A deal full of clusterfudgilicious goodness just got pushed into this afternoon, leaving me time to speculate about something far more personal:
What do you get left to you by your parents and their generation?
If you're a Koch Brother, you get a lot of money. If you're a child of Sam Walton, you and your sibs singlehandedly own more wealth than the entire bottom 30 percent of this country. But I don't care about that. I've got degrees and licenses and smarts enough to have made it this far, and I have no intention of slowing up.
It's the other leavings I mean more of. The memories of good times had. The photos and other tangibles that tie you to people and places you shared with them. On the whole, I have those- my mother was a consummate provider of sentimental things, and my sister's doing her part now to bring memories back to me- even if one is of a 60-year-old phone that probably still belongs to AT&T.
Every Sunday I sit in church, the connections back to my mom's generation ring loud and clear. No, the distaff side of the family has nothing to feel they've shorted me on.
From my father, though? I mainly count a stapler and a life insurance policy, and both of them teetered on the edge of death this week.
There's other "stuff," to be sure. In this office is a century-old bookshelf that I think came from my paternal grandparents, and a pair of dressers (one highboy, one low) that were my parents' until they bought cheap tacky 70s bedroom furniture and they got moved up here with me (and Donna, and my college roommate, lighting the shoulders of Route 17 on fire as I tried driving a U-Haul over them) in 1986. For a time, my mother-in-law used the highboy in her assisted-living room, and there's still some of her paperwork way in the back of the middle-drawer shelves.
But, at some point after I got it, there was a stapler. Nothing fancy, No-Namo in brand, and as tempermental as any not made by Swingline in the 60s under a Patent of Indestructability that has since expired. We've had others in the house, and I've had more than my share of chances to steal replacements from any of six offices (just as he, no doubt, stole this one from Sperry in the 70s). I can't say it ever made me especially think of him- until last week, when the thing finally broke on me.
It still sort-of works- if you don't mind lifting the lid and manualy adjusting it after each staple, because it's the spring-and-rebound part of the assembly that has given out. I've got another from down the hall to use, with less annoyance, for the time being, and will replace it from office stock or Office Depot in time. I just find it sad that a life that mine was named for, which passed 70 years on this rock before ending over 25 years ago, didn't leave me with much more to remember, admire or appreciate than a broken hunk of metal.
That's not the whole story, either. He did leave me enough money to bury myself with.
Back before insurance was exclusively sold on television and radio by gekkos
and menstrual periods
and Dan Tullis?!?
, insurers had agents, who came to your house, checked on your changing needs, and sold you stuff to provide for them. Ours was a guy named Frank Carroll. Donna probably still has detritis with his name on it in her "little house" with the Mom Stuff. Frank sold my father on the prime "estate builder" policy in 1973, providing a $15,000 death benefit and a chance to purchase another 30 any time up to my 20s without proving insurability. About a month later, I lost a kidney and almost my life. That would have really cost Frank in his race for the Cadillac or the steak knives in that month's sales contest.
Still, there it was, until Dad died, and I took it over. I also doubled down on it and have been paying on that for about 30 years. Both policies have cash value, and in tough times I borrowed against them (as Eleanor did on the similar one her 'rents took out on her in childhood). Usually, the cash value buildup pays the loan interest. This year, though, it was a whopping nineteen dollars short on the older, smaller policy. So when they didn't get it, they canceled the thing, sent me a check for a dollar, and withheld the rest for the roughly $700 of taxes this michigas
would cost us on next April's tax return.
Surely this was an oversight. After all, they'd just sent me
a check for this year's policy dividend. So I called one of those PPP-PPPP numbers- and got stonewalled. Nope, nothing they can do. Too bad, so sad. We don't want you and your one kidney and HBP costing our shareholders money anymore.
I insisted on them escalating, making casual mention of the State Insurance Department, and the call just came: I am reinstated. And from now on, dividends will go to loan interest.
Both of these are small parts of my complex estate plan (which basically consists of me being run over by a bus before I turn 70), but I'll admit- there was a certain need to hang on to this One Thing I had left, because, with the stapler now in the circular file, there certainly isn't a lot else to remember that life by around here. Having it be my own death seems gruesomely appropriate.
This entry was originally posted at http://captainsblog.dreamwidth.org/152988.html
. Please comment here, or there using OpenID.