Living With Oneself: “The Abundance of a Man’s Life Consisteth Not in the Things Which He Possesseth”
By Ken K. Gourdin
I read the following story on line at SLTrib.com on April 3, 2015 (last accessed today) about a man who returned a giant bag of money that had fallen onto the freeway from a Brinks armored car: http://www.sltrib.com/news/2360872-155/utah-man-returns-a-giant-bag. In response to another poster who wrote that someone who finds a sudden windfall still has to live with himself, I replied, “Yeah. No matter how much ‘stuff’ one has (or doesn’t have), life isn’t worth much if he can’t look himself in the eye in the mirror every morning.”
And I posted a link to Edgar A. Guest’s wonderful poem, Myself (last accessed today):
In response to another poster who said he’d be afraid to spend the money for fear it could be traced, I said:
You know, what does most people in when they come into an ill-gotten large sum isn’t the fact that they spend the money: it’s how they spend the money. First, the neighbors start asking themselves how someone who (unbeknownst to them) has come into possession of such funds can afford what he buys, then it’s usually not too long before police get wind of the conspicuous consumption and start asking the same thing. I cannot, of course, say that someone who does nothing more than pay his typical bills with such ill-gotten gain will never be caught, but I do suspect that it would take much longer for that to happen if he didn’t drastically alter his typical spending patterns.
For that matter, the same thing gets so many lottery winners into trouble, even though, in their case, the gain is not ill-gotten and does not come to law enforcement attention. Why do so many lottery winners (including those who win more than once, and who, one might think would thus learn their lesson) go broke and file for bankruptcy? They can’t say “No,” either to themselves, to others, or both.