Rick's Space: Cold air, cold hard cash

For What It’s Worth




Hey Baby, It’s Cold Outside.

How annoying is that?

I don’t mind the cold of winter but the getting there is unnerving.

The other night I had to take the dog out, and that’s when it hit me. I was still in summer mode when I stumbled out, half asleep, only to be met by a blast of frigid air. Coco-Belle pulled back as if to say, “I’m not going to the bathroom in this stuff. See you in May.”

That morning it was still cold when the alarm went off. October 8. The heat hasn’t been on in the house since April. Once it kicks on, the heating bill will get so I’ll be the one eating dog food.

I should point out, at this juncture, the dog gets an electric heater. I kid you not. We put the dog’s pillow (yes, her pillow) on the floor next to it. She heats up to the point that she’s like a fried egg but she never moves.

In the summer, I flip the air conditioner on in early May and leave it on. Some summers, it’s like Antarctica around here but I don’t care. Coco-Belle cares, though. She stubbornly sits in front of the electric heater waiting for a miracle.

I live in the Hamptons but I am not a wealthy man. Put another way, I get paid to do this. But I have people nonetheless. I have a pool guy and a yard guy. I have a chimney guy. I have pest control and garbage pickup. I even have a roof guy. Once, my skylight was leaking and I called him. He showed up . . . I swear, he was a mountain of a man indeed. He went up to the roof and was literally jumping up and down. “There’s nothing wrong with your roof,” he reported. “There is now,” I mumbled.

I have a safety deposit box that costs $99 a year. I’ve had it for 23 years. Inside, there are five baseball cards worth about 80 bucks each.

I had a savings account. My plan was to put $20 out of every paycheck into it. I forgot that once I pay all my peeps, there isn’t $20 left.

The next month I had $92. I didn’t pay much attention until I received a notice that my savings account was closing. It turns out there was a monthly fee of $8, so the money I put in it — you know, you put your money in the bank for safe keeping, the money for your kids’ college education, the money in case you need a life saving operation you know, that money? — had completely vanished inside of one year. Only in America.

I have insurance. As a gambling man, that goes against my grain, because I am betting that I’m going to die. Think about it: I have a million-dollar policy, which means when I die, my heirs will be rich. But I won’t be around to see it, because I’ll be dead.

Here’s my plan. Give me half the money now. I’ll spend it, kill myself, and heirs and roof guy can split the rest. Just don’t put it in a savings account.

Few of us will ever be One Percenters in this country but we may already be among the richest one percent in the world without even knowing it. It only takes an annual income of $32,400 to make the list, according to Global Rich List. It would take workers in poor nations like Zimbabwe 31 years to earn the same amount. Something to think about next time you’re envious of those who have more money than you.

The One earn about 19.7 percent of all income in the U.S. each year. But they pay 37.2 percent of all the nation’s taxes, according to 2016 data from the Internal Revenue Service. Many argue they should pay even more taxes, but few realize they already carry twice the load the rest of us do.

And oh, you New Yorkers, bastions of the liberal elite who would not only feed the masses but put them through college and give them $40,000-a-year jobs at Burger King? You have the highest inequality gap in the United States: the top one percent taking home 44.4 times what the bottom 99 percent earn. So, the next time you want to give health insurance away, do me a favor and pay for it out of your pocket, not mine!

It’s all relative, folks. If you have a hundred bucks in your pocket you have more cash than 99.9 percent of the people on Earth. I actually have two C notes on me (the trouble is I owe the bookie three).

rmurphy@indyeastend.com