Monday, August 10, 2015

The Dentist Prince and Other Tales of Wishful Thinking OR Choose your major carefully, kids

The other night I was paying the bills when I realized we are poor. Not super poor like people who are born poor and have all the odds stacked against them and will most likely always be poor, but more like moderately poor with an option to be comfortable someday in the future. I went in to tell my wife that we are poor, but she already knew.

Social workers don’t make a whole ton of money and in college I majored in social work. It’s only recently that I realized my major was a disadvantage to me in the college dating game but a huge advantage in life as it weeded out all the horrible people who cared primarily about how much money a person is going to make.

It was devastating at the time, though. There were a few times in college where a girl broke up with me and said something like, “We should see other majors- I mean people.” And then she’d go off and attach herself to some pre-med dude. Brutal.

Then along came my wife: a beautiful, intelligent, kind, and  funny person, a beacon of sparkly hope in the dark superficial storm that is dating. She made her own money and didn’t care that I was destined for a life of poverty. I didn’t want her to get away so I asked her to marry me and against all reason she said “Yes.”

It seems like I should turn into some sort of dentist prince at this point in the story, and a benevolent fairy godmother tells my wife, “You passed the test! Because your heart is pure and you married for love and not money, you now have tons of money because your new husband owns three dental practices in a town where high fructose corn syrup is plentiful and floss is scarce. Stop working so hard and go spend up all that cavity money.”

But, no, still a social worker and still not making a ton of money. Money isn’t everything but it sure would be nice to say, “Do you feel like getting a hamburger? Let’s go get a hamburger,” and then just go get a hamburger. No checking the account to see if we have enough money or scraping up change from the couch cushions. Just getting a hamburger, man. It would also be nice to not live with the constant low-level anxiety that comes with struggling financially, like when the car makes a weird noise or needs brakes, it’s a crisis.

We’re working real hard and eventually we’ll be more comfortable. And we’re happy, at least most of the time.


  1. Yea I lucked out picking accounting. Who knew the ENRON scandal/shyster deal would come a long and elevate the accounting profession from bean counters to a real job.

    You also made another critical error children. They will bankrupt you no matter if you dress them in rags and send them to public schools and eat porridge 3 times a day. You're doomed to a life one notch down and that's if you both work and if you happen to be one of 1 in 100 who believes that your children should be raised by a stay at home mom then it's worse. Alternately, daycare and some stranger who earns minimum wage and cares for you kid like you favorite fast food joint cares about your dinner. Yes, I know that's not always the case but hard to argue mom doesn't take better care of her own flesh and blood.

    One income families Bye Bye nice cars and then it's a rusty 300,000 mile 1999 Chevy Van for you while your neighbors each have matching FJ Cruisers and a some swanking BMW/Lexis type vehicle to fill out there 3 + car garage. I paid for a couple of nice BMW's for my kid's orthodontist. Yes, I could have done better but I did eventually pay off those student loans and see my paycheck almost pay the bills. Yep I still got the paid off 1999 Suburban and all, but I do have one new car a 2005 Corolla with only 146,000 miles also paid off.

  2. You could split the hamburger...

  3. I hear ya. We're comfortable enough to go get a hamburger, but not comfortable enough to have a second child because daycare rivals our mortgage. Welcome to the downside of being middle class. On the upside your profession helps people so you can at least feel like you make a difference. I work in payroll, and as happy as that makes some people, the only phones that ring are problem children.


Commenting is good for your health! Or so I have read.