The Power of Money

The Power of Money

By Apolinario Villalobos

Money is not the root of all evils. It is the love for it and its improper use that make it such. Those who have been able to deposit hefty sums of this tender regardless of denomination are  generally,  of two types. One type are those who remain footed firmly on the ground and remained simple in their ways, and the other one are those who developed wings of arrogance that buoyed them up so that they feel “superior” than the rest of humanity.

There is not much to discuss about the first type, those who remained footed firmly on the ground despite their material wealth as they are doing just fine as far as God and their brethren are concerned. As for the second type – well, they are something else, and very interesting, too.

If money is used improperly, the following may just be the result:

1. It can make one stiff-necked, such that he will never be able to look back to where he came from before he became rich.

2. It can give him a horse-vision, such that his focus is just forward, making him such a “grand peacock” that never looks sideward.

3. It can make him feel like a “god”, such that he thinks he is in control of everything and everybody.

4. It can transform him into a robot– no past, no genetic origin because he has disowned his brothers, sisters, parents, cousins, friends (as they may just ask for money if he happens to throw them even just a simple squint).

I once had a very close friend. Like me, he was a survivor, too, of the harsh life in Manila. We came from the same province and both of us belong to poor families. Unlike me, however, he was nailed to his first job, while I got promoted after four years. Promotion came to him after another four years, during which I was already a manager.

Fortunately for him, however, he married, though late in his life, a widow, who though not a looker, got a lot of glitter – businesses in Manila and four major provinces. In other words, he hooked himself a millionairess. And, that was when his transformation took place.

The case of my friend inspired me to come up with the four enumerated transformations after we bumped each other in mall in Makati. When I greeted him, he glanced at me with a blank look. I was and still close to his brother and sister who are now working in Manila and they told me that their mother died without seeing their now rich brother. The reason was, he cut off his communication with them. They could not just get in touch with him so that he can be told of  the news about their dying mother. Eventually, the poor mother died without seeing her rich son. They were told that he now lives in a very uppity subdivision in Alabang and that’s all. One sister was able to contact him while she was applying for a job. That was the time when he was about to marry the widow and she was told by him to just wait for his letter to be sent to their address in the province. The sister thought all the while that he could help her find a place for her to stay in Manila. But it did not happen. Out of pity, I brought her to my former boarding house in Baclaran and introduced her as my cousin so that she will be given a discount by my former landlady.

My friend indeed sent a letter much later to his sister, with an enclosed money – 2,000 pesos. In that letter was a clear instruction for the whole family – not to locate him, and just let him get in touch with them, if he has the time.

Here is another case of a friend who got married at a very young age. He also came from a struggling family. He was fortunate to have met a hardworking girl who toiled her way through college. While he was not able to finish the course that he started, the girl became an engineer. Both have business acumen. They started a small business that grew tremendously in just less than ten years. They went into franchising. They were able to stash a lot of money which they used in buying shares of resorts and two condos. They lived in one unit and rented out the other.

Unfortunately, they became paranoid. They distanced themselves from their families and relatives, thinking that they will ask for a share of their fortune. They distanced themselves from friends, thinking that the latter will ask their help in sending their children to school or burden them with hospital bills, etc. Only the phone numbers of their office were known. Calls were strictly screened. They have practically isolated themselves.

In both cases, my two friends thought that with money, they could buy themselves comfort and security. In a way, they were able to do it. They have cars, luxurious dwellings and foods, salaried secretaries and guards.

I suppose that with their stature, my two friends could be surrounded now with newfound friends who are equally rich. But all of those have no meaning as they lack the warmth of the real comfort and security that do not have monetary value. It is the warmth of friends and family – the warmth that goes with the thought of belonging, of being together no matter what happens.

We cannot buy love. We cannot buy loyalty. They have no monetary value. Their value is measured by the heart and not by the ounce of gold, silver, platinum or karat of whatever precious stone.

I know of a filthy rich guy who also started from scratch. He died of cancer but during the wake, his rich friends wondered why no relative showed up. Their wondering gave them the impression that their rich friend could have been bad to his family because until the day he was interred, only his wife and two children, aside from them rich friends were around to bid him farewell. As you see, even the friends whom the dead rich fellow thought were his friends, sent him off with a bad impression.

Well, that’s money for you.

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