Words To Live By Are Not Always Possible

It all started back when I lost at a game of Monopoly while playing against my brothers.

If only I hadn’t bought those bogus properties. But how was I suppose to know you couldn’t collect money from hotels on Boardwalk or Park Place? Particularly when your brothers land on those properties.

And then there was that other stupid little known Monopoly rule. You know the one. It’s the one that allows siblings (WHO ARE YOUR BROTHERS) to erect hotels on trains whenever they buy railroad property.

I mean who knew?

So right then and there I decided to adopt a whole new philosophy about LIFE—I wasn’t ever going to play that game with them either. Not having enough money for railroad hotels scarred me for LIFE… let me tell ya.

From now on I was going to have new words to live by;  “Never do anything… unless it’s for money.”

Okay, so it wasn’t exactly a new philosophy, seeing as the mob, corporations, and politicians had been doing it for years. But I figured, if it worked for them, then why not me, right?

At first, I even made a number of attempts at being an entrepreneur, beginning with a financial effort that backfired on my backside—literally.

One day as my mom leaned in for a kiss, I launched into my first sales pitch ever. I said, “Mom, from now on that’s gonna cost you.”

My quest to become a rich American continued anyway—albeit a bit more gingerly after that.

The next attempt at going into business for myself was not exactly my own idea. Almost an afterthought really. I started collecting empty cans and bottles. Oh… and piggy banks.

Piggy banks, you ask?

Well they didn’t really belong to me, they belonged to my brothers. I would happen upon them after my brothers emptied them to buy sodas for themselves. Naturally, this left me with empty piggy banks, but I did manage to get their empty cans and bottles, too.

Becoming a recycling king left me thirsting for some other financial enterprise to invest in. That’s when I hit on the idea of charging to use the bathroom?

For a small fee, of course.

My family paid me handsomely, too. Why cash flowed in right under the door—as opposed to under the table. Namely because I had removed all the toilet paper in advance of they’re using the bathroom.

This led to a falling out with my brothers. In the end they didn’t sit for it and ultimately beat the crap outta me. Another business venture down the toilet.

That’s when I realized that I needed to start charging for everything.

Want me to eat all my vegetables? Better pay up! Finish my homework? I don’t work cheap. Doing chores around the house? Well I’m not just working for my health here you know! Want the pleasure of my company on a family vacation?

Celebrities aren’t the only one’s who charge for pictures and autographs!

Suddenly I was rolling in cheddar, cabbage, dough, clams—but nothing in the way of cash. You can only eat so much cheddar, cabbage, dough and clams before something’s gotta give, and so I decided I needed a real job. Hardly words to live by—but at least it paid.

And that’s when I was hit with an epiphany, which is better than a barcalounger—which really hurts!

Instead of “Words to live by” I thought; Why not find A WORD to live by.” And that’s when I decided on the word… WRITER. I figured, if it worked for John Steinbeck, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Truman Capote then why not me, right?

Now, back to another game of Monopoly with my brothers.

CHANCE? Go to jail, go directly to jail, don’t pass Go, don’t collect $200!



“Hey guys, do the Monopoly rules allow me to collect money while I’m in jail?”



















84 comments on “Words To Live By Are Not Always Possible

  1. You could get really clever and charge people for taking money off their hands. (“My allowance? No way, Mom! I refuse to receive that money unless you pay me for doing it.”)

    After that, you could charge for accepting the money you got for accepting the money. Then you could charge for accepting the money for accepting the money for accepting the money. I think pretty soon you’d own everything.

    • That’s pure evil genius! I knew it! Bun, admit it, you’re an international banker disguised as a blogger operating in the shadows of Wall Street. And because you’re so adept at handling money, no one has a clue as to your true secret identity, because your manipulations with the world of high finance are all accomplished in a hallowed out volcano underneath the Federal Reserve. So, everyone just assumes you’re an everyday guy working for someone else. When, in actuality, you really have designs on taking over the bank of Martinsville, Indiana. Admittedly, only a small credit union no one has ever heard of, but one from which you could operate with almost anonymity in you nefarious plan to take over the international banking community by 5:00 tomorrow afternoon—Central Standard Time. 😀

      • Blast! My nefarious plans discovered! I’ll have to relocate the secret lair — again! Between you and James Bond, I always have to spend a fortune on blowing up secret islands, hollowing out volcanoes, and building moonbases. Just the interior decorating exceeds the entire GDP of a mid-size European nation. Don’t you realize I already have to successfully rob Fort Knox and steal the entire art collection of the Vatican just to pay the building expenses of my last secret base (the one at the bottom of the Marianas Trench). With so much debt in my evil empire, you’ve left me very little choice but to run for elected office.

      • LOL… I guess you have one hell of an insurance policy. Bet it covers unexpected catastrophic death and destruction, too. Most likely Farmers, I hear they’re noted for such policies, particularly for someone in your line of work—that of underworld figure with designs on world domination. But I’d be willing to bet those big explosions and mass casualties to your color coordinated uniformed guard wrecks havoc on your hiring practices. You must have one busy human resource department. What an incentive program you folks must have, given your large turnover i mean. :O)

      • Actually, we do offer very attractive conditions to employees. In addition to the stylish uniforms, yoga and flower-arranging classes and crèche, we also provide free funerals in full accordance with the tenets of the faith of your choice.

      • Wow, this is cutting edge stuff. Especially for an empire ran by megalomaniacal employers who are occasionally bent with pathological tendencies. I can see where future employees would love to work in this new Google-like environment, though. It’s nice to see a forward thinking underworld company in times like these taking steps to improve their working conditions. And flower-arranging classes, not to mention the addition of a day care center for your employees? It’s not often you see an evil organization dedicated to ideals such as terrorism, revenge, and extortion going the extra mile for its employees. Kudos for trying to get away from the sweat shop like environment. Might we see new recruitment ads anytime soon? And where do I go to sign up? 😀

      • Thank you! We appreciate your kind words about the working conditions we offer our valued employees.

        We may be an evil empire out to destroy all that is good and right in the world, but we’ve always found that by providing a caring, nurturing environment, we get the best from our workforce.

        We’ve been particularly pleased with the success of our crèche / family hostage program.

      • I don’t wish to be a bother or anything—wouldn’t wanna attract the undue attention of a new hit-man/nameless guard in training—but I recently applied for employment with your (ahem) firm. I was just wondering if I was passed over or lost in the shuffle. I mean, I recognize you probably have many new hires and may be backlogged due to recent 007 encounters. Eagerly awaiting your reply. :O)

      • Thank you very much for getting back in touch with us, Paul. (May we call you Paul?) We were very impressed with your application for the position of Junior Deputy Assistant Henchman (Third Class) — particularly the video you enclosed of your gleeful handrubbing while snickering “Bwahahahaha!”

        Unfortunately, it has been rather a quiet year for major criminal organizations such as ours, and so operatives have not been dying off at quite the rate we anticipated.

        Please rest assured that as soon as a bomb, laser or crocodile pit-initiated vacancy arises, your name will be at the top of our list.

      • Dear sinister megalomaniacs: I greatly appreciate your considering me for the position of “Junior Deputy Assistant Henchman (Third Class)” especially since I practiced my gleeful handrubbing and snickering “Bwahahahahahing!” in front of a mirror (which I borrowed from an evil queen with a penchant for poison apples, who shall remain nameless) for well over thirteen hours—and without a potty break. I’m comforted in my failure to secure employment with your major criminal organization—in spite of the dismal low turn-over of late—knowing that eventually things will be back to normal, and your nameless evil minions will soon be dropping like fly’s, thanks to an upswing in the use of death-rays and hidden crocodile—and or piranha—pits. Until then… faithfully yours; future member of the evil umpire… whoops I mean, EMPIRE! Wouldn’t want to be overlooked due to a typo done by now late secretary (yeah secretary that’s it!) who was unceremoniously executed by my pool of swirling goldfish for said typo, simply to demonstrate my iniquitous villainy and worthiness to your organization.

      • We remain very impressed by your qualifications and dedication to villainy. As you mentioned, the recent increase in the use of death rays, crocodile pits and so on is likely to free up a number of vacancies very soon.

        Incidentally, although we have your application on file, it would greatly smooth the hiring/retiring process if you could also send us your coffin measurements and contact details for your next of kin.

      • I’m extremely happy to hear this news. However, I may have a little problem when it comes to coffin measurements and next of kin. A while back my mind and body had a falling out and well (well my mind did anyway), my brain somehow misplaced my body—along with my next of kin. On the plus side, however, I think there’s just a chance I could be invincible! 😀

  2. I notice that I never, ever land on Boardwalk or Park Place when they’re available.

    But when someone own them and each had a hotel? Yeah, then I’m landing on one or the other every time I go around the board.

    When I think about it, it’s an apt metaphor for life. 😐

    • Allen, given my recent indebtedness (due to my brothers and their Monopoly game machinations), do you think that you and I could get together for a nice friendly little game of Monopoly? Please just put out of your mind that I always happen to have Boardwalk and Park Place when I play, and that I usually have hotels on them. Oh, and try to forget that you are not one of my brothers (who cannot pay me when they land on those two properties—because of the Monopoly sibling rule, which I still have my lawyers looking into), and that, should you land on either of those two properties (with hotels) I’ll probably clean you out. Can I pencil you in for, say Thursday? 😀

      • I was afraid you might say that, so I took the liberty of drawing up a contract whereby… oh wait! That was the contract where I made Donald Trump promise not to file bankruptcy and sell off all the yellow properties under chapter 11 and then try to put up a Trump Tower on New York Ave. Never mind Allen, you’re in the clear. 😀

      • Haha… I believe so! When I was about 10 years old I sold my sisters balloons on a string…. in the end I had to give the money back but they could keep their ballons 😒

      • Gee whiz. First they take away Boardwalk and Park Place (With hotels!), and now our balloons! Is nothing sacred anymore? What’s the world coming to? How in the world do they expect us to make a living on easy street without hotels and balloons? 😀

      • Absolutely nothing as far as I know. We’re completely innocent! Except when it comes to balloons and toilet paper, otherwise, we’re completely in the clear.Well almost… I mean there was that incident with my rubber ducky, but how was I to know it hadn’t been oven tested yet?

      • 😂😂😂 That reminds me of that shoe that out of the blue left my foot while trying to kick a button on the carpet and being stopped by the patio glass door…. don’t ask!!!

      • I understand. Now that women have taken to buying shoes with a mind of their own—given that women and their love of shoes has led to overcrowding in many a bedroom closet—it might prove hard to explain a penchant for buying A.I. shoes. High tech shoes—with a mind of their own—have kept many a patio door company in business of late. So, if for any reason you have to give an explanation for the sudden rise in patio glass replacement, I’d just say you’re doing your part for the economy by keeping patio glass men and women more jobs. 😀

      • Hahaha…. right! I explained that to my mother too. But she did not believe that story of the own mind my shoe must have had…. lol! But as you said, I supported the economy and I kept doing it at least one more time…. haha. Always a joy to talk to you, Paul! Have an awesome day. Thank you for creating so many smiles 😃

      • What… you mean your mom is actually a doubting Thomas? Oh my! I’ve only heard tell of such (less than gullible) individuals, but I never dreamed I’d ever get a chance to talk to the daughter of one of them. Whenever I hear stories of parents who have gone on to name their less than gullible daughters… Thomas, I’m then reminded of that famous singer, Johnny Cash, who went on to sing about a boy named… Sue. Oh that Johnny Cash, what tales who could tell. Perhaps some day someone will write a song about your grandparents and how they came to name their daughter… Thomas. Why I’m even humming that tune already and I can’t get it out of my head. 😀

  3. You grew up with brothers….I grew up with sisters and that is even worse. Sisters are pure menace, evil, devious, down right mean…my sisters totally agree on this! But keep on writing Paul, we neeeeeeed it!!! Cheers, Johanna

    • I will, thank you, Johanna. And as for those sisters of yours, I’ve heard about them. I’m almost sure I saw their pictures hanging up at the post office. And what was with those dresses they were wearing… they all had stripes? 😀

    • After my talk with a new e-book agent (John Smith, who I found him on google so I know he’s legit) about my plans to write an original 18 book series about a girl wizard—the last book will be so long it can be turned into a 3 movie final, virtually guaranteeing an almost certain movie deal—I decided I was on the right track. And he’s only asked for a $10,000 advance—plus living expenses for a year! See, I’ve done my research. 😀

  4. In my family, I’m the jerk sibling who makes up rules.
    I don’t play Monopoly anymore though. Too boring. Unless you’re wagering real cash.

    • Ah ha, now there’s an idea! I’ll become the sibling who makes up the rules! Yeah… oh wait… did you say something about wagering with real money? WOW… Jay, that’s an even better idea! How soon can WE patent that idea? Not that I’m trying to steal your thunder or anything like that, but if WE (sorry, there I go using that word WE again, so just forget I said it) could get the ball rolling on marketing that idea, then I’d like to get on board! Ha, get on board, there I go using a train analogy. Must be due to all those train rides I took on the Reading, B&O, etc. But then, my brothers were always taking me for a ride when we played Monopoly. You know I think it trainatized me. But back to this idea about playing with REAL MONEY… how soon do you think WE could get this game off the ground. Oh sorry, there I go using that word WE again. Just forget I mentioned it, you just go on and keep coming up with those ideas about how to make us some real money. Don’t let me influence you in any way… because then WE might not get any of it at all! That’s because money seems to have this aversion to me. So WE wouldn’t want that to get in the way of us both making some quick change from your idea, since I seem to have this little obsession with the stuff. 😀

  5. Paul, you can either hug or kill me later. I am giving you the famous, incredible, muchly-wanted and desired “Sunshine Blogger Award” and now you have to either accept it or not, but we are (all of us that wander around using your footprints as a tracking device) breathlessly awaiting your positive response to such a fabulous award! Som go do it? just this once/ or maybe just for the 76th time cause we can’t find your responses to another award? and cause you are the only one I nominated cause my brain fried again due to that danged short between my keyboard and my seat? I won’t even charge you to use my bathroom for at least a month…starting…28 days ago!

    • I’m so honored that I even want to thank complete and total strangers for this award. As well as my mom, dad, brothers and sisters, Amos—who lives two blocks over and 18 steps back of a home in the little place up over the garage, and that fortune cookie I ate two years ago that said I would soon be nominated for an award. What can I say? Well for one I’ve already said a mouthful in response to the ten questions which I left on your blog post—practically taking up all your available space—where you described scuba-diving in the same Red Sea that Yul Brynner once managed to escape from as Pharoah of Egypt, yet having no problem sending fellow actor Henry Wilcoxon and a ton of extras to their death while in pursuit of actor Charlton Heston (probably for his autograph), whom I stood in line to meet, as opposed to chasing him through the Red Sea (which I must say was much safer) But, That’s Hollywood!—and probably should stop babbling now since they’ve started playing music to warn to suggest I now leave the stage. But I’ll be back! :O)

  6. Dear, IMCA. You are hilarious! In times like these where hate, name-calling, prejudice, and wars are much of what I see on the news, you and your crazy, creative, Tom foolery are a breath of fresh air. I just read all of the comments and responses to your post about playing Monopoly and the amazing growth of your entrepreneurial machinations. I laughed a lot!! Thank you, I needed that!!

    • Thank you for that, Elaine. This silly blog of mine was born out of that exact same frustration. This world of ours is one crazy mixed up place. I felt my blog should be sort of like Disneyland—My wife wants me to call it, Dizzyland. So I might have to negotiate to secure the rights from the estate of Dizzy Gillespie. But I’m not very good with a trumpet, so protect your ears if that comes to pass—you know, a place where people could go to escape and feel safe. The maddening experience that can be day-today life can truly wear us down. That’s why I wanted to provide a funny, raucous, roller-coaster ride of a blog. Instead, we all got stuck in My Cluttered Attic. But I’ll keep working on it. In the meantime I’m thrilled to hear that you’ll settle for my attempts at laughter. Happy Friday, Elaine, I’m glad I can put a smile on your face. See…:O)

  7. This is a very witty and entertaining post haha now I am inspired by monopoly and want to ask my dad to pay me back for being a goody two-shoes back in my college days

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