January 5th, 2008

Orders For Life

I had a grandfather who made a lot of money. I had a father who made a lot of money.  But me, I don't have that ability at all. Rather the reverse. It's not that I'm careless with money. Or profligate. No, not at all. I just can't get anywhere with it. I don't understand it. I'm even a little scared of it.

Stephen Pegler- I mentioned him a few posts back- had his bedroom set up as an office- just like daddy's. Ooh, how grown-up! So I copied him. What do you need? A desk?  Check. A notepad? Check. A pen? Check. A telephone? We'll have to imagine that. And Bingo,  I'm a businessman. And now what? I sit behind my desk and...and... Gosh, this is boring, lets play soldiers instead.

And that's the story of my life.

I also have this thing where I'm useless with numbers.  I can't do math. I can't remember dates. Ask me how old my children are and- I'm ashamed to say- I have to work it out on my fingers.

And in the bad old days when I was a professional and had money coming in on a regular basis I never could remember how much. I'd be asked to fill in forms stating my yearly or monthly income and I didn't know. So I'd look it up and write it down- then promptly forget again. 

I used to think I could break the spell- like write a bestselling book or something- but I'm getting old and I've seen the pattern so now I just accept it as the way it has to be. 

Like it's my fate?  Well, not exactly, because I don't believe it's inexorable. If I really wanted to over-ride it I probably could. But there's something that holds me in check. A compulsion, an inner voice. There  were times in my life when I might have followed the money trail but at each opportunity I turned aside because it seemed wrong. Not wrong in absolute terms, but wrong for me.

It's like I'd made some sort of antenatal compact. As if someone had spread out my life before me and said, "Here it is. You'll go from A to B and work on these karmic issues you've get hanging around and it'll all be reasonably jolly just so long as you shy away from making money- OK?" And I've looked it over and approved it and signed on the dotted line.

There's a story by Kipling where he talks about Orders for Life- "the sentence which is written on the frontal sutures of every three-year-old child, which is supposed...to foreshadow his or her destiny."  The Orders for Life aren't unbreakable but if you break them there'll be consequences- unpleasant consequences- so you really don't want to try.  He was joking of course- well sort of- but  I think he was onto something.