I’m not mean. I’m green!

Discussion in 'Writing' started by u2scram, Nov 1, 2010.

  1. u2scram
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    u2scram Member

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    Deleted. Copywrite violation--Meister
     
  2. midcan5
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    midcan5 liberal / progressive

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    Huh? Why was this a copyright violation? I searched google's cached links and can find nothing except this single entry?
     
  3. Big Black Dog
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    Big Black Dog Gold Member Supporting Member

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    Damn. I thought you were talking about Kermit the Frog.
     
  4. u2scram
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    u2scram Member

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    "Huh? Why was this a copyright violation? "

    we would probably call it censorship!
     
  5. California Girl
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    California Girl BANNED

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    No, it was a copyright violation. Copying and pasting other people's work and representing it as your own.... copyright violation. Stop stealing other people's work.
     
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  6. u2scram
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    u2scram Member

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    Deleted. Copywrite violation--Meister : No, it was a copyright violation. Copying and pasting other people's work and representing it as your own.... copyright violation. Stop stealing other people's work.

    I WROTE IT ...

    I’m not mean. I’m green!


    Yes, this is the 21st century and I’m not mean. I’m green! When I squeeze every last drop of toothpaste from the tube and leave it looking like an inmate from Abu Ghraib after a longer than usual interrogation, it’s not because I’m mean. Or, if I stick little bits of soap together to make them usable, I do so purely because I am sensitive to the environmental damage being done to the planet by our over-consumption. It’s just my contribution to saving the planet.

    Stinginess has a long and noble, well ignoble history. Some of the most famous names on the planet have had a reputation for being scrooges. And, they cannot claim to be motivated by the same noble ideals that I am. No, they were genuine meanies.

    Take Michelangelo for example. His biographer, one Asconio Condivi wrote that he was indifferent to food and drink, eating "more out of necessity than of pleasure" and that he "often slept in his clothes and boots." We must believe him because Michelangelo virtually dictated the biography to him. According to a later biographer Paolo Giovio, "His nature was so rough and uncouth that his domestic habits were incredibly squalid.” Michelangelo didn’t dictate that one!

    However, you would have to go a long way to compete with our modern day meanies.

    Hetty Green was an incredibly talented woman. Nicknamed "The Witch of Wall Street" she was the first woman to make an impact upon the investment scene. When her father died in 1874, she inherited $7,500,000. Billions in today’s money. However, it was not enough for an ambitious girl like Hetty. Her Aunt Sylvia, obviously a generous soul, willed most of her $2 million fortune to charity. Hetty produced a second will, which claimed that the entire estate was in fact left to, guess who? Yes, Hetty. Moreover, it included a clause invalidating any other wills. The Court ruled that Sylvia's signature in that will was a forgery and Hetty had to make do with the little she already had.

    Hettys’ attempts to save cash included refusing to wash her hands and she only changed clothes, including her under garments, after they had worn out. My guess is that you always knew when Hetty was around. It is said that she spent half a night searching her carriage for a lost stamp worth two cents. Another account asserts that she instructed her laundress to wash only the dirtiest parts of her dresses (the hems) to reduce the cost of soap. Now that girl wasn't a slave to fashion.



    Her frugality extended to her family. When her 'beloved' son Ned broke his leg as a child, Hetty tried to have him admitted to a charity hospital. When she was recognized, she stormed away vowing to treat the injury herself. The lad contracted gangrene and his leg had to be amputated. We should all have a mother like that.



    After the death of his dear old mum, Ned, who had married his long time "housekeeper" Mabel, of whom Hetty wholeheartedly disapproved, spent the rest of his life spending most of his share of Hetty's fortune. One of his more extravagant purchases was a diamond-encrusted chamber pot. I wonder who he thought of whenever he used it?



    Green was 81 when she died in New York City. These meanies seem to last quite well. Attempting to delay the cost of a funeral no doubt. According to her "World's Greatest Miser" entry in the Guinness Book of World Records, she died of apoplexy when she was arguing with a maid about the virtues of skimmed milk.

    Despite the fact the British at one time ruled over 25% of the surface of the earth, they are generally recognised as one of the worlds loonier nations. And with good reason. The British Royal family has spent much of their time knocking each other off to reach their ultimate goal, the Throne of England. It is one of their more endearing characteristics. By the turn of the 18th century, this wholesale murder had taken its toll. They had run out of their own, homegrown royalty, and had to ask Germany if they could spare one of theirs to take over the role of King of England. Fortunately, the Germans, always a fairly frugal race, had one or two to spare so they shipped one over. This led to some embarrassment when, in 1914, Britain went to war with Germany. The by now, British royal family changed their German names to the very English sounding, ‘Windsor’. And the rest as they say is history. However, it’s not just the British royal family that are renowned for their eccentricities. It is a long-standing tradition in England that members of Parliament should be of questionable sanity.

    Which brings me to John Elwes who was an MP for the Royal county of Berkshire for 12 years? A noted eccentric and miser, he is believed to be the inspiration for the character of Ebenezer Scrooge in the famous Charles Dickens story, ‘A Christmas Carol’. That in itself is quite a character reference.

    Elwes, born with the unfortunate family name of ‘Meggot’ started young in his miserly ways. Meanness was a family tradition and he was well trained by his father and mother. He inherited his first fortune in 1718 when he was just four years old and his father had the good sense to die, no doubt to reduce family expenses. Although his mother was left £100,000 in the will, she starved to death because she was too mean to spend it. However, there is always a silver lining and John inherited the family estate in Berkshire.

    Young John then came under the influence of his rich uncle, Sir Harvey Elwes, 2nd Baronet, of Stoke College and MP for Sudbury. It was home from home for young John. Sir Harvey was even meaner than Johns’ parents were. To ingratiate himself with his rich uncle and to hopefully inherit his uncle's estate, John changed his family name, from the rather unpleasant, “Meggot” to Elwes. Sir Harvey died in 1763 bequeathing his entire fortune to his nephew. The net worth of the estate was more than £250,000, a figure that continued to grow despite Elwes's financial incompetence. Well, what goes around as they say. John passed away 25 years later; his body was discovered one day in bed with his tattered shoes on his feet, an old torn hat on his head, and a stick in his hand.



    John Dryden, the English poet and playwright could have had someone like John Elwes in mind when he penned the words,



    “Go miser go, for money sell your soul.
    Trade wares for wares and trudge from pole to pole,
    so others may say when you are dead and gone,
    See what a vast estate he left his son.”



    In fact, John Elwes had two sons, both born out of wedlock. Weddings are so expensive! He refused to have them educated saying that, “putting things into people's heads is the sure way to take money out of their pockets". They inherited ₤500,000. And who wouldn’t rather have that than ten years schooling? John Elwes was the prince of misers. But only a prince.

    Enter, Daniel Dancer, surely ‘The King of Misers’. He inherited his father's estate in 1736, which included an income of over ₤3,000 a year. A huge fortune in the 18th century.

    Daniel came from a long line of misers. You could say that it was a family tradition. His grandfather and father had been noted misers, as were his sister and two brothers. Nevertheless, compared to Daniel, they were amateurs.

    A concerned friend once sent him a hot meal, but it congealed in the cold weather. Why waste money lighting a fire to heat it up thought Daniel. He placed the food between two pewter plates and sat on them until the food defrosted. They didn’t need microwaves in those days!

    He owned a pet dog but was concerned about being sued by neighbours if the dog should bite them or attack their livestock. He eliminated this danger by having the dog's teeth knocked out. You can imagine the scene, “Here Lassie, come here girl. Good dog.”

    When his sister was ill he reasoned that getting medical treatment would not only be a wicked attempt “to counteract the will of Providence”, but cost him money as well. We do not know how she felt about the idea. She died.

    If Daniel were around today, he would be the ideal man to write, ‘Stinginess for Dummies’. The rest of us are amateurs compared to him.

    Science has now started to look into the causes of miserliness. According to an article in New Scientist magazine last year, "Our broad conclusion is that testosterone causes men essentially to be stingy," says Karen Redwine, a neuro-economist who presented the work at the Society for Neuroscience's annual meeting in Chicago”. Well, what else would you expect from a woman? Moreover, how would that explain Hetty?

    Freud may have been on to something. He attributed the development of miserly behaviour to poor toilet training in childhood. Some infants would attempt to retain the contents of their bowels and this would result in the development of an anal-retentive personality that would try to retain their wealth and possessions in later life. Anyone want a laxative?

    Well, whatever the reason, I am just happy to do my bit for the environment. When I assume my most pious expression, (and that is not easy for an old atheist like me I can tell you), and instruct everyone in the office to use both sides of the paper for photocopying, I can now do so with a clear conscience, knowing that I’m not mean. I’m green. Admit it, you lot do the same or something similar.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2011

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