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Did You Play Rich Man, Poor Man?

Apr 27, 2008
"Rich Man, Poor Man" was a game I played as a child. The first button on my clothes was rich man - the second was poor man. Buttons three through eleven were beggar man, thief, doctor, lawyer, Indian chief, soldier, sailor, tinker, tailor. My last button foretold who I would marry. The game hasn't changed, but my definition of husband material has.

As a child I thought a millionaire was a rich man. I didn't know about taxes and income brackets. Now I think a rich man is one who's happy with what he has - and, of course, isn't against being happier.

In spite of my buttons, however, I married a poor man - still in college. I remember when we had less than three dollars and John was trying to find a sitter for a visiting professor. I asked him if the sitter was going to get paid. Since we couldn't stand being poor, I thought we could sit.

The next button was beggar man, which today could be a fundraiser. Registering my phone number with the National Do-Not-Call Registry eliminated calls from telemarketers, but non-profit organizations aren't eliminated. Whenever I get a call asking for a donation, I ask the caller to send me a written request - but I've never gotten one. Although these fundraisers are willing to give me their two cents' worth on the phone, they're not willing to put forty-one cents on an envelope.

Next came thief - which also described my husband. Although a mutual friend introduced him to my older sister, he stole my heart. In addition to taking the best years of my life, he's taken my pregnancy pains, PMS mood swings and menopause hot flashes. In return for stealing my heart, he's done hard time.

When my last button was a doctor or a lawyer, my mother was pleased. She explained I'd be well taken care of. Mother didn't know that Indian chiefs were going to have casinos.

Mother also explained that landing on a soldier or a sailor button was safe. They would have a steady job. They'd be in a family business - working for Uncle Sam.

Tinker and tailor are the last buttons in the game. Both are in the fixing business - one fixes pots and the other fixes clothes. These two might be the best husband material. With half of marriages ending in divorce, husbands who are fixers might help.
About the Author
KNIGHT PIERCE HIRST takes humorous looks at life.
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