For every statement, there’s an atecdote to demonstrate the opposite, and mine is nice and long.
When I was a kid, I had a friend who came from a large family. She had six brothers and sisters already, and told me her parents’ goal was to have an even dozen.* Having a big family can be a wonderful experience, I’m told, but it helps if you take care of the kids you already have and work to support them.
The father of this group came from money–snobby money-- and as a result, the notion of actually working was morally repugnant to him. Unfortunately, his family had not approved of his dowdy, dim-witted wife and so they wouldn’t financially support him. (He told this tale to anyone who would listen, and tried to make it sound grandly romantic. Perhaps it would have been if his choice of brides had been intelligent, or charming, or warm-hearted, or funny or even pretty. )
They lived in a state of semi-poverty as the father bounced from one get-rich-quick scheme** to the next and the mother told their tale of romantic and financial woe to various churches. The churches would support them for a while with donations of money or food (their garage looked like a Sam’s Club) until they finally figured out that this family wasn’t ever intending to get back on its feet. Then, they’d move on to the next church.
Anyway, the husband’s grandmother died and left them a nice bundle of cash. They used it on a big vacation and about a dozen get-rich-quick projects that they never seemed to get working on. One of them was a selection of wrecked cars. Each was a once-expensive model which would need serious work to be road worthy again. The dad’s plan (and by the way, he knew nothing about fixing cars) was to fix them up and sell them. He anticipated that each would sell for slightly under their original sticker price-- meaning they would have actually appreciated from this experience-- after he had fixed them up. (I honestly imagine him picturing himself skipping out to the yard with a wrench and a can of WD-40 and then strolling back into the house an hour later leaving a pristine automobile in his wake. The scenes between would be represented only by a question mark, I suppose)
The second scheme was a big tent. You know, those white tents that are used for outdoor events? They have clear patches in the shapes of windows along the sides? Yeah, one of those. He bought one and set it up in his backyard, and planned to host weddings there. Yeah, in his un-mowed, un-lanscaped, un-shaded yard, facing the back of his badly-needs-painted house with its filthy doorframe. Did I mention it’s next door to a dog kennel? I guess on the plus side, there would have been plenty of parking between the junked cars in the front yard.***
They also invested in some sort of telephone long-distance selling scam which required a large chunk of money up front and check for the promised returns was always coming soon.
The father forgot that he needed to buy parts for the wrecked cars before he spent all the money. This all happened in 1996. I drove by there a couple of months ago, and those cars are still sitting there, peaceably rusting and returning thus to the earth from whence they came.
- I saw them a few months ago with cildren I didn’t recognize, so I’m pretty sure they’re up to eight or nine kids now.
** The last time I saw them, it was Amway.
*** The tent was destroyed, aptly enough, by a Finger Of God. A friend who witnessed its demise swore on all she held holy that the sky had opened and a slim tornado had decended onto the tent, dissipating as soon as it had been rendered into a pile of bent poles and shredded plastic. I can testify to seeing the poles, which were, indeed bent. As to whether God struck the tent dead, I cannot say, but I do like to believe it.