They say that thieves count themselves lucky if they escape with their shirts still on their backs if they try robbing a true miser. A friend from school became a celebrated wealthy man. But he was celebrated into fame only because even his closest friends didn’t know he actually was a wealthy miser. Upon his sudden death people clearing out his tattered pauper like belongings and found a hoard of over ten million dollars in cash. Now, suddenly, the children who once disowned him came calling upon dear old Dad’s remains and estate and clamouring to take care of his affairs of state. His life must have been quite a story.
Life Of A Wealthy Miser
A miser is someone who chooses to live in an attitude of misery regardless of the ownership of significant wealth. This is not the same as someone who is living in poverty, who has yet to have that wealth. The miser as is often told in the story of Scrooge by Charles Dickens creates his own misery and makes everyone else as miserable or worse because of his outlook in life. In fact it appears that this misery is actually pleasure to him.
Even in school this man I knew was a contradiction in attitudes. He kept declaring he would live to be a man of the cloth and become a wealthy merchant too. But all that seemed to have been put a stop to when he got married very early in life with two children to care for. Much was expected of him financially and he did suffer many hours every day in his little shop of horrors as he put it as a tailor. He never seemed to have any trappings of anything wealthy. He had neither jewellery nor car and lived in a tiny 2 bed room apartment as a family of five. Hi store appeared to be always in disrepair and never had a fresh coat of paint. Then one day he simply closed his store and vanished.
By now, his children were grown and working on their own. His wife had passed on. Many years later, he was found quite by accident by a classmate who went to a Synagogue. A totally dishevelled but familiar man lived next door in an old shack like shelter with rusty metal sheets for walls and roof. The small property was yet to be rebuilt as part of the city plans. Each day he would push out a cart and collected what he considered useful garbage and sold them. He would make a few dollars or even pennies a day. In fact, he received donated food from the temples which lined this particular street. People also noticed he never washed at all.
How The Wealthy Miser Built His Cash Hoard
I cannot say that he was wealthy. In fact, he lived as a pauper. This man had left a number of diaries scribbled into his old school exercise books that he had kept when we had gone to school together. I read some of them and they always mentioned that he had his dream of making many millions of dollars. He claimed he would surprise everyone including his family because they kept telling him he was useless. They appeared truly ashamed of him. Because of that, he decided to give them their wish and never appear wealthy no matter how much he had. He would scrimp and save every single penny.
The decades he had his tailor shop was when he had saved much money quietly. In fact, the small building which he had his store had been bought by him and he rented most of it out. He had sold it just before he left the tailoring business and made many millions of dollars. The property he died in was actually his. It was bought before the real estate boom in the area. In fact, his diaries showed a number of deals he had been shrewd enough to buy low and sell extremely high. Hence his stash of cash. His last written entries were of regrets about not fulfilling his wish as a man of the cloth which was why he lived right within the Temple district.
I do feel admiration for this man being so disciplined to stick with his dreams but really sad that he denied the enjoyment of life completely. Such a contradiction in desires of life that pulled him one way and then another at the same time. His desire to live the life of a priest with the vow of poverty was eclipsed by the life of being a wealthy merchant. In the end one could not even call him wealthy because of the misery he lived in. In the end when we die, it all gets given back anyway. However, was it worth living a whole life without the enjoyment of it? I know of many wealthy people who would sacrifice and have the discipline as this friend had to build his stash but then they do use it for their pleasures in the enjoyment of their lives later on. They deserved it. Perhaps this is why a friend died in miserable surroundings because he felt unworthy. He said so in his diary.