Updated insider information by Chellie Campbell, author of “The Wealthy Spirit: Daily Affirmations for Financial Stress Reduction”
“If you can’t be a good example, then you’ll just have to be a terrible warning.”—Catherine Aird
The bag lady I might become is never all that far from my mind. She lurks in hidden corners, waiting to catch me unaware. Just when I think I have the money thing licked, there she is, breathing her hot, stale breath on my neck. Sometimes I think I must play poker just to invite her back for tea when she’s been away a little too long. Poker keeps me humble. I fancy myself a sharp card player and I love to play; the luck runs for me and against me at different times regardless. Maybe on my unlucky days I play more poorly. I am sure that on my unlucky days I am poorer.
With high hopes, I head for the poker club, expecting to make a few dollars and have a few laughs. And I get pounded. Nothing works. I can have the best shot at making a perfect hand, like three aces on my first three cards. Then every card after that is a brick, and against all odds, someone with a pair of deuces calls every bet I make and gets two more deuces on the last two cards. Four twos?! Then I get to experience anger and frustration and see how I am truly not kind to others after all. I am selfish, egotistical, and unlucky. It’s not fair! I am “running bad.” (This is a poker term used to describe an execrable flow of bad cards and bad luck.)
Eventually, I run out of money and temper. I drag myself back home and check in on my home office computer. Aha! A fax…from someone who has decided not to take my workshop after all and has written me a note to cancel. Perfect. The bag lady pats me on the shoulder. “There, there, dear,” she commiserates. But she smiles her secret smile that warns me I mustn’t feel too safe here in my nice office in my nice house. I howl at the moon. (Silently, so as not to wake the neighbors.)
The bag lady whispers to me all night long. In the morning, I write her this testimonial, giving her space and voice and time. She fades like a wraith in the morning sun, her mission accomplished. I have been reminded. There but for the grace of God go I. I pray and I meditate. I practice my affirmations. I revise my budget. Somewhere in the process, I recover my good humor and my love for my fellow man.
But not for the guy who got four deuces. Maybe tomorrow.