The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Saturday, February 21, 2004  

Life on the Edge

Believe it or not I don’t like writing about myself, particularly when doing so reveals too much and especially when the associated revelations reflect poorly upon me. Not only does it “not look good,” no matter how hard I try it seems always to end up looking like a pity party.

But as I’ve said before, I write this blog for myself more than anyone else, though I do so also with an eye toward my regular readers: I think I’ve learned over the past nearly two years what they like to read from me and what they don’t.

And so, even with that in mind, this post is about me and more for me than it is for anyone else. If you care little or nothing about the subject, read no farther.

Things are bad here. Really bad. I have at this moment, to my name, exactly $190 in liquid assets and liabilities almost immeasurable. (Talk about your starving, and uninsured -- since September 2001 -- writers. How I will pay for the next round of Zoloft and Klonopin is beyond me.)

This is embarrassing. This is humiliating. This is a disaster.

I don’t know how this happened. I know I’ve been terrible with money my entire life, though, remarkably, things have improved on this point in recent years. For example, I haven’t used a credit card in four years. Can you say that about yourself? Still, I wonder whether I can truly be trusted to manage my own affairs, financially speaking at least. (And I mean that, “at least.”)

Were it not for the generous efforts and support of a sibling, along with a new-found friend, the outpouring of support from Rittenhouse readers, and the indispensable assistance of the aforementioned Philadelphia attorney Lionel Artom-Ginzburg, at the end of this month I would be homeless.

Homeless. I swear, I am not exaggerating. Well, not too much, anyway.

Sure, I can point to this or that uncontrollable happenstance that helped bring me down yet another rung in life, a slide that dates back -- completely unfairly, even nastily and selfishly, on his part -- to a relationship that ended in January 2000, but ultimately this is my fault. I know that. I did this.

But can you imagine how surprised I am, smart guy that I pretend to be, that here is where I sit? Wondering from one day to the next where I will live in a week’s time? And how I will get there? And what I will do when I arrive?

Maybe this is a warning to all of us. Prepare for the worst. Save more. Spend less. Live cheaply. It’s better to be married (or, legal inanities taken into consideration, “partnered”).

Just don’t go here.

Above all else, don’t think you’re immune. Some of you are closer to me than you would rather believe.

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