My other very close friends don't have a will, which makes me think lots of people don't. I have a will, but it dates back to 1992, when I was a puppy, with a brand new home to pay for from money I earned while living in New York City, acting, and working as an assistant to William J. Doyle of Doyle Galleries.
When I bought that first house I told myself it would be paid for by the time I was forty. Greenbacks steadily accumulated during my New York City years and I was fortunate to have it paid off well before my goal. So if I'd died back just after my last home payment, when I was thirty-eight, my ma and pa and sis would have been in for a few buckaroos, which, though I never thought of it then, would have been pretty cool.
Recently, a few days after a very close friend passed away, a brand shiny new thought came to mind, "If I die, some folks will be rollin' in dough." (Hate it that we think of ourselves so much when people die) My point in sharing this is not to make you think I'm rich, because I'm not, though you could say, to someone, we're all rich. The homeless guy on the street with only a blanket looks at the homeless guy with a hut made of cardboard and thinks, "Man, that dude is rich." But to the people who would divvy my estate, the amount they'd get would make a pretty good difference to them financially.
Being a card-carrying narcissist makes me rejoice when thinking of the adrenaline rush my heirs would get upon opening the envelope containing the check. Fantasizing seeing their face as they mouth the words, "Never seen a check that big," takes more than a small bit of the edge off my thinking being dead will totally suck.
Maybe all this thought about my will has answered the deep question we often wonder about ourselves: "What is the reason for me?"
Maybe the reason for me is to kick early so my blood kin and a handful of others can cash in at rates that could offer them some financial breathing room for the rest of their lives. Provided they have half a brain and spend it wisely. Maybe the money I'm able to save, because I don't have a family and I'm not overly generous to arts organizations, is not such a small part of my present and future legacy, maybe it's a large part, and maybe the same money that alive to me is the root of all evil, would be at my unwanted early death, my greatest gift to those I love -- not counting my ability to wiggle both ears independently.
Note to self: Take time to thoroughly evaluate spending and budgetary habits of those you're leaving free money to. Make sure you don't leave heaviest sums to ones who'll spend it frivolously on themselves, buying Wi players and dope. Leave largest sums of the hard-earned-never-spent cash you died too early to enjoy, to kin who'll bank it and let it pile up for the future. Then hope they see a future, but not a future where they're so healthy they keep not spending the money because they want to keep saving it for when they start to physically break down and really need it. Hope they don't die really old and leave all the money you left them that they didn't spend to someone you didn't know when you were alive, or someone you did know and didn't like much. Boy, this will thing is starting to get tricky.
Middle age arrives one afternoon and you, without kids and a wife, think about if you've done anything worthwhile with your life. Those with kids and a wife think the same thing I'm sure. Once you've concluded what you've done should have been done, and was done, without too much suspense, you realize what you've done was simply part of the design, and wasn't even a zillionth as important as the opposable thumb.
And that's why I'm not kidding about getting a beautiful feeling from knowing writing a clean will that dumps small jackpots of loot to kin, could make a concrete difference in their lives. I really feel like it's one of the best things I have to offer.
Don't fret, I'm in a fantastic place. Normally I live my life full of passion and joy. It's only once in a while, when I spend an Easter Sunday afternoon setting by the woodstove alone, in dirty sweats, with deep thoughts in my mind, and a cat in my lap, that I start to think a bit too seriously about, "The reason for me."
Rusty DeWees tours Vermont and Northern New York with his act "The Logger." His column appears weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Listen for The Logger, Rusty DeWees, Thursdays at 7:40 on the Big Station, 98.9 WOKO or visit his website at www.thelogger.com