Tuesday, October 27, 2015


In my previous post I discussed the finer points regarding cheapskates. One thing we cannot resist is the offer of something "free". I had such an offer yesterday presented by Ancestry.com. These folks seemingly have every birth, death, marriage and divorce record in the world. Through this information their users can look up relatives long since dead and create a family tree. To entice me, Ancestry.com waived the cost of their service for a month. Anything beyond that would cost $34.99. So, armed with a free month of this service, I dug into their extensive search capabilities.

My motivation behind this interest (beyond the free offer) was based on a TV series that I watched called "Suddenly Royal". This reality show featured an ordinary man who worked in an auto parts store. Through an internet search he discovered that he was related to the last king of the Isle of Mann. Because he was the last surviving relative, according to English law he was (technically) the king of the Isle of Mann.

One never knows what sorts of interesting characters lie at the roots and lower branches of one's family tree. Perhaps my family has a few interesting twigs that will be stimulating cocktail party fodder.

So it began.

I started tracing my father's side of the family. My grandfather's name was Auguste, "Gus" for short. He was fairly easy to trace. He died when I was 11 years old so I really didn't know much about him. According to 1930 census data, he was a machinist. Not exactly the king of England as I was hoping but it was a start. Other information gleaned about him showed that his first wife (who had given birth to several children) died. Then he married his widow's sister several years hence (who later gave birth to my father). My mind, eager for an interesting story, imagined a family love triangle with dark secrets.

The best I could come up with was this: my father's sister's mother was my father's mother's sister.

Take a few minutes to process that.

Looking beyond Grandpa Gus, I sifted through birth and marriage records - his father was named Georges (that's how they spell George in French...just thought you'd like to know). He was a carpenter who lived in Quebec, Canada. He was married to Marie Bourgein whose parents were Louis Bourgein and Alivetite Belanger. Louis was a laborer of sorts.

I took a quick look at my mother's side of the family. Nothing interesting there either.

Although I had only gone as far as the mid-1800's, my mind was pretty well fried. Plus, looking at hand-scribbled documents written in French didn't seem like much fun. So, two hours into my free month of Ancestry.com, I cancelled my subscription.

Although it was tempting to think that my family tree contained some interesting, scandalous and/or famous people, it's comforting to know that they are just ordinary people.

Kind of like me.

Readers, enjoy your day.

Sunday, October 4, 2015


I've always been rather cheap. My father was that way and he taught me well. At a very early age he showed me that some of the best bargains in the world were at the city dump. Need a shovel? Five dollars at the store, free at the dump.

I used to be ashamed of the fact that I was so cheap. Now I look upon it as a badge of honor. This designation is for one and only reason:

Being cheap makes you a better person. I'll explain why.

In my past, I was employed as a bartender - mixing drinks to help put me through college. It was an interesting and fun time in my life, except on New Year's Eve (but that's another story).

During those years, in addition to being a mixologist, I was a psychologist and counselor to many of my customers, many of whom were females. I learned more about their personal lives and loves than I would have cared to know but I listened, nonetheless. If there was a thread that ran through all of the sordid stories told to me by these women it was that they were emotionally involved with men who were (FILL IN THE BLANKS).

The blanks included gambling, unfaithfulness, drinking, drug use and spending money foolishly. When asked, I would give my opinion as to how I saw the situation. I took a rather pedestrian approach to this, telling them to simply leave the bum and find someone else. In many of the cases they did just that. Within a few months they were back at the bar stool pouring out their hearts to me, the only one left in the bar at 12:45 a.m., fifteen minutes before (mercifully) my shift was over.

After two years of this routine, I decided to be a bit more probing in my approach. I found myself asking these women why they were interested in these men in the first place. Virtully all of these women replied that they were interested in these men because they were "fun".


As one who has dated some women because they had nice thighs or had a cute laugh, I'm hardly in any position to judge the shallowness of others' choices in partners. Thus, I forgot about these women to whom I had provided complimentary counseling to accompany their late-night binges.

Years later it occurred to me that I had finally figured it out. I had provided the wrong answers to these vulnerable women, thus sending them back into miserable, meaningless relationships with other "fun" guys. It's a good thing that you can't sue a bartender for malpractice. If so, I'd still be locked up in San Quentin.

If I could rewind my life back to the days when I was a quasi-psychologist, I would individually tell these abused women to dump their present partner and seek out the cheapest guy she can find. Do whatever it takes to get the guy to marry her (all it would take is a 6-pack of cheap beer and tacos at her house every Tuesday).

For those of you who think I'm kidding, think about these points:

Would a cheapskate...

...have a mistress on the side?
...gamble away his money?
...drink excessively?
...do drugs?
...spend money foolishly?

The answer to all.of these questions is an emphatic "no". Why? Because they're too cheap.

So, ladies, if you're looking for a great husband, don't look for the great dancer, football player, driver of the BMW or the guy who goes to Las Vegas every few weeks. Hang around the places where the good potential husbands hang out - the all-you-can-eat buffets, the junk yards, the used car lots, the Goodwill Stores and the taverns with free chicken wings. Better still, when you go to the grocery store, look for the guy at the checkout stand who has a fistful of coupons and pays with an eBay credit card. Follow him to the parking lot and, if he drives a Plymouth Volare station wagon, you've found your true soul mate.

Enjoy your wedding and remember that the money that you are saving by honeymooning at Carlsbad Caverns will help pay for your next 1970's used car.

Readers, enjoy your day.