I had this dream a few hours ago. It’s a true story. No, it’s not true the stuff that occurred in the dream itself. But it is true that it happened like this. Yes, I’m even including the parts where I am a bit of a jerk.
To start, this takes place back when I was around age 25 – a few years after graduating college. In the dream, I had two roommates from college and it was a Three’s Company situation – two women and me *. For the purpose of this article, it’s me living platonically with two of my very good (and real) friends from college. I never lived with them in real life though. These friends overspent on anything catching their eye and racked up big credit card debt. They planned to pay it back when they “made real money.” **On this day, one of the young women decides that we simply must have the latest Pokemon football video game. I couldn’t fault them that much, because the idea of throwing a touchdown pass to Froakie with his jumping ability was one of the most vivid parts of my dream. (If anyone has contacts with The Pokemon Company make this happen. It will be a hit, trust me.) Unfortunately, the video game requires buying the latest gaming system and the game itself. For them, it also means buying a desk and a couple of chairs. I estimate the total bill was around $800 or $1000.
I am not sure this is a great plan, but they are determined. I decided that even though I want out, I will end up getting sucked into Froakie’s charms and play the game myself. So I offer to be part of the split. However, they decline because it would make ownership of the system weird. It was already weird, but this is a dream so I don’t question it much other than to say that they often seemed to share a brain when it came to spending.
I give them some money anyway with an explanation that I’ll end up playing it so I need to contribute something. Then I wander off. Suddenly my old high school friend is there. Because it’s a dream, he’s living with us now too. It’s funny how things like that change mid-dream. However, he points out that we’ll need to save our games and you need an extra gadget to do that on this system. We come across an Aimbo robot ***, which is one such gadget. It looks like a more modern version of the Nintendo robot that you could get with the NES back in 1985. This version not only can save your games but do a bunch of other things. None of the other things were explained in the dream, but it was clearly the “thing to get.” We weren’t 100% sure about buying it without asking the others. We went off to do that and they agreed it was necessary.
But when we got back, all the Aimbo’s were sold out. So we could “make due” with another thing that just saved games. It would tide us over while waited to find Aimbo back in stock. This substitute was almost as expensive, but the extra Aimbo things were an upgrade the group wanted.
My high-school friend buys the substitute and comes back to make an interesting observation, “The credit card processing fees are crazy! What a scam!”
I don’t know why in this dream he has to pay credit card processing fees. In every place, it’s the merchant, but maybe he’s trying to use a weird debit card or something. I simply take his remark at face value for being true.
This is when I ask everyone to take a seat while I go on a mansplaining ****, lecture. (This is clearly the kind of thing that surely makes me the life of any party.) I ask if anyone knows what I am going to say, half expecting they’ve heard me do this Brainy Smurf routine a hundred times. One new character shows up to go on a five-minute suggestion that was completely wrong. I don’t even remember what it was, but I guess it was only to give me the opportunity to be a bigger jerk and dismiss it outright? I don’t remember.
I said, “The problem is that you’re on the wrong side of the equation. You wouldn’t care about the credit card processing fees if you owned the credit card company and made money from them, right?”
I continued to explain that I invest in all these companies: the credit card processor, the maker of the video game, the store we are in, the furniture place that makes the desk and chairs, the game system, etc. So when anyone buys this stuff, I will get a fraction of the money back. Those fractions add up over time and I become more of an owner than a buyer. But to get there, I had to use my money to buy ownership in these companies instead of their products.”
This is when I woke up. I never got to see the reaction on their face to see if made any sense to them.
* If you are too old to know Three’s Company, I’m giving you some homework. Looks like you stream it on PlutoTV for free. It’s very formulaic with nearly every episode revolving around some misunderstanding because a word or two was heard wrong from the other room and hilariousness ensues.
** We were friends after college for a while and one did make “real money” and I assumed paid it back, but it took a while. I am not sure the financial situation of the other, but I think it followed her for at least a decade in some form. We didn’t have regular conversations about money.
*** I’m sure I took the name from Nintendo Amiibo, which is a real-life Nintendo gadget/figurine thing that I can’t wrap my head around.
**** Can you mansplain another man? I don’t think so, but it seemed the best word to fit.