Widdly widdly wopple flop

The edge of the shadow moves faster than light

One big decision facing a couple who are getting married is around what to do with their bank accounts and other finances. Do you keep separate accounts? Do you merge everything together? Maybe you have some joint accounts but you also keep some separate. There’s not really a right answer here, and some of the decisions aren’t permanent so you can always change your mind. I guess if one of you owns like 19 houses or a sprawling financial empire this might get trickier, but for most of the people most of the the time, there are lots of approaches which will work.

Here’s what I did in my marriage. Before I was even dating anyone sometime in my early twenties I started establishing fake identities and got passports and official papers in various financially stable regimes all around the world. I started splitting my income every pay check and keeping about half to live on, and half I would shove into these various accounts. Depending what nation these accounts were domiciled in, I invested those funds in a locally appropriate asset. In some places this meant pork belly futures. In others it meant a pile of bitcoin. In many nations, it turns out that just buying a nice boat and paying a guy to keep it clean is the most sound investment available to you, so I would do that as well.

Then when I met the person who ultimately became my spouse, after we’d been dating for a while, I told her about my fake identities. But — and this is the crucial part — I did not tell her about ALL of my fake identities. Only about some of them. Then, when we got married we combined most of our accounts (but obviously not my fake accounts that she doesn’t know about, and not even all of my fake accounts that she does know about). But every now and again I’m like “hey do you want me to combine any of those fake identity accounts?” and she’s not sure if they really exist or are just totally made up and part of some dumb joke I’m playing, so she’s like “I don’t know that sounds like a lot of work” and we just skip it.

This has created a real Schrödinger’s Fake Identity situation in our household. For all she knows I have like 500,000 Yuan parked in a boat somewhere. This approach is not for everyone, but it works well for us.

Anyway, the point here is — as hard as it is for normal couples in normal times to combine their finances … can you even imagine what it would be like to find yourself dating a person who was in the Google/Android ecosystem if you were in the Apple/iOS one? It’s exhausting to even think about. I bet there are countless relationships out there where a guy or lady was about to get down on one knee and propose to their sweet-ums, but then last minute they were like yeah I don’t know that’s a lot of cloud storage to figure out how to migrate, and they just bailed on the whole thing.

I’m not sure what the equivalent of this in prior generations is. Maybe you’d have like a Ford family and a Chevy family and there’d be friction? Maybe one of you had a decades long subscription to The NY Times and the other had one to The Washington Post and you jointly agreed to only keep one subscription but you played a game of chicken right up until your very wedding night around which one it should be; and then decades later when you were bouncing your grandkids up and down on your lap your spouse revealed that they never actually cancelled their subscription but they just had it sent to a neighbors house instead of your house and they’d been secretly reading NYT columns this whole damn time. At that point it’s probably not even worth divorcing them … because they are clearly paying for their NYT account with some sort of off-shore cash cache kept in a boat.

The wreaths are attached to the house via magical brackets

Whenever I’m alone in a room by myself and I do something which would be a breach of public etiquette, I have really mixed feelings about whatever I’ve done. It’s a roller coaster between a sense of disappointment, self-doubt, pity, etc — and ultimate liberation on the other hand.

For example, the other day for breakfast (or “breck-brecks” as it’s called in our household), I was enjoying a piece of toast that had been buttered and sprinkled with salt. When I finished the toast piece, I looked down at the plate and there was a small pool of melty butter that had slipped through some of the holes in the toast. There were also some bread and salt crumbs. I was alone in the privacy of my home (although I was also technically in my own workplace, due to the current conditions) in a room with a locked door between me and any other people. I picked up the plate, and I licked it, consuming the very last of the butter/crumb/salt mix.

My reactions were immediate, and mixed. On the one hand I thought come on Matt, you gotta get your act together, you’re an adult, a pillar of the community, and an example setter. We don’t lick our plates, knock it off. On the other hand, I thought hot damn, that’s right, I have no one to impress here, I’m content in my status (“I’m a man! I’m 40!”), I make up my own rules, and if I want to lick my plate I’m gonna lick my damn plate without repercussions or consequences. I like to imagine that there’s a very judgmental person in the room and they are giving me a stern tsk-tsk suggesting that I should not have licked that butter plate, but I just stare right back at them as if to threaten that I’m so secure in my person that I just might do it again.

Rolling up and down the stream of veggies

We are at a time in the news cycle where the term “faithless elector” gets used sometimes. This is a term for a person who has been designated to convey the will of the people in an election to some official body — but instead of voting for whatever the larger vote indicated they should vote for, they just vote for whatever they want instead. In some states there are laws against doing this. In others the whole thing is just held together by a norm of following public sentiment. This is one of those things which simultaneously seems like a completely pointless element of risk and doubt in the election system — but also makes complete and utter sense when you read the history of why there were electors in the first place.

All that said, whenever I hear the term “Faithless Elector”, instead of thinking about political and legal history, I think about how it would be cool if someone wrote a steamy, trashy romance novel and they called it Faithless Elector, and the whole thing was just like 99% exactly the same as any other trashy romance novel, which is just full of drama and affairs and (I’m assuming?) discrete trysts, and has absolutely nothing to do with legal theory or politics. Then randomly in the last chapter of the book it turns out one of the women in the book (who, in this example, has been cheating on her spouse) has also been appointed as an elector for her electoral district and needs to go cast her vote. And, to be totally clear, she casts her vote extremely promptly and accurately as the will of her people demanded with no drama whatsoever — but then she also sleeps with some dude she met there who was also casting his vote, thus making her simultaneously faithless, but also an elector. You get it.