“Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT’S relativity.”
Money too is relative. We’ve all bought houses and paid or given away the odd thousand pounds. We’ve sold or bought carpets and curtains at ridiculous prices. At an even higher level the current economic crisis involves discussions around billions of pounds which affect our everyday lives but seems somehow abstract. Politicians play this game all the time – they must become immune to the sheer enormity of the numbers they play with.
Bizarrely though, we haggle furiously to get a £5 discount on a laptop and feel euphoria at finding a crumpled note in the pocket of a seldom-worn jacket.
The trick is to turn it into real money: the pecuniary equivalent of E = mc2 Economics = My Cash (OK I know that’s not quite right but you get my drift). I blogged recently that Jimmy Carr’s tax indiscretions cost me personally 3p a year. I have recently cancelled my subscription to Spotify because I would get greater value out of buying a couple of CDs a month. I stopped getting Sky Sports years ago because I realised I could actually go and watch a live game once in a while for the same money rather than force myself to watch Bundesliga matches.
Next time you look at buying something, say a £100 pair of shoes, consider a rental equivalent. If they are black patent dress shoes to go with a tuxedo you may wear them five times before they look tragically out of fashion. Would you rent them for £20 a go – or for £4 an hour?
If you think there is a flaw in this argument look again at the quotation from one of the world’s acknowledged geniuses. Putting your hand on a hot stove for a minute would be impossible before you passed out with pain and as for “sitting” with a pretty girl for an hour…