"What of that, my dear!" said Scrooge's nephew. "His wealth is of no use to him. He don't do any good with it. He don't make himself comfortable with it. He hasn't the satisfaction of thinking--ha, ha, ha!--that he is ever going to benefit Us with it."
So speaks Fred, Scrooge's nephew, about his uncle. And what he says is very true. Scrooge doesn't benefit from his wealth at all. He lives in a dusty, old house he inherited from his dead partner. He has no friends. The only social interaction he has in his life is harassing his poor clerk on a daily basis. Scrooge may be very rich in assets, but he's a pauper when it comes to the important stuff.
I'm around a lot of people who have a lot of money. I work with doctors and surgeons on a daily basis during the week. Almost every single one of them (not all) are cranky misers. The more money they have, the more they worry about not having enough money. Their wealth, as Fred says, is of no use to them. They're not happy, and they don't believe in making other people happy.
The old saying really is true. Money can't buy happiness. Money may be able to alleviate stress and worry, but happiness is a little more ephemeral. One of the most miserable people I know is quite wealthy, and yet his main pleasure in life is complaining about the taxes he has to pay, the public schools he has to support, the welfare patients he has to treat. He is a man with enough means to be supremely satisfied with his life, and to make a whole lot of other people supremely better off, as well. But he doesn't see himself as blessed. He sees himself as bullied. You know that scene at the beginning of A Christmas Carol where Scrooge berates two gentlemen who are seeking charity from him? That's this person I'm talking about. Dr. Scrooge.
In some ways, I'm not much better than Dr. Scrooge or Scrooge, himself. I'm never satisfied with what I have. I resent people who are more successful than I am. I don't count blessings. I count slights. I hold grudges. I get angry when I don't receive something I think I deserve. It's not pretty. If you've never seen a forty-some-year-old man have a tantrum, it's a sight to behold. Think Daffy Duck, jumping up and down, squawking, "It's mine! It's all mine! I'm rich! I'm a happy miser!"
|Is it possible to be a happy miser?|