I have a lot of very smart friends. Indeed, for all practical purposes, I have a panel of advisers.
When I have a psychology question, I call my smart friend Pam, who is a psychologist. Katy-the-Wise gets lots of my personal problems and religion questions, though other people have been known to handle the overflow as I have lots of both. Smiley-Dave the structural engineer told us how to fix a sagging wall in our garage and told us where to put our bookcases.
Obviously, LinguistFriend gets the language questions.
TheCSO and I kind of share a brain on a lot of things.
My question is: Do other people not do this? If not, why the hell not?
I went over to my parents' house this evening to help them jumpstart my mother's truck. When she and my father and brother went off to drive it around to get it charged up, I sat on the couch brushing the dog. Eventually, I started looking through the papers on the coffee table for a magazine.
I found notes in my mother's handwriting. Suspicious notes.
When my family got back, I held the paper aloft.
"Um, Ma? Is this a get rich quick scheme?"
"Well..." My mother said.
"She lost a lot of money. I wasn't supposed to tell you." My brother Jason filled in cheerfully.
"It was my fault. I didn't spend enough time on it," My mother said.
"Oh, come on, Mom. That's what they always tell you."
"Yes," I said, exasperated. "They convince you it's your fault for not working hard enough. It keeps you from suing and to make you easier to convince next time. Amway has been doing that forever."
This went on for awhile. I never did find out exactly what sort of scam it was, though I'm gathering it had something to do with real estate. They lost more money than I would want to lose, but not so much as to create a serious problem.
I really tried not to be a sanctimonious pain-in-the-ass about it. At the same time, I was shocked. I thought about the Psychiatrist in California who lost 1.3 million to the Nigerian scam and what his kids must have gone through.
And I thought about how naturally I ask people for advice and rely on the knowledge of others. If I were going into the real estate business and I had a daughter who was a law student, a son-in-law who was good with finances and did my taxes, I might ask the daughter to research the company and/or the son-in-law to look over the paperwork.
My mom isn't what you would call book smart, but she's no fool either. I almost think on some level she knew it was a scam. Maybe she wanted the dream of easy money more than she wanted the money she spent getting into it.
If that's the case, I hope she just buys a lottery ticket next time.