Thursday, January 6, 2011
Sweet Potato Madness and Candle Frugality: How Not To Save Money
Some of you may remember my telling you how HOARDING LITERALLY KILLED MY BEST FRIEND. In many ways he was very cautious with his money. His cousin who was his age and lived in the same community as they grew up and then again when they were older reveled in telling people how poor they were as children. They were, but it was the Depression. Both managed to do very well for themselves in this world. War was the jungles of Vietnam or the sky above the jungles for my best friend. War was the beaches of Hawaii for his cousin.
The Cousin was a tall, well-built, handsome, rugged man with a deep voice and a hearty laugh and a shock of thick, wavy hair and an easy smile. (I met him in 1981) Oh, yes, he was attractive! And, he was a riveting storyteller. His booming, wonderful singing voice actually frightened his future brother-in-law during church when they first met.
The Cousin jokingly bragged that during the Vietnam War, he kept Hawaii's beaches safe. When we laughed, he would ask with all seriousness if anyone ever invaded Hawaii when he was there. It sort of peeved him that my best friend, his cousin, had a dangerous, glamorous job with many medals. He was in intelligence. It seemed he had free time for nearby beaches.
My best friend and his Cousin vied for me and my attention even though neither one actually "wanted" me. What each wanted was for me to listen to him only, to smile at him only when we were all together!They met me at exactly the same moment when I approached them in a store, looking for directions. But, they each claimed the other was an interloper. They were just jealous of the friendship with me, nothing more. Sigh . . . that was tiring . . . their jealously, I mean. We were all just friends.
Okay....on to the story...
When my best friend died, I naturally kept in touch with the cousin. It was difficult because of his increasingly peevish manner and potty (okay, sewer) mouth. Occasionally, he became very talkative AND agreeable. He was on a saving-money kick, mostly in all the wrong ways. He loved to regale me with his frugal exploits.
Sweet potato madness
The Cousin took a sweet potato or many, forgot which, and put it/them in the oven while he baked or just reheated something. Then, he turned the oven off. However, when the baking/reheating was done, the sweet potato was not done. So, he left it in the oven until he used the oven again several days later. He surmised that the sweet potato would eventually cook. "Unless it rots first," was my response. He ignored my remark. His oven events were not long enough to ever heat it through or cook it until done. Since I never heard more about his success on subsequent telephone visits, I think I can safely assume he was not successful; the sweet potato most likely rotted.
Candle frugality...let there be light
On another occasion, he told me how he was using candles instead of electricity for lighting his home. He put candles on the mantle, sideboard, tables, just everywhere. Then, he propped mirrors behind them to reflect and thus multiply the light of the candles. In theory and in fact this is a good idea, except for the part where the house burns down with a man in his mid seventies still inside! Thankfully, that never happened. I can just imagine all three stories in cinders in the basement!
My best friend met with tragedy when he tried to "save." Both were charmingly eccentric.
Have you ever mistakenly tried to be frugal in the wrong way? Or, do you know anyone who has? Can you share the method of saving that was foolish or dangerous? What happened? Make me laugh!