For Love or Money

I read my first Dickens novel in third grade. After that I devoured Jane Austen, the Brontë sisters, Agatha Christie, and so began my love affair with British literature, which continues to the present day. A reoccurring theme of many an old-timey British novel is ye old Rich guy falls in love with ye old poor girl. The rest of the story is composed of varied obstacles and circumstances that prevent them from being together. It ends with them either thumbing their noses at society and affluence to live in each others embrace, or a tear jerking return to money or position which leaves them forever regretting each other. I used to think that this was not an issue with our culture today. Apparently I was living in a daydream.

The other night I was watching “Shark Tank” with my hubby. If you’re not familiar with it, this is a reality show where up and coming entrepreneurs stand before a bunch of multimillion dollar business owners (called “Sharks”) and pitch their idea to them, in hopes that one of the “Sharks” will invest in their business. This episode showed a young man pitching his specially made golf clubs. Apparently they’re selling well in Japan but he can’t seem to market them to peeps in the US. I guess golf junkies in the States won’t use a golf club which isn’t endorsed by some big shot in the big leagues. Since the clubs are so precisely made, they cannot afford/don’t have the connections to get them out to the biggies in US golf.

The Sharks backed out one by one. The deal was too risky. When only one or two Sharks remained, the club maker burst into tears.

“I’m engaged to an amazing woman,” he said. “Or I was. Her parents called off our engagement when I left my well paying job to pursue my dream of running this company. I thought for certain, if I could make a deal here in the US, that they would realize I’m not crazy and still let me marry their daughter.” He touched his fist to his mouth, looked off to the side, blinked rapidly, and choked, “I just can’t believe I will have to choose between the woman I love and pursuing my dream.”

Let me tell you there was barely a dry eye among the Sharks. (Except the token cranky guy on every show. You know the one. He insults people just because it gains more viewership and his quips look great on tee shirts.) The remaining Shark invested, and the guy left with a whistle on his lips and a skip in his step.

I’m happy for him. I really am. I am all for making your dreams reality. I am super thankful my husband loves his job. I spent years working jobs that I hated just because they paid the bills. I know how gut wrenchingly dull it is to sit at a desk, poking a keyboard with one listless finger, knowing you’re not making a difference in the world, and tomorrow you’ll have to drag yourself out of bed to do it again. But… (the ever almighty “BUT”)

But I would spend the rest of my life digging ditches, answering phones, going door to door selling vacuums, waiting tables, scrimping, saving, living hand to mouth, or anything else, if it was the only way I could be with my Timothy.

“I don’t get it,” I said. “How could anybody pick anything over their ‘true love’. I mean, am I crazy?”

My husband smiled at me. “No, of course not,” he said. (You could argue that if he had said anything else it would have destroyed peace and harmony in the home, but my husband is a horrific liar. I saw him in a play in college. Oh my heck was he awful! He was like a spectator on stage who got to play dress up with the actors. He even laughed at their jokes. It was precious. He won my heart all over again that night and was generously rewarded with a big kiss.)

I don’t want to be unfair. Perhaps I’m just different from other people. Maybe all it comes down to my real dream being a hand to hold when I’m ninety. I just can’t fathom choosing any job, position, house, car, or inanimate thing over a soul to love.