The Insatiable Desires of My Porcelain Pig

1405348534-800pxI will never understand money.

It comes and goes like the Cheshire Cat and when it dissolves, it does so with a mocking grin.

Well before the end of every month, I get these calls.

“Do NOT write any checks,” my wife tells me.

“Why not?” I ask.

“We are broke.”

“How did that happen?”

“How do you think?”

“Okay, I will use my credit card instead.”

“Do NOT use your credit card!”

“Why not?”

“Credit cards have limits,” she says, “and you do not.”


It is incomprehensible to me that I could hit something as astronomically high as a credit card limit. I never buy yachts nor sport cars nor vacation in Davos. It has been years since my last major purchase – and that was socks.

“Okay, I will use cash,” I tell her.

“Do you have any?”

I open my wallet to find two limp dollar bills trying their best to hide from me.

“A little,” I say.

“Well, it will have to last until the end of the month.”

“Uh, it is only the fifteenth.”

“Makes for a long month. doesn’t it?” she says.

It never used to be this way. I never overran the financial calendar because I knew how to manage my money.  Well, that is not exactly true.  It wasn’t so much managing money as it was managing temptation. I would agonize for weeks over the most modest of purchases.

So how did I come to have such extravagant debt?

For this I blame the little desires – the ones that sneak up and overwhelm you.

I blame Starbucks for their Ventis.

I blame Chipotle for their steak burritos.

I blame Walgreens for the Hershey bars near the cash register.

But mostly I blame our local bar for their craft brews.

As I lament the loss of my fortune, I grieve over how nickels and dimes have leaked from my fingertips and it is this regret that suddenly leads me realize to where my cash has gone.

It went to satisfy the insatiable desires of The Porcelain Pig. The ravenous beast who lurks in our laundry and grazes upon the change that falls freely from my pockets.

I rush into the laundry and grasp the little fiend by its throat.  He thrashes about, squirming to slip free but I get the better of the fight and flip him upside down to retrieve my fortune.

An hour later, there I am at the bar driving an unruly herd of dimes, nickels and pennies toward the bartender.  She sullenly accepts my offering then mutters while she pours my beer.

“What?” I ask.

“I hate the last half of the month,” she says.


Her arm unfolds in an expansive gesture that covers the line of bar stools – and there all along the bar, old retired men like myself carefully hoard their change.

Author: Almost Iowa

45 thoughts on “The Insatiable Desires of My Porcelain Pig”

  1. Ages ago I limited the amount of cash I carried ~ it helped to control impulse buys. Then they invented the debit card . . . I’m doomed.

    1. Yeah Carol, they invented them just for us…then they linked the debt card to our “overdraft protection account” to turn it into credit scam that would shock an old neighborhood loan shark.

  2. I see why I enjoy your blog so much. You are very similar to our sense of humor and life style.

    I’m not making extravagant purchases either. It’s the Del Taco, Chipotle (damn steak bowls), Walmart and Targets. (Let’s go there and save money – just need this- walk out with full basket.) When I return home my husband inquires “What the heck happened. Did we really need all that?” As I gaze over to the 6 boxes of girl scout cookies he just purchased and promised to buy more. (well, we know several girl scouts and I couldn’t just buy one box.) Yes- God forbid. Let me buy 3 from you and 3 from you and I’ll run home and get more cash for you.

    And why is that we feel (or I feel) the need to apologize as I’m counting out my change and say “hey, let’s use those pennies. They are weighing down mom’s purse.” As a rogue dime goes rolling across the counter top away from the register and onto the floor. Oh, I’m so sorry. (embarrassed laugh /sheepish grin)

    “oh, that’s okay, mam. We need the change. Really.”

    I’m never sure if they are being sincere.

    1. “As I gaze over to the 6 boxes of girl scout cookies he just purchased and promised to buy more. (well, we know several girl scouts and I couldn’t just buy one box.) Yes- God forbid. Let me buy 3 from you and 3 from you and I’ll run home and get more cash for you.”

      [drool] Thin-Mint season is just weeks away.[drool]

      Your statement about “saving” at discount stores, pinged with perfect resonance.

  3. I carefully hoard all of my change (and steal any change that my husband leaves lying about the house) so that I coax a Diet Coke out of a very unreliable vending machine each time I go walk dogs at the Humane Society. I’d rather buy wine, but they refuse to put in a machine that sells it, so I settle for caffeine. But somebody gave my husband a coin counting machine for Christmas, so now he’s feeding all his change into that! I’m going to let it accumulate for a while, and then that machine is going to mysteriously disappear from his dresser……

  4. I have been a two dollar man my whole life. I never buy anything and now I have no need for anything. So I always have a couple of bucks in my wallet and a credit card when I need gas.

    1. One of these days, when we hand over a dollar, the clerk will ask, “What’s that?” Perhaps we should start practicing our explanation now.

  5. My biggest guilty pleasure is reading just about every book I see. I average a book a day. That would break my piggy bank but for all of the free ebooks on Amazon and I don’t have to have an extra room or two to store all of the books.

  6. Just a personal view but… If you ate healthy and at home you’d feel better and enjoy one night a month appreciating it as a treat. Consequences of following my advice : A fat pig, a happy wife and bank manager, a slick healthy twinkle is back husband and living in the knowledge forever more that you more than likely extended your life!
    Love your post 😇😆

    1. Actually, we do eat fairly well and I do most of the cooking. Still it is healthy to give into little desires every once in a while, it is what reminds us of why we need to curb them.

      But always keep in mind that I am a fabulist who writes as I describe on my About page – so that my reader can say “Hey, that’s me!” and at the same time say, “No way, that’s me!”

  7. Oh I hear ya! I buy away on amazon, got out to eat/drink, have fun, then check the online account – WHOA! How did that happen! This is going to be a long week for me! LOL!

    1. What we need is a credit card that screams frantically when we hit a threshold. When we hit the next threshold, it should leap out of our hand and run home.

  8. I hear you. I’ve been laying mounds of change on cashiers, waitresses and others. I’ve always wanted one of those things that sort coins into dimes, nickels, quarters, etc., to make for easy rolling.

    1. I shake all my change from the pig into a ice cream pail then dump it into the change counter at the bank. It chews and grinds for a while then spits out a receipt – then all that money vanishes into “the always dry checking account”

  9. I don’t have a pig, but I have a cute little jar my aunt gave me. It has pastel colors and an inspirational verse of some sort. I can’t remember what it says, and I’m too lazy to get up and go look. Anyway. I throw my spare change in there, and every now and then I take it out and roll the coins. Whatever I get from it is free money, and I’m free to spend it on anything I please. It’s rather fun, really — although it never quite makes up for the pain of dealing with the checkbook.

    1. My pig is white, rather fat and stands mutely in the laundry. What inspired this piece was the despair that drove me to attacking him – and discovering that he held $250. Wow!

      1. Good gosh! My jar would top out at about $75, I think — but I’ve never been able to be patient enough to fill it to the top and see. (By the way — the missing fs here and there are a WordPress bug that’s popped up. It’s all over the forums, and seems associated with the f i and f l combination. If I try to type either combination without the space, the f disappears. )

        1. but I’ve never been able to be patient enough to fill it to the top

          See, it is all about managing temptations. 🙂

          I have noticed a couple of WordPress quirks and discovered workarounds. Much of this is caused by hidden special characters, for instance the hidden line-feed that causes strange word-wrap problems. I found that deleting and retyping the end of the next word after the line-feed solves the problem. There are ways to find those characters but the best way is to make all composition changes elsewhere – even the minor corrections.

    1. My wife convinced me to use the library rather than Amazon. It worked surprisingly well for a while. I checked out the latest novel by Christopher Moore which was delightful. I also found a few books by John D. MacDonald and John Sanford but it is hard to find novels by lesser known authors. Besides, I like to mount my books in a bookcase like trophies.

      1. I use the library weekly, but I get into trouble at Half Price Books. I’ve been making myself glean through my collection and sell some back before buying more. And yes to the trophy case – especially if I made it through a long and difficult read.

        1. Half Price Books

          It is like literary crack. Lucky they do not have shopping carts.

          I use the library in Austin, MN. It is a good library but doesn’t have the selection of the affluent counties. It forces me to be disciplined and request the books I want to read.

          1. This is the best thing about being in a metro area. We have 41 libraries in our county, so if something is not available, we can request it and get it in a couple of days. But it does make one overly ambitious. I’ve returned many a book unread. But at least I didn’t buy it.

          2. You might want to look into the Overdrive ebook lending library. Chances are your Austin library has an association with Overdrive – you could use your library card to check out ebooks. That would expand your selection considerably. Ask your librarian.

        1. Sanford’s Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers worked for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. It is where I worked for eighteen years. Though my experience was not like theirs at all. John Camp has visited several times and each time, I missed him. 😦

  10. I haven’t been allowed to actually handle the checkbook in years. I always _ALWAYS_ mess that thing up. Usually while t’s near the top of the page, so my wife sees my mistakes for weeks. Those Hershey bars are hard to resist, and isn’t Walgreens supposed to be encouraging healthy choices?

    1. Before I retired, I always made more than I spent and every month, I would transfer the excess over a certain threshold to savings. Retirement broke that system.

      Whoa! Chocolate is NOT a healthy choice? It beats Hostess Ho-ho’s for sure.

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