Did my parents teach me anything?

parents

I’m pretty ok with money a lot of the times. When you’re living by the seat of your pants every day your blood begins to boil at the sight of the petrol price rising up like cake flour, you tend to forget you have limited funds, and you venture off from the petrol station sulking that your idea of buying an iPad mini seems further and further away.

And then I thought, why didn’t my parents teach me how to be good with cash? I mean, they did, to constantly save for a rainy day. In London, that’s a silly notion to forget considering its island status, but the notion for never over-spending was drilled into me.

Forget that, I want to know how to invest.

We get bombarded every day with advertisements from investment companies drawling through quick marketing schpeels like, “Invest in a lump sum”, “fixed rate deposit”, “taxable income” or anything a bank marketing executive can *pop* out of his arse, but what happened to the good old days when you father could just say, “I know a guy, he’ll make you money”?

And my brain continued further, and then what came to me was a revelation in itself. Where did my parents teach me about relationships?

Good Lord, that’s when the world around me turned upside down. I never learnt a shred about relationships, not limited to girlfriends but with people in general. They’re so reclusive, they never really enjoyed me having friends but wished me to stay indoors, work in the corner shop or for any other stupid Portuguese shop owner. Sports was a no-no; why spend your time socialising in the playing field and keeping fit when there was R20 per day to be earned?

And as for girlfriends, I went through those like a fat kid let loose in a chocolate McFlurry store (no, there’s no such thing, but it’s the morning and my analogy machine is in the fritz), and the only role-models I could muster any example from was either from television, which timescaped so quickly I never realised you actually spent time in-between human interaction by doing other things, but my own parents’ ability to disassociate themselves from their own feelings and regard each other purely as “necessities”, the man bringing the bacon and the mother taking care of the house, but neither quite considering that their own emotional distance they imposed between each other filtered towards the children that required that same example in the first place.

And motivation, oh boy. To proceed towards a career you actually wanted? No, there’s no time for that, there’s money to be made, and a free economy full of sweets, chocolates and soft-drinks to exploit. I was never told that I am capable of anything, I was required to be something except a burden, and that was it. Get a job, work and pay rent, that’s it, nothing else, keep to the basics, make sure you have all those sorted and then everything else is a bonus until you become a burden to your health insurer. What do you mean, “Follow your dreams?” Dreams are when you sleep, reality is for feeding your face.

If it wasn’t for being influenced generally rather than specifically, in my case I was far removed from my family when I began comedy, I may perhaps have been convinced in a very hardened way to remain in South Africa for all of my life, to finish college and begin my life as a graphic designer, which I studied, instead of being lost in the ether and discovering an ability to influence people through teamwork, videogames and comedy. But I had to find that motivation, that opportunity, or else I would’ve lingered in creative purgatory.

I would’ve still liked my family and friends to have pushed me earlier.

It sounds like a cry for attention, but I’m looking at it positively and generously. If
you have kids, look at them and realise you can’t JUST feed and clothe them. You have to pay them attention, find the personality brewing inside them and lead by example. If you’re deranged, don’t show it and bring out the confidence, whether you have it or not. You brought them in, you owe it to them to show what they should be like, not just as spongers of a flawed societal system but of people that can contribute in better ways, through artistic, scientific or, at the very least, sociological advancements.

Who knows, you may have spawned the next Picasso. Don’t treat him like a janitor, he’s better than that and you know it.

About the author

Nelson De Gouveia

Nelson has been writing since he can remember, and even won a diploma for public speaking, albeit 20 years ago.
He works full time, loves his girlfriend and plays Batman on his Xbox a lot, even when it's finished.

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