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 Texas : Features : Columns : "The Girl Detective's Theory of Everything"

Why We Will Never Be Rich

by Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal
Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal
I have long thought that there were different breeds of people just as there are different breeds of cats and dogs. The various breeds of humanity do not have anything to do with ethnicity or culture or gender or religion, but rather are something deeper, something cellular and inescapable, neither talent nor flaw. Just the way we are born.

I think there are various categories of people and that within each category there are universal similarities. There are the Subject Geeks, S.G.s for short. It does not seem to matter very much if their particular subject is science, British literature, acid rock bands of the sixties or fluid dynamics. Whatever their subject of choice is, the S.G. types are devoted to it, have very, very firm opinions and while they may be perfectly willing to discourse upon their particular area of expertise, they are not interested in anyone elseís actual opinion on it. No. They know everything there is to know about it. Period. End of discussion.

There is the group I call The Boys. Roughly half of The Boys are actually Girls. These are the folks who seem to have been born knowing exactly the right thing to wear and when to wear it. They are conversant in all the sports statistics pertinent to whatever season it is at the time. They are good with people. They seldom seem to be overly worried about anything. They do not possess the passion for things that the Subject Geeks have, but they are much easier to enjoy a chat with. They are often amusing, generally friendly. Their clothes always look either new or worn out in a perfect and perfectly wonderful way. They know what colors suit them. Their hair never, ever does anything unexpected.

There are the business types. Corks, I call them, because they will always float. No matter what adversity may come their way they are able to rise above it. They are interested in and enjoy their professions and are bound to be successful. If they have a dollar they know how to turn it into two dollars eventually. They always find a good bargain on major purchases, never touch the money in their savings accounts, and started contributing to their 401K right out of high school.

There are the Blues Brothers and Sob Sisters. No matter what, when, where or how, there is always some tragedy in their lives. Generally it is some horrendous, unbelievable shocking calamity. And not made up stuff either. Oh no! This kind of person always has head on collisions, never fender benders. If they take a flight the wings are likely to fall off the plane. If they order chicken they will get salmonella every single time and if they think they have learned their lesson and order fish instead, they will invariably choke on a bone. And there will be nothing at all you can do to change anything for them or help them in any meaningful way. You can only listen in shock and disbelief. Resist the urge to pat them encouragingly because you will absolutely, without fail choose their bad shoulder and cripple them for six months.

I donít know what exactly our family is. We have quite a few Subject Geeks. We have Dreamy Artist Hippies, Militant Conservatives, a couple of Monumental Egos. We actually have a couple of Boys (and suspect that there was some mix up at the hospital). What we do not have is Corks and this is why I maintain that we will never be rich. If something costs a dollar we will bargain until it is $1.50. That is just how we roll. I donít know why. But I can give you a good example of it. Andy, my 13 year old, was explaining to me why it was good to carry change with you. He said that if something cost $10.35 and you had a $20 bill and 35 cents you got ten dollars back. So, really you got it for free. Because it cost ten dollars and you ended up with ten dollars. And if you didnít have the 35 cents you would have ended up with nine dollars and 65 cents. See? See?

Sigh. All you can do is sigh. Because while he is obviously not a Cork, he has enough S.G. to be unconvincable. He gets that from his Dad. Period. End of discussion.


© Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal
"The Girl Detective's Theory of Everything"
June 30, 2007 Column
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