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Booze, women and movies

I have to admit, ol’ Chuck struck a nerve this time. In an effort to sell the Republican tax plan U.S. Sen. Grassley, R-Iowa, told the Des Moines Register eliminating the estate tax would encourage people to save. That statement might’ve held water on its own, but then he tossed in the kicker that sank the boat;

“As opposed to those who are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze, women or movies.”

I’ve only met the Senator a handful of times over years as I’ve covered him at different events, but let’s be clear, he’s talking about me. I’ve never really been what you’d call a “saver,” I’ve always been more of a “spender.” Chuck didn’t know it, but he ticked off all of my boxes. I usually never bother to keep receipts, movie tickets are an exception to that rule; only because you’ve got to show the usher your receipt to get into the theatre.

I like going to the movies. I can’t understand why some people would rather  watch a movie at home, for me, there’s no comparison. This doesn’t include the actual theatre, which I’m mostly indifferent too. I have a calendar at home to keep track of upcoming films, as well as special re-releases that are coming to town. People stay home a lot more than they used to these days.

Where’s the fun in staying home anyways? Home might be where the heart is, but the neighborhood is where the bar is. Even though I’m a cheapskate, I’m a regular at my neighborhood bar, I’ve just learned to stop calculating what it cost me to have the same drink at home. It wouldn’t be the same anyways, I don’t have a pool table, and I’d miss all of the stories.

And women, oh women! If I had even half of the money I’ve spent on women over the years, well, it’d be enough to lay up and take a couple of years off, just like my hero, Travis McGee. Author John D. MacDonald’s “salvage consultant,” McGee is taking his retirement a “piece at time,” keeping the good times rolling on The Busted Flush, his houseboat moored at Bahia Mar in Fort Lauderdale.

McGee laid out the blueprint, all I had to was follow the plans. Build up enough a stake that you could float for awhile. I approached freelancing like deep sea fishing. You want quality, not quantity. As long as enough checks showed up in the mailbox, I’d be free as bird for the rest of the month, and when the money ran out, I’d make a little more.

This probably isn’t a great long term financial strategy. I’m no millionaire, the only estate my heirs will have to fight over is my fleet of disreputable cars. Even so, I’m starting to look a little farther ahead than the end of my nose. Last year, a good friend pointed out I was too old to die young, so I’d better start investing. You know why we invest don’t you? It’s so you don’t have to work for the rest of your life.

I still miss my old life, I miss going south when the seasons turn, there’s something magical about being a snowbird in your early 30s, but I’ve started to tuck a little away here and there. It isn’t a million bucks, but Thad tells me every little bit helps.

I haven’t given up all of my bad habits, so if you’re reading this Senator Grassley, I want you to know; the first round’s on me. I’ll even let you pick the movie.

Contact Dave Dolmage

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