Several readers of my past masterpieces have asked my opinion on various topics, most recently the surprise election of Donald Trump. Inevitably they say, “I wish you’d write a new book.” Whenever I hear that, I think of Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard, sitting in her mansion thinking the world is on hold waiting for her “return.” Poor Norma. She left the pictures in 1927. Sunset Boulevard was produced in 1950. While Norma was writing her comeback--I mean return--vehicle, “Salome,” the world had gone through the Great Depression and World War II. Everyone but Norma had moved on.
Nevertheless, I do occasionally feel that I have something to say that my former—and perhaps some new—readers might find interesting and maybe even helpful. I considered a book, but the thought of all that work and expense with the probable result being more unsold inventory in my basement collecting dust was a major deterrent. Then someone suggested a blog. I decided to give it a go, and here I am.
A blog has many advantages over a book. For one thing, it’s free for me to write and for you to read. Perhaps more important I can get instant feedback. If I make an error, you can tell me about it, and I can correct it, which brings me to the back cover of Political Frugality. I apologize for not proofreading that back cover. I will tell you what happened. I’m not making excuses, but I do have a reason for not being as attentive as I should have been.
I sent the manuscript to the printers in March 2005. Very shortly afterward my father became ill. He was 85 and had been in reasonably good health, but one evening his foot just didn’t work. The next day he went to the doctor, who put him in the hospital. Shortly afterwards he had a minor stroke. And then his body just seemed to shut down. He reminded my sister that our mother had died on April 11 two years earlier. He died April 10. Had 2004 not been a leap year our parents would have died the same calendar day.
And that’s the reason I was distracted and didn’t proofread as thoroughly as I should have.
So, to answer some questions readers of Political Frugality may have, yes, Dan and I are still together. Last July (2016) was our twelfth anniversary, which means Dan, who is nearly twelve years younger than I, is now as old as I was when we first got together. Until last April we had separate houses. As you’ll read in more detail in a later chapter, we merged households this year (2016).
No, we’ve not married. This may surprise people who read Political Frugality. Until this year Dan was working and had a decent income, so it just didn’t make sense to get married and pay more taxes. But that may change. At any rate, it’s nice to have the option.
And yes, I’ve kept my weight off. It hasn’t really been difficult, but I continue to eat two meals a day. And of course I’m still cheap, but things change, and I’ve changed my mind about some of the things I’ve written in the past. For example, I bought—gasp!—a new car in 2014. I still love to travel. Last year Grand Circle had a last-minute cruise deal to the Greek Islands off the Turkish coast. I not only got to see the islands and parts of Turkey (again), I got to see first-hand a small part of the mass exodus from Syria. The people I saw were middle class and many spoke English. I suspect leaving their formerly comfortable lives behind was the most difficult thing they’d ever done. I’m scheduled to travel to the ‘Stans next fall. Who knows what experiences await there?
So, no, I’ve not been sitting in my hovel plotting my “return,” but then I’ve not been away as long as Norma was.
Coming next, a couple of neat ways to save money—Magic Jack and Smart TVs.