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Tony Grist

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Misers [Dec. 14th, 2005|11:48 am]
Tony Grist
Whatever happened to the misers?

Back in the 18th and 19th centuries people loved their misers. There was a whole literature about them. They were mean, they stank, they hid guineas in dung-heaps, they made pies out of long dead sheep. Mr Boffin in Our Mutual Friend is an avid collector and consumer of miser-porn. Daniel Dancer, John Elwes, Vulture Hopkins- these guys were famous.

There were famous fictional misers too- Scrooge, Silas Marner, Uncle Ebenezer Balfour.

But then along came the 20th century and misers- both real and fictional- dropped out of sight.

So why don't we have them any more?
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Comments:
From: manfalling
2005-12-14 04:19 pm (UTC)

miser mike

I was a total miser in my first year out here in Japan. I used to skip breakfast and lunch, and not eat a thing until about 11pm (we`re talking all day nothing but water here) when i would have a massive meal for about 500 yen ($5) at home.

I went out to eat maybe once a week, and one movie too, with Yuka, and we ALWAYS went Dutch. I hardly ever drank, and I never had desserts or snacked. I NEVER turned the air conditioner in my apartment on. In fact it was broken, and I was quite happy about that, because it meant I would never use it. Instead I lined my windows with cardboard boxes (seriously!) to insulate them in the winter, and huddled under like 5 blankets (from school- I wouldn`t buy them!) whenever I was at home. In the summer, I slept with all windows open.

We took one holiday all year, and it was this fantastically cheap 5 day package deal to Saipan, the poor man`s Guam. It was great still.

I never bought new clothes. Buying a winter jacket for me almost had both me and Yuka in tears cos she thought I needed one and I thought I`d rather just be cold.

I never bought a bicycle and walked whenever I could to skip the few hundred yen a train might cost me.

I never bought a computer or a heater or CD`s or DVD`s or a TV or a DVD player or an i-pod or a plate or a pan or anything at all...

I was a total miser. And. It felt really good ;)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-12-15 02:28 am (UTC)

Re: miser mike

I get spasms of miserliness.

I panic about our finances and decide I'm never, not ever, going to spend any more money.

I think miserliness is triggered by insecurity. That would fit with your situation that first year in Japan.
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From: manfalling
2005-12-15 03:39 am (UTC)

Re: miser mike

I don't know y'know- to me it feels more like getting down to the roots of what I NEED as opposed to what I WANT. Not indulging whims. Getting away from that whole- eating so many chocolates you make yourself sick- thing. Because if you don't do that, and you go without for a while, then like Charlie, you appreciate the chocolate all that much more when you get it.

If I eat 3 meals a day, I never really (not REALLY) get hungry, and I never REALLY get full. I'm eating 3 meals a day not because I WANT to but because people say you should. And you can't get full (to bursting) 3 times a day, without getting enormously fat. So I eat 1 massive meal a day, for which I have to wait the whole day, get enormously full, and it sees me through til afternoon/evening the next day.

Miserliness is more like that for me than like insecurity, I think.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-12-15 04:50 am (UTC)

Re: miser mike

But eating one huge meal a day isn't true miserliness. The true miser (the Dickensian miser) never ever eats a huge meal. He subsists on crusts and water and pies made out of rancid sheep.

And the money he saves gets squirreled away in dungheaps, under floorboards and up chimneys.
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From: manfalling
2005-12-15 05:46 am (UTC)

Re: miser mike

then i shan't claim to be dickensian. perhaps i'm not even a real miser. i never deny myself something i need- like- not having enough food. i just like to delay gratification on stuff like that.

money i save- that goes in the bank. i don't have a dungheap! your scroogian miser seems like he trusts nobody at all. well, you know what they say. miserliness is next to miserableness!
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