Money Can’t Buy Happiness

…but it can buy not-unhappiness.  (I’m paraphrasing Adam Carolla, here.)  (Yes, really.)  (No, I’m not some kind of misogynist.  I just think he’s funny, okay?)  (Shut up.)


There are rich people who are sad.  There are poor people who are happy.  To a large degree, our ability to put up with things (or not) is innate.  Winning the lottery tomorrow isn’t going to make you a happy person.

Unfortunately, the opposite is not true; not having money can ruin your day. Suppose you’re a little confused about street parking…

All it needs is one of those temporary tow-away signs they put up for productions.
Wait, what?

It happens to everybody. Tickets in Los Angeles can cost upwards of a hundred dollars. Or, as I like to call it, more money than I’m going to make today.

20% of my week, gone.  Not going to be able to go out for dinner this weekend.  Can’t surprise my wife with some flowers, or by myself a new video game.  The car’s gonna have to go dirty for another week.  Hell, I can’t even afford to buy a ticket for the movie I’m working on.

Now, I realize you’d have to be pretty rich to shrug off $100 for no good reason.  For someone like my boss, it would be an inconvenience. But she’d pay the ticket and move on with her life.  Even that small increase in pay means the difference between mild annoyance and ruining your entire week.

I read on a friend’s blog recently, “Anything that can be fixed with money isn’t really a problem.” In one sense, that’s true. Figuring out how to get your heroine out of that brothel by the end of the third act requires real, creative brain power.  Not parking in the loading zone just requires the ability to recognize the color yellow.

But it’s not just parking.  Inane issues like this come up all the time when you’re poor. Do I get the large popcorn, or the small? Should I circle the block one more time, or just pay the valet?  Do I really need a new cell phone?  I hate having to think about nonsense like that.

On the other hand, you know what Biggie say–

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5 Responses

  1. I firmly believe winning the lottery would improve my mood greatly. I could go to physiotherapy and not be in pain 24/7 and that would be awesome. Then I could get more work, since I’d be able to stand and move and stuff.

    It’s hard to not resent people with more money than they know what to do with when I’m in pain, and I don’t have the money to fix it.

  2. Yeah, that shit is brutal. Also, not having money causes you to have to spend money in weird unpleasant ways. Like you buy a used car instead of something under warranty, and then you end up paying, over the years, as much to repair the thing as it would have cost you just to buy a better car.

    And I think maybe it’s harder in a very status-y business, where many people are debt-financing a lifestyle they can’t really afford. So there’s this upward pressure on spending: everyone you know is spending $20 on movie tickets, and that makes it harder for you not to.

  3. Money issues have me feeling miserable right now as well. I’m still a film student and I’ve spent most of my time in college without a job but constantly working on student films with my friends. Times have gotten tough and now I HAVE to have a job, but I’m not yet connected enough for that job to be in film. So I have a crappy part time in an asian restaurant for now. What makes me miserable is that all of my friends are still working on their films and I can’t be there with them doing what we love to do. They can afford to quit their jobs to make movies because their parents and their families will support them. My family, on the other hand, is poor so I don’t have that luxury. I don’t necessarily hate my job, I just hate being there instead of on set or in pre-production meetings where I would love to be. Thanks for giving me the space to rant. I’ve been wanting to do that for a while.

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