counted, the sudden influx of finance was dazzling.

I quickly learned that money will not hang around unless it’s treated well. It doesn’t want you to continue to rent a small house in Old Hickory but thinks that you—and it—should have a house of your own, suitable to your status.

I spent too much time sitting around with my family and friends, thinking about items we might want to purchase. But first, we made donations to a whole cavalcade of travelers we knew.

One of them was R. B.

I was inclined to give him a thousand dollars. Since he was jobless, living off unemployment insurance, a thousand dollars was a lot of money. Hell—a thousand dollars is a lot of money.

R. B. was probably my most enthused onlooker. He patted me on the back a lot, smiled whenever he was in my presence and desperately wanted to ask me questions about the extent of my good fortune, but was prohibited by his New England upbringing.

Everything went along pretty well until we moved into our five-bedroom house on top of the hill near the lake. We built a pool, placed a gazebo in the front yard, and made all sorts of nifty little additions that landowners often do when they are convinced their money will last forever.

Then R. B. stopped coming around. His visits hadn’t been frequent to begin with, but now he “planned” to attend dinners and events and called at the last moment to cancel.

I thought I knew what the problem was. Matter of fact, I called my entire family together and told them that I believed R. B. needed a wife. Since he seemed unwilling to pursue such a relationship, I told my family that I was considering buying him one.

A wife, that is.

I had no basis whatsoever for knowing anything about such an endeavor—or whether it was even legal—but I had read a pamphlet about women in Eastern Europe and Russia who wanted to come to the United States, and were willing, on a temporary visa, to meet up with a man to see if they could make an “international connection.”

I went deep into the process, but gradually I began to feel like I was in an episode of “Law and Order”—and I was the one breaking the law and creating disorder.

A bit terrified, I backed out of the idea and instead came up with the possibility of sending R. B. on a cruise. (This was back when cruises were cool and didn’t kill people.)

I was trying to figure out how to approach him on the matter when my daughter-in-law piped up during an evening meal when he was in attendance and spurted out the possibility right in front of him. To my surprise, he lit up, smiling, and started asking questions.

The next day I bought him a seven-day cruise in the Bahamas, complete with air fare and extra money to buy clothes that weren’t made out of wool.

I kept waiting for him to back out.

But he didn’t.

On the day he was supposed to leave, he went to the airport, boarded the plane, landed in Miami, Florida and got on the ship.

He stayed for the entire cruise and when he returned, he was different.

He did not consummate a romance on the excursion, but there were two women on the boat with whom he enjoyed talking, sharing supper, and even listening to music.

He came back with both of their telephone numbers.

He was so transformed from the reticent fellow we put on the plane that I was moved to tears. To this day I will tell you—it was some of the best money I ever spent.

But it didn’t last long.

He tried to call the women a couple of times, but of course, they lived far away, and soon it was impossible to recapture the memories.

Painfully and slowly, he dismantled the happier soul he had temporarily become.

It made me realize three things:

1. Men do a lot of boasting, but deep in their hearts don’t believe themselves.

2. Men need a companion to confirm the boasts that are valid and boost the areas where they’re not.

3. Without this, men just feel like undiscovered liars.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: