Last night at dinner we were talking about our day, you know, the usual family-type conversation where Matt told us some things that happened at work, and the kids shared what they'd been up to. I mentioned that while I was walking over to the gym, I happened to look down and see an envelope lying on a neighbor's lawn--but it wasn't trash, it was an unmailed electric bill. I picked it up, and noticed that the return address was a house across the street, so I returned it to their mailbox, since nobody appeared to be home. This is the conversation that followed.
Ben: "So, what was in that envelope again?"
Me: "It was a LIPA bill--that means the bill for their electricity. I don't know how it got in the grass, but it's important that it gets mailed."
Matt: "You have to pay your bills on time. If you don't, they could shut off your electricity."
Ben: (thinks a minute) "And you have to pay for electricity every month?"
Me: "Every month."
Ben: "What other kinds of bills do you have to pay?"
Me and Matt, alternating: "Lots! Gas, telephone, cable, internet, insurance--life, home and car--, the mortgage, taxes, credit cards, car payment, cell phone............and then there are all the bills you pay at stores, like groceries, pet supplies, gas for the car, stuff we want at Target or Border's or a toy store, clothes for everybody and shoes....and then there's money we pay to do fun stuff like movies, field trips, museums, extracurricular activities....." (Are you getting that this could go on pretty much all night??)
Ben: (with a thoughtful look on his face) "Is this how you avoid being rich?"
......insert roars of laughter, with tears practically streaming down Matt's face.
And yes, that's pretty much how we avoid being rich!