Have you ever noticed that the title of each Friends episode is “the one where (whatever happens in that episode happens)”? Probably not. take my word for it. That’s how each episode is titled. I think I may start titling my blog posts like that (until I get bored of it or otherwise don’t feel like it at which point I’ll stop while reserving the right to resume at any time). It’s just easier.
So Christmas was a long time ago and we’ve got a while before it swings around again which means that it’s been a while since you were encouraged to give money in a charitable way (except for those of you who pay tithing, which is of course a charitable donation, or those who’ve been hit up for money for any one of innumerable charity races or contests or… ok fine there are always charities that want your money, whatever). My point is that… let me start from the beginning.
I have two brothers, the older of which is a regular reader, commenter and occasional contributor (you really need to click on this link, this really is who my brother is and it really is what he believes which is why he’s not too upset over his current state of affairs) on this blog (in addition to having a blog of his own). He is a mortgage broker. He chose that profession because he likes to help people, he likes to interact with people (I know, it’s hard to believe we’re even related) and he’s pretty darn good at it. The problem is that, given the current economic climate, being a mortgage broker doesn’t really pay a whole lot (insert surprised gasp here). My brother has 8 children. He hasn’t been paid in quite a while, and because of some changes to mortgage laws (things that they seem to be changing on an hourly basis) the loan that was supposed to close last Friday didn’t, so instead of getting paid this week he won’t be for a minimum of 20 days. His sons recently broke the picture window in his front room, both of his two cars are on the fritz, a dinosaur recently sat on his garage, and his eldest son is about to leave for college. (It’s possible that at least one of those things isn’t true, but well, did I mention that he has EIGHT children? I’m not sure it’s possible to overstate the damage 8 kids could do.) He lives about 2 miles from his office so even without an operational car, he could walk it, (or ride a bike, or, since he works for himself, work from home) and he has, I am assured, copious amounts of food storage. All of that is good, but I’m not sure that a family 0f 10 can live for months on end with no cash, no matter how forward thinking they’ve been. He also refuses to buy on credit and doesn’t want to borrow money. (I think, in fact *I know, that in his position I would make some different choices but I also recognize that those choices would probably be worse in terms of personal and spiritual benefit and I’m not here to judge.)
What he has though, is stuff to sell. Remember this?
That’s right. He has the limited edition Holly Hanberg debut novel “On the Table” this is a first edition folks. We could probably even arrange to have it signed by the author. A lot of you said that you wanted it.
(For those of you not in on the joke, this is my book. I wrote it about 4 years ago and my brother published it for me for Christmas last year. It’s a pretty good book (although you may want to consider the source of that last statement) and well, that’s all I have to say about that.)
He has, in fact, 4 copies of this book. So here’s what I’m proposing. There are, as of this moment, 3 2 1 copies of this book for sale. They are $25. That includes shipping to anywhere in the US and, if desired, an author’s signature and message and blah blah blah. These books will go to the first 3 people to call me 801-996-3185 (yes, that is my actual telephone number) and tell me you want one AND to pay $25 into my brother’s PayPal account: email@example.com. Update: the first one is two are gone, we’re down to 2 1 folks, I wouldn’t wait if I were you.
The fourth book is the prize of the raffle that I’m having. Here’s how that works: “tickets” for the raffle are $5. For every $5 you donate to my brother and his family you get one virtual ticket (so $10 gets you two, $15 gets you three, and so on) This raffle will run through Wednesday the 11th at 7pm, at which time we’ll see if I’m really smart enough to figure out how to pick a winner without just writing all the names on the requisite number of slips of paper and putting them all in a hat. (And if I’m not then I’ll write all the names on the requisite number of slips of paper and put them all in a hat and have someone pull one out.) Anyway, the winner will be announced on Wednesday night or sometime Thursday at which time I’ll write whatever you want on the title page and put all four books in the mail or if you’re close enough (as determined by me) I’ll hand deliver it to your house or to wherever we decide to go for lunch or…
So there it is: If you want a really cool book, or a chance at a really cool book, and the chance to some good for some of the most deserving people I know, donate now through PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This begging for money post is the first of what may very well become a regular thing around here. I’ve lately been inspired to join team fatty in raising money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation to fight cancer (and possibly win myself some really cool stuff) so be prepared for that. I’m also going to start blogging regularly again at which point I’ll probably tell you about how *I know for sure that I would make different choices about borrowing money, and about owning two vacuums and about the treat that is going to restore world peace (and which would probably be the solution to my brother’s problems if only I had some way to get it to him) and… well, it’s gonna be good.
PS. If any of you have been considering refinancing, now’s a really good time (as far as rates are concerned anyway) and I know a guy who’d be really happy to have the work.
Update: I got this email from my brother today and I thought, in the interest of explaining his whole situation (which I’m far, far too lazy to do on my own) I’d pass it along:
As I mentioned before, I can’t possibly thank you enough. I cannot comment on your blog, because that seems a bit odd, so I wanted to just mention a couple things.
It seems impossible and somewhat delusional that I should be setting up a company ostensibly based on how successful my brokerage is, when simultaneously my sister is petitioning the world to send me money because I am broke. I want to emphasize that I am broke due mostly to two things 1) the way I run my brokerage and 2) luck. We remain busy. Really busy. We’re as busy now as we have been at any time in my career, and busier than most times. It isn’t that we have no loans to do, it is that the loans we have take longer than they used to (regulatory issues and market conditions). We have, for instance, half a dozen clients right now that should be buying houses, only they cannot sell the ones they’re in. That wasn’t a problem a couple years ago. So we have to wait for that. We have a dozen (literally) that would close in a heartbeat if this or that weren’t a problem; again, those are mostly problems that wouldn’t have existed before. Because we run the brokerage in the way we do, we never turn anyone away. We never stop trying to make a deal happen, no matter how long it takes. Unfortunately, this often means that it takes a long time.
Luck is the other factor. Like all sales jobs, money comes when it comes, and sales happen when they happen, without a great deal of rhyme or reason. It always seems odd to people that I could like and even revel in a career where money comes to us in waves, a lot here and there and nothing at all in between. But that’s sales. When you think of it, this is far more like the way the real world works than the paid-every-two-weeks that has become the norm in the modern industrial age. Think about farming – you work steadily for months and all the food comes in in a huge burst at the end of October. Even your garden takes two months of hard work before you start harvesting peas and lettuce. You never get a garden where you can make a BLT, because the lettuce is gone before the tomato gets ripe. That’s the way of things. All the lambs are born in the spring. It’s how things work. And we’re in such a patch right now. On the 27th, we could easily make $15,000. But we haven’t been paid in six weeks, despite having volumes of work to do. You’re an author. How much writing do you do before you get paid a cent?
The loans we will close in the next two weeks were supposed to close MONTHS ago (one of them, honestly, in January). But things happen.
As I say this, I know that I cannot escape the reality that if we had fifty loans to do instead of fifteen, then we’d have enough that there would be no dry patches. I know that says “he doesn’t work hard enough.” Nobody is as conscious of that as I am, or feels more keenly that he should be better than he is. I am ashamed that I should have come to this pass, but that is also a function of how I live my life. See my recent post on Gattaca [the link is mine, for those who might be interested]. I don’t save, and I am unlikely ever to do so. When I have money, I give it away with both fists. I trust my God, who tells me to rely on Him, not on the Bank of American Fork. Should it turn out to be publicly humiliating to do so, well, God has never cared about humiliation, either His own or that of His servants. He tells us to keep our eyes on Him and consider not what man can do, and to the best of my ability, I’m doing that.
So consider yourself the chosen of God, and His direct messenger, and do all that you do for us knowing that He is behind you, and before, you, and round about you to bear you up. For my part, you always will be one of my five favorite sisters. I’m so grateful to you I can’t even speak of it.