The Ruricolist is now available in print.

The Miser

[New feature; the idea is something between Theophrastus and Browning, like the “letters” in the periodical essay series without the framing device.]

“I learned something very early on. I saw that you can survive without friends, and you can survive without money, but it has to be one or the other. And I turned out to be much better at making money than I was at making friends.

“I don’t have anything against people who go the other way. Everybody wants to give you a hand – great! Nobody ever gave me a hand. They wanted me to beg and I wouldn’t beg. So I did it on my own, and then – it’s true – I rubbed their noses in it. That’s only natural, if you don’t take it too far.

“I’m not happy; who’s happy? I know money isn’t happiness; I’m not stupid. But I don’t have any regrets because I never had a choice. I wish you people understood that. I wish you people didn’t look at me like I’d gone over to the dark side.

“I know what it is. It’s because you need me and you don’t want to admit it. It’s resentment. Your friends can’t do anything for you unless they have money, and when you follow the money what do you find? You find me. If I tagged my money the way they tag migrating birds, you’d be amazed how far it goes.

“Miser? I’m the most generous guy in the world. In fact I’m the only generous guy in the world, because it’s my money to start with. It doesn’t count when it’s somebody else’s money.”