This week at work I had a financial panic attack. It came at me out of nowhere. I was sitting at my computer pretending to be creative when I started thinking instead about all of the money that I need to shell out in the month of September. September is a damn expensive month.
I don’t know if you know this, but public education is not free. NOT. FREE. And September is the public educator’s favorite month to beg for your money. Now that both of my teenagers are in high school, you’d think that I would have had the forethought to anticipate the oncoming money train and prepare for it. But, nope, I still get blindsided every single year.
Here is just the tip of the iceberg for this month: choir and dress fees for kid #1, choir and dress fees for kid #2, regional music packet and participation fees, art class supply fees, science lab fees, lunch account deposits, group T-shirts, cross country equipment fees, cross country out-of-town weekend trip money, yearbook fees, school pictures, deposit down on orthodontics and sedation medication for stressed-out mother. Just kidding on that last one. For now.
Here’s how it went down at work:
Me: “Hey, it’s getting hot in here. Gawd, it’s hot? SO HOT! Are you HOT?
Person in Cubicle Next to Me: “Uh, no….”
Me: “Oh my Gawd, my thighs are sweating. Whew! (maniacal laughter) What is wrong with the stupid A/C? I might have to take my pants off.
Person in Cubicle Next to Me: “Um, please don’t. Well, it feels fine to me, soooo….”
Me: (voice a little too shrill) “Well, it’s HOT, OK? Geez! My heart is fixing to explode. Why is my bra so sweaty? I need to win the lottery, can I borrow $10,000, which won’t be nearly enough for college, or how about a fan? Can I borrow your fan?”
I managed to calm myself down before making an even bigger Lunatic Scene and getting myself fired, but I can’t make any promises the next time it happens.
Experts tell us that our emotional well-being is closely linked to our financial health. They worry that if economic uncertainty continues for long periods of time, all of that fretting could take a physical toll on our blood pressure, immunity and other health factors. Gee, ya’ think? Well, it’s too late for me. I’ve had high blood pressure for years. Mostly because we’ve been in red-alert Crisis Mode for two decades. That would cause anyone to have sweaty panic attacks on a regular basis.
If experts are “worried” about our health, as a nation, in relation to our embarrassingly empty bank accounts, then exactly WHAT do they propose we should do about it? We can’t possibly work any harder. Both parents in our household are working 40+ workweeks. We are driving crappy used cars, living in a low rent house in a questionable subdivision and trying our best not to overspend. So again, how do you, Mr. Expert, propose we FIX ourselves and avoid Early Onset Death by Financial Meltdown? I’m pretty sure you, Mr. Expert, are not going to send me a large six-figure check. Maybe I should try meditation? Yoga? Fung Shui? Scream therapy? Oh, wait, I already do that last one. It’s not helping.
I’ve already tried seeking solace in the refrigerator. That’s not helping either. I’ve got an extra-large ass and a saggy triple chin to prove it. I can’t afford liquor or cigarettes, either, so that’s out too.
So all I’ve got is prayer, which I do continually. God is getting tired of my irritating whining. The other day, is a distinct voice that sounded like James Earl Jones, I heard him say, “For My Sake, please shut up already.”
So how can I avoid financial panic attacks in the future? Well, a heavily padded bank account would definitely help. But since that ain’t going to happen, how about I become an agoraphobic recluse? That way, I can avoid all other people who are living a way better life than I am. Like the lady at work who goes on magical family vacations every single month, and then comes back to regale everyone with tales of what a fantastic time she had in Vegas, Miami, the Grand Canyon, California and New York. And that’s just this year so far. The only people that go on vacation more often than this woman is the Obamas. Apparently she’s getting paid a hell of a lot more than I am.
If I was a recluse, I could avoid being jealous of the stunning million dollar mansions that are only ten minutes and a world away from my gansta slum neighborhood. If I was a recluse, I wouldn’t need fashionable clothes or nice shoes. In fact, I wouldn’t need any clothing at all. I could just hang out in my dark bedroom watching inspiring episodes of Oprah on the OWN network (“The true power is within ME!!!” “Have Your Best Life NOW!”) wearing nothing but a burlap sack. Just think…I’d save TONS of money for college!!
Jealousy is a very ugly thing and is only going to lead to higher doses of my blood pressure medicine. And I really don’t want that. So here’s what I am going to do: I’m going to put on my less-than fashionable clothes, buy my own desk fan and a nice sweat-proof bra with a built-in ice pack, count my blessings, hug my beautiful daughters and my husband, and go to work every single day. But I’m NOT giving up Scream Therapy. C’mon! I have to have something to live for!