A measure of wealth

I came across an older item from April in 2012 when Campbell, Camp to his friends and foes alike, and I first started meeting regularly on Thursday evenings for a pint or two at ‘Grandma’s Pub’, down by the harbour. According to my notes this was a dreary, drizzly day and the snow capped mountains as well as the green islands were hidden behind a grey, wet wall of clouds that draped the whole world right to the water’s edge  below the pub. I shook off my soaked fleece and pasted my hair back on my scalp before I took my usual seat, in the corner under the TV, right next to the floor-to-ceiling glass enclosure, usually a scenic and coveted spot. Camp was already seated and into his first brew and looked at me as if I was something the cat had dragged in.

“Wet out there?” he said.

“Very observant,” was my curt retort, not in the best of spirits. “Sorry Camp, I meant to say: “We’re having another day of liquid sunshine here on the Sunshine Coast, or something like this.”

“Number one rule my friend: Never loose your sense of humour, especially not in the rain.”

“You’re right, but this weather is getting to me.”

“You’re not alone.” Words of wisdom.

“I tell you what’s bothering me Camp. A few days ago, I think it was Sunday night, a news item about the plight of Nigerians flimmered across the screen and a small detail caught my attention. Did you know that up to 50 people share a toilet in that country, not because Nigeria is poor but because every little bureaucrat there lives like a lord. I tell you it bothered me all night long and when I was relaxing on my throne the next morning I contemplated my own realm. 50 people per toilet! flushed through my mind. I started to count the toilets we own. Three in our house, one in the cottage, one in the rental house, one in my mother in law’s apartment and one in our town apartment. That’s a grand total of seven toilets and four mortgages. Seven thrones for just one peasant who lives like a king.”

“Well, you said it,” Camp said, sitting back with his hands open in front of him as if he was holding a large globe. “It’s in your favour that those are shared toilets, but you’re right, something is definitely out of sync here. Nobody needs seven toilets.”

“But these days teenagers must have their own en-suite otherwise they can’t properly grow up,” I said exasperated. “I tell you what Camp, I was constipated for a couple of days until I finally found release when we decided to get rid of at least 5 of these toilets, along with the walls, floors, roofs and mortgages. It’s time to scale down, divest, purge, free up space, get rid of debts and responsibilities. It’s time to sell up Campbell, but just now the market seems on a down turn and nobody is buying.”

“Such are the woes and worries of a king,” Camp said, not extending any amount of sympathy my way. I think this turned into a multiple pint session since I, as a king, had to buy the next couple of rounds.

1 thought on “A measure of wealth

  1. Hmmm…now you have me thinking about toilets,and their measure of wealth. We have five, three in the states and two in Nicaragua. Ten years ago, our flush toilets in Nicaragua were a novelty in our little community. Our neighbors would find some excuse to use our bathroom, just to flush the toilet. However, when the city water was out, as it frequently was, we had to go to the lake with a bucket to get water to flush the toilet. Most poor Nicaraguans have outhouses that don’t rely on water. Some of them still think it is strange to have a bathroom inside the house. They don’t use toilets as a measure of wealth, and actually laughed at us hauling water from the lake to flush our toilets.
    Their measures of wealth are cell phones, Nike tennis shoes, and lots of bling bling. I enjoyed this post! Thanks for making me think.


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