Thursday, July 11, 2013

In which Primo commits to raising $1,000 for a judicial candidate but then can't

Primo still wants to be in politics. He wants to quit his job and get a political job, which he cannot do until I get a job that pays more than the job I had, which is going to be easier said than done.

For him to get a job in politics, he has to become a networker. He has a great network of engineers if he ever wants another engineering job, but he doesn't even want the engineering job he has, much less another one.

Which stinks for me, because it's hard to find people to do what he does and the pricing reflects that. Politics, on the other hand, has very low barriers to entry. (Obviously.) And when there is a high supply of potential employees and a low supply of jobs, economics works and the prices for labor are low.

Which is why I need to get a different job.

Back to his networking. Networking for politics means volunteering on other campaigns. It means helping candidates raise money.

Primo decided he didn't want to do doors for this guy who's running for judge. Let's call the guy Benito. Not his name and I'll probably forget it by my next post and I'll call him something else, but it doesn't really matter. Benito is not essential to the plot.

So he agreed to raise $1,000 for Benito's campaign.

He agreed to this six weeks before the election.

Then he started calling people to donate.

And realized that almost everyone who had donated to his campaign was a friend or family member who couldn't care less if Benito were elected.

Which meant he didn't have people to call to donate.

It's all a pyramid scheme, really, and it works only if the fundraiser is willing to twist arms and use his connections for the benefit of someone else.

He raised $75 from a local friend who had also donated to Primo's campaign. Only $925 to go.

Then he found out he had to go on a business trip for a week. He spent the weekend preparing for the trip rather than fundraising.

He also spent the weekend worrying that he wasn't going to be able to raise the money.

On Wednesday, he called me. He was worried that he wasn't going to have time to raise the money. "I might have to come back here next week," he said.

He was upset that he had made a commitment that he wasn't going to be able to meet.

I got a $100 bonus at work that day. I also found out that I got a raise that, after taxes, was going to yield us the princely sum of another $900 for the year.

I sighed. I hated that he was worrying. There aren't many problems that you can make go away with money. Not that I don't want to have money, but a lot of the big problems, at least in our life, have nothing to do with money. They have to do with Sly and Doris and there is not enough money in the world to make that problem go away.

Our furnace broke and had to be replaced. That's a money problem.

Isabel needs some money to pay her 2012 income taxes. That's a money problem. Isabel has terminal cancer. Not a money problem.

Primo is unhappy in his job. Not a money problem.

The muscles in my face are starting to sag and I am showing my age. Not a money problem.

We are very fortunate that we have the money to solve the existing money problems in our life.

"We can give the $1,000," I said. "But you have to keep my name out of it because I do not support your candidate."

Primo was silent.

"I mean it. We can afford this. If it takes $1,000 for this to go away, let's just do it. It's one less thing to worry about."

Primo sighed. "I never should have agreed to do this," he said.

"Nope," I answered. "It was a really dumb idea."

"I'll never do it again," he promised.

"You'd better not," I said. "There is only one get out of jail free card on this."

When he returned from the trip, there were only two weeks to the election.

I sighed, thinking of how I would rather have used that money. Shoes. Paying down the mortgage. A new purse. (Not the used Bottega Veneta I saw on eBay for $27,000. It wasn't even pretty. As one friend said, "They should throw in a car for that price.")

Help Isabel with her taxes. Give it to the homeless shelter. Give it to the hospice where my dad died.

There are a lot of things we could have done. But I had suggested it and Primo was relieved and all I want is peace in my house.

A few days after he returned, Primo talked to the chair of the Polka Dot party, the one whom he had told he would raise the money. I heard him upstairs on the phone, but it wasn't his Sly and Doris voice (strained, unhappy) or his Sam voice (happy, light). It was a voice I don't know.

Turns out it was his political/huge relief voice.

He came downstairs. "I told [whatever his name is] that I hadn't had a chance to raise the money  but that we were prepared to donate it ourselves."

Deep sigh from me. Bye bye money.

He continued. "He says that we don't need to do that."

I sat up straight. My eyes opened wide.

"But maybe we shoul-"

"No! No! If he's not going to hold you to it, I vote no! This is great news!"

Primo was doubtful. "But I said-"

I shook my head. "Nope. We're done. We are out of the fundraising business. We can give the money to Isabel for her taxes. I'd rather help her than Benito any day. This is great news."

It wasn't too hard to talk Primo into agreeing. And now we close the fundraising chapter of our lives. Good riddance.