Ask Mindy: Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Readers, welcome back to the world of Mindy Morals, the ethics wrangler from Pigeon Forge, Tennessee with the cure for any spiritual ailment. Ever heard of a horse whisperer? Well Mindy’s like that, but for psyches. This week, Mindy takes on money troubles.

Dear Mindy,

Argh! I’m a buccaneer, Mindy, a sailor of the seven seas. From Tortuga to Tunis, from Formosa to Fort-de-France, news of my exploits has traveled far and wide. Enter any tavern where ne’er-do-wells assemble and hear my tale. Three royal crowns have called for my head. I’ve laid waist to more Sea Dogs than scurvy. Nobleman cower in fear at my very name—fearful not for their wealth, but for their wives.

But lately, Mindy, I’ve been dealing with a difficult moral decision, and I’m not sure what to do. Not too long ago, one of my mates—let’s call him Edward Morganson—buried a chest of doubloons on a deserted island. I can’t tell you where, except that it’s definitely NOT at the geographic coordinate 18.3623030°, -064.8068420°. Don’t bother checking! The doubloons were his alone, a fact that he repeatedly mentioned to me. But I thought I’d help, and he was grateful for the assistance.

Well, several years have since passed, and Edward is ready to dig up his booty. Naturally, I again offered my assistance. But Edward demurred. “It wasn’t yer treasure t’ begin with,” he told me, cleaning his teeth with his chew stick, “ and it ‘twouldn’t be right fer ya to dig it up, neith’r.”

Well, I was extremely hurt by this. First, of course, by his coldness toward a long-time friend, one who had helped him out of many a dire strait. (That’s not a figure of speech, Mindy. I once had to steer us through an extremely narrow passage—a literal dire strait.) But also by his selfish greed. Helping Edward bury his swag was no small feat—I’d helped find its hiding spot, and I’d kept the loot’s very existence secret for many years. Is it really fair to shut me out of the spoils entirely? I don’t expect half, like some less scrupulous fellow might, but surely my contributions warrant at least a few pieces of silver!

I don’t want to make my friend walk the plank, but what other option do I have?



What do you do with a Stingy Sailor?


Hello, Sailor!

This is one situation that I can relate to personally. In college, Mr. Morals once lent a friend five dollars to buy a scratch card. Well, the scratch card ended up being worth a whopping $87, but Mr. Morals’ friend refused to reimburse him. Mr. Morals had no choice but to accept that, even though it destroyed their friendship.

Obviously, it would be nice of Edward to share just a little bit of his plunder with you. If he wrote me, I would tell him as much. But remember, Sailor, he did repeatedly tell you from the outset that the treasure you were burying was to be his alone, and you accepted those terms. You can’t be mad at him for keeping to his word.

What you can be mad at is his coldness. It’s one thing to refuse your help, but another to not even thank you for offering. I certainly wouldn’t like it if one of my friends talked to me as coldly as Edward did to you. You might try telling him this, and letting him know that you are happy to help him, but that if he continues to refuse your generosity so rudely, he might not receive any more of it. If he’s a good friend, he’ll understand that your intentions were pure.

That is, unless you were planning to maroon him and sail away with his spoils. But I certainly hope that wasn’t your plan—that would go against the pirate code!


Dear Mindy,

My husband, Gary, is obsessed with medical studies. It feels like every day that he comes to me with some new ad circled. “Look at this, dearest,” he’ll say to me, “$35 to test a male pattern baldness inducer. Not sure what the market for that would be, but hey, money is money!”

At first, I indulged him, but this hobby has started to grate. He’s been forced to deal with side effects including drowsiness, insomnia, hair loss, hair growth, weight gain, weight loss, gynecomastia, porphyria, beriberi, dengue fever, African sleeping sickness, Spanish flu, Spanish flea, Spanglish Flu (an ideopathic condition characterized by obsessively viewing the 2004 James L. Brook film Spanglish), Ebola, Effbola, Rickets, Rickles (characterized by uncontrollable insults aimed at Frank Sinatra), Chechen hand, Prussian fist, Batavian lung, attic mouth, lunchpail heart, leprosy, leprechaunism, albinism, pregnancy, pregnant pausism (the feeling when you start a sentence and get interrupted, and at a certain point it’s too late to finish the thought, leaving you feeling unfulfilled and out of sorts for a solid twenty minutes, extended indefinitely), walnut knuckles, chicken thighs, beef wellington, throat cancer, lung cancer, butt cancer and Gonorrhea, which our doctor said wasn’t actually a side effect of any drug. And for all his trouble, Gary hasn’t even made us $100!

I don’t know how to ask him to stop, Mindy. He seems to love these medical studies, and whenever I voice my displeasure, he tells me that he’s doing it for the good of the family. But I can’t deal with the stress that he’s putting his body through any longer!



Tested by tests


Dear Tested,

Yikes! When little Mindy Jr. was in fifth grade, she had to swab her cheek for a science project. I let her do it, but even that was frightening for me.

So I can imagine how hard your husband’s medical experiments must be for you. But I think that you need to change your husband’s perspective on his experiments. Sometimes, we try to find selfless excuses to do things that we want to do. I won’t delve into why your husband likes his medical studies, but it seems clear that they aren’t doing anything for your family. Instead, they seem closer to an addiction. As much as he knows that his tests harm him, he can’t stop doing them.

As I tell all of my patients dealing with family substance abuse, the best first step is to stage an intervention. Let your husband know that you and your children love and support him, and that you’re worried about the toll that these medical tests are taking on him. Hopefully, he’ll agree to discontinue them, and to see a specialist who can offer more specific assistance.


Dear Mindy,

My dad recently lost his job. Well, that’s not true—he lost it in October, but he didn’t feel comfortable telling all of us until now. He said he has a severance package, but that he doesn’t know how long it’s going to last. My mom is really mad at him. I don’t think she’s talked to him for a while, except when I hear them fight through the walls. Sometimes, I pretend that they’re just rehearsing a really angry play about mortgage payments, but I know what’s really going on.

I want my parents to be happy again, and to have a real family again. But my dad isn’t going to get a new job anytime soon. How do I make money for my family? I’m only eleven, so I don’t know a lot about getting a job. But I want to help however I can. What do I do?



How do I help my parents?


Dear Parents,

Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of jobs that hire eleven year-olds, and those that do don’t pay enough to support a family. But don’t feel bad about that. It shouldn’t be your job to support your family.

But I do understand your desire to help your parents out. Instead of trying to get a job, try thinking of different, non-financial ways you can help your family. Why not help your mother cook dinner? Or making a point of telling both your parents that you love and support them? You could even try telling them that you don’t want anything for Christmas this year, if you’re feeling particularly bold.

A lot of families go through money troubles at some point. But if they can remember how much they care for each other, they usually make it through. 


That’s it for this week, but Mindy is always taking questions. Need help solving your dilemma? Just email mindy@manhattanmedia.com. You just might read your answer in next week’s column.


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