Sippican Cottage

Close this search box.


A Man Who Has Nothing In Particular To Recommend Him Discusses All Sorts of Subjects at Random as Though He Knew Everything

Thank You Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin

Look, there’s no good way for me to say this, so I’ll just say it. I’m poor.

Not “Internet” poor. Every blogger has a tipjar. They make six figures and have a sinecure and still beg for money. It’s unseemly. I’m poorer than people on welfare.

My wife and I often say that we are the only people in the United States that have only one problem: We have no money. Everyone else thinks that if they had more money they’d be happy. They’re wrong. There is only one problem money solves, and that is a lack of money. If you have lots of problems and then get lots of money, you just end up with a bigger budget to fund your problems.

I read a comment at another site that had linked to one of my essays, and someone remarked that I was a great writer and should “bite the bullet” and write full time. They meant it as a compliment, and that’s the way I took it. But I can’t help but notice that it would never occur to people that I have a mouth full of bullets already. I poop bullets. People just can’t imagine that you could work hard and be intelligent at the same time and still have no money. It’s very strange sometimes for my wife and I to be told that we do not — we could not — exist.

Everyone is poor where we live. You could walk up to any address in town with a suitcase with $75 grand or so  and tell the occupants to scram and they’d leave the dinner on the table. We are only conspicuous here because we do not live in squalor. We’re married to each other,  my wife takes care of our kids, and I work. That makes us a freakshow. We do not take methadone and have four children with three last names and we don’t call 911 every other day to sort out our arguments and we don’t crash into trees and die while texting on bath salts. That puts us in Bigfoot and Nessie territory.

It hurts me to admit all this because there’s a fetish for the obverse of Thorstein Veblen’s conspicuous consumption abroad in the land. Everyone’s all Four Yorkshiremen now. We have it rough. I do not wish to be conspicuously poor. I am trying to make our current state of affairs nothing more than an amusing anecdote for my memoirs. But I have to provide context, or no one’s going to understand what I’m about to say.

My wife and I walk together most every day. Just a turn around the neighborhood, maybe a mile or so. We talk about things then. Well, we were counting our last pesos aloud during one of our walks last week. Things seemed peculiarly pecuniarily pungent. We were at a loss as to what to do, as we sometimes are. When we returned from our walk, there was an extra fifty bucks in my Amazon account. Fifty bucks is like five thousand bucks to us.

I have an Amazon box on the sidebar, and feature Amazon links on the page here and there. If you enter Amazon through any of those links, and then you buy anything, I get a small referral fee. It doesn’t cost the buyer anything. There is no way for me to know who is buying things through my Amazon box. In a way, it’s more pleasant that I don’t know, so that I can imagine it might be anyone and everyone that visits here. It’s always welcome when it turns up, but right there, it was like a sign. It was a sign that the universe wasn’t malignant. It was a sign that someone was trying to help us.

I have to admit I’m poor, so that everyone that buys a copy of my book, or a piece of furniture, or buys something on Amazon through my links understands how very profoundly grateful I am for every last penny of it.

14 Responses

  1. Well, you've chosen a way of life where money is of lower value than your work and kids and married life. I don't mean that in a mean way – when I was working my way through school I was prioritizing school over work and had some extended episodes of McDonalds ketchup soup and leftover subsidized cafeteria food from lunch. Sometimes not from my tray.

    That's not what I remember when I look back, though. And I suspect you won't when you look back either.


  2. Bought 5 of your books from Amazon (4 for friends) and expect to buy more from time to time. Your benefit was small, trivial, in fact. Mine dwarfs it. So, too, does my gratitude.


  3. Thanks for your insightful, poignant and hilarious observations. They/you make my days and life a bit better.

  4. You are not poor. You don't have very much money, but lack of money does not make you poor.
    Poor is when you have no ambition, resources, skills, willingness, intestinal fortitude, ambition.
    My wife and I have the same walking talks. We have the same heir and a spare, and we take the same care for the heir and a spare. We just spent a lot of money we don't have to make sure my father lives under the same care.
    Because you know what? Someday everyone will find out who's rich and who's not, and we will find that we lived in castles all along.

  5. The only constant is change. Stay frugal, my friend. Some day expenses and income will be in a more favorable relationship and then you can enjoy the fruits of your labor. Or start an oxy business. JK!

  6. Sipp, I believe we need to inject a little marketing into your wonderful blog. You shouldn't be starving yourself to death while providing your fans with such fine entertainment.

    Sure, you have a link to Amazon– but unless I already know what I want there, I'm gonna forget to go through your portal. Can't you do what Dr. Glenn does, and mention something cool that's on sale there?

    And where's your tip jar? If we could send you the occasional twenty bucks by clicking a PayPal link, dontcha think we'd do it?

    And links to furniture– you have your page of specials, but it's not renewed often enough– the same page of already-sold stuff has been up there for months. Hey! Look at this future heirloom I just made! Wanna buy it?

    If you build it, we will come–


  7. Hi Al – Thanks for the advice. It's fairly rare for the Intertunnel.

    Not advice, mind you. Advice is fairly common. Good advice is rare on the Intertunnel.

  8. Hey, you are not alone! I'm poor too!
    I bought "The Devil's in the Cows", and thoroughly enjoyed it! I wish you well! My income has been negative for the last 4 years. I have about a year left till I'm actually broke. We are very frugal but if the economy doesn't pick up next year we'll be looking at another foreclosure. I wish you the best. I like your furniture, but I can only afford the book! The kids are great! Love the music! God Bless you all!

  9. Hi anonymous. Thanks. I'm glad you liked the book.

    I hope things are better for you soon.

  10. I think you are one the smartest writers on the net,and that is saying a lot. I also think you could use a little bit of marketing mojo. Freedomainradio is a very good example, and I think you have a lot in common. I am ordering your book, but I also think you need a tip jar.I don't think you are poor either, but then I have always been out of step. I am putting your book on our table so two pieces of art can keep each other company. best Mike

  11. Your Amazon box doesn't seem to work on my Macbook using chrome. Pleas leave a link. When i shop there I will use it.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Thanks for commenting! Everyone's first comment is held for moderation.