Tom, the Stingy

As a result of my regular promotions during my government career, I was able to retire with a generous annuity very early so I could write fulltime. The end result is that I now have six books and seventeen short stories in print. Because I have plenty of money, I have bought and live in a beautiful split-level house looking out on a pond surrounded by trees.

But by habit, I am extremely careful with money. That was the result of having been so poor as a child. There were times, as noted here before, that I didn’t have enough to eat and insufficient clothes to keep me warm. So starting as a child, I worked part time at odd jobs to earn enough money to keep me going. That pattern lasted through college where I missed my own graduation ceremony because I was in the college hospital with exhaustion from working twenty hours a week while attending classes.

Even today when I have no money worries, I am a miser. I watch for sales to fulfill my needs at the lowest cost. I buy only the cheapest meat, pork butt roast at 99 cents a pound, to provide the small amount of meat that I eat. I shop for wine at the cheapest liquor store I know of.

All that said, I am generous to those who suffer, as I did, from a scarcity of money. I contribute to my local National Public Radio station and to my political party, the Democrats. And when I invite people in for dinner, I go out of my way to provide a sumptuous meal.

So maybe it all balances out in the end. I have yet to hear anyone complain about my penny-pinching.

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