American Consequences - December 2017

A I’ll ask my wife if she’d like an upgrade on her 2014 Volvo XC90. But I know what she’ll say. “A Porsche Cayenne is too flashy for New England.” (Bless her heart.) I’ll get her a 2018 Volvo XC90 – $50,000. I’ll replace the 2004 Volvo XC70 station wagon that our teenagers bang up by backing into phone poles, colliding with other cars in mall parking lots, and driving into ditches... On second thought, no I won’t. I’ll buy a John Deere backhoe because... because I’ve always wanted one. (You can tell the age of the boy by the size of his toys.) It’ll make weeding the herbaceous borders a snap next spring – $100,000. Okay, so far, I’ve spent $190,000. I suppose my wife will want to go shopping. But, again, I know what she’ll say. “Prada’s too flashy for New England. I’ll stick to Target.” (I won’t add in any shopping for my three teens. How much do ripped jeans cost? You can get them for free if you raid the Planet Aid donation box.) I have a couple of old classic cars to tinker with. Well, they’re not classics, but they are old. I wouldn’t know how to tinker with an $8 million 1958 Ferrari Testa Rossa and its 12 cylinders, 4 overhead cams, and six two-barrel Weber carburetors. I wouldn’t even dare open the hood. I’ll get a pickup for the farm – $40,000. (Jeez! When I first moved to the country, you could get a new pickup for five grand.)

I certainly don’t want a new wife. I love mine. (What’s with “trophy wives”? What would I do with a trophy wife? Set her on the mantle next to my JV bowling team cup for “Most Improved”?) Also, I know for sure my present wife didn’t marry me for my money because I for sure didn’t have any when we got married. (I should, however, check to see whether this is a “community property” state. My wife might not feel the same about getting a new me.) I have plenty of golf clubs, skis, shotguns, and power tools – all of them better in quality than my ability to golf, ski, bird hunt, and... The shelves I built in the garage just came crashing down. I have an ample supply of good scotch due to having turned 70. Nobody knows what to give a 70-year-old man for his birthday except a bottle of good scotch. (Right choice.)

A beach shack to escape New England’s lousy winters, big enough for family, friends, dogs, friends’ dogs, etc.

80 | December 2017

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