Saturday, December 14, 2019

Boring millionaire or brilliant starving artist

If you had to, would you marry a boring millionaire or a brilliant, starving musician?  This topic came up over Thanksgiving with my parents.  We all wrote our answers, along with a reason why, then mixed up the responses and read them aloud.  I—of course—picked the brilliant, starving artist.  It’s not that I hate money, I’m just not good with boredom.

My parents, to my surprise, both picked the boring millionaire.  I waited in anticipation, already knowing that my husband and our daughters would probably pick the brilliant, starving artist.  My 11-year-old son adversely wrote: “I pick the boring millionaire girl, so I be havin’ money.”

I honestly couldn’t believe anyone would pick the millionaire. There’s something romantic about marrying someone for nothing more than their intellect and a love which empowers a belief they’ll do something great someday.  What’s romantic about a million dollars?

On Monday morning I still thought about this, so I asked my staff which option they would pick.  Surprisingly all of the employees who have been divorced said they’d choose the boring millionaire. “I’ve already married for love,” one said. “Now it’s time to marry for money.” The rest of us in the office (who are each married) picked the starving artist.

I had more responses, but apparently, I’m part-journalist, part-blood hound—and if there’s an answer I’ll find it! So, at a recent doctor’s appointment, I posed this question to the random people in the waiting room.  (Well, we were just sitting there anyway.)

“I’d pick the boring millionaire,” one person said to me.  “Because that’s who I think I am. And if my wife would stop watching Hallmark movies we’d be a lot better off.”  He stared off for a moment. “Do these men on Hallmark movies even have jobs?  She made me watch a couple of them with her. One was a prince. Another one apparently cuts down Christmas trees in a tree lot?  I just can’t compete with this Hallmark stuff!”  I tried not to laugh because he’d actually said it quite comically even though he was serious. “In real life did you pick the starving artist?” he suddenly asked me.
“Oh, me? Well, I guess I sort of did.”

“And you’re happy?” the millionaire asked.

“So happy.” I grinned even though I waited for my annual exam—and the only thing I hate more is tuna casserole.

“He must be a great guy,” the millionaire said.

“He’s the kindest person I’ve even known.  And he cooks!”

Another woman, who heard the conversation piped in.  She said she was recently divorced, but didn’t mind talking about it.  Her eyes got a bit starry and she glowed beautifully as she spoke. “I would pick the starving artist again.  Maybe I’ll pick the right one next time.”

“Most people are picking the millionaire.”

“I bet a lot of people who read the paper are older,” a lady said. “I’m in my 70s and I read it!  The truth is that once you hit a certain age you don’t care about love. You just want the money.”

I blinked, trying to think of a way to respond, but then I got called back to my exam.  I waved goodbye to all of my new friends and followed the nurse—who later said she’d pick the starving artist.

Anyway, I love asking people questions like this, as a way to learn something about them. I am surprised so many people picked the millionaire. But like my dad said, maybe with that much money you can teach them how to have fun?  What would you pick?