Lately, B and I have been wondering if money, in fact, could buy happiness. Mostly because the acute lack of it seems to cause so much UNhappiness.

The general consensus among our friends seems to be that if you’re happy, then money can make you happier, but if you don’t have a clue about what’s really important in life and you try to use money to fill your holes, well, then, you’ll be unsuccessful.

I buy that — but what about when your furnace dies and your ceiling collapses and your house floods and your floors are wrecked and there are holes in the walls, ceilings and floors and water drips all over your instruments and old photos and books and you aren’t even there? You’re out on tour playing music, of all things, and drinking beer, enjoying yourself and laughing like an idiot, thinking everything back at the homestead’s all locked up tight. And it’s all gotta be fixed and Santa’s gotta come — along with the furnace guy and the plumber and the floor guy and the painter and the electrician and the bills and the groceries and…and…and!?

You know what happened? Great people happened. Our neighbors bailed all the water out of our house, rolled up our carpets, moved our furniture, dried our walls and called a Disaster Mitigation company (!!). Then they called us on tour and told us not to freak out, that everything was under control. And then you know what they did? They asked us if there was anything ELSE they could do!

Tonight at the club here in D.C., I had an “honor box” of homemade CD’s at my feet while I played; you put $10 bucks in and take a CD. This is low key to the point of pathetic as far as enterprises go, but out-of-the-blue (and contrary to our previous agreement) the club demanded 20% of our proceeds, an unusually greedy thing for a club to do to an opening act selling only CDs, in our experience. Billy made a point of letting the crowd overhear what was going on and immediately, people began crowding in, stuffing money into the box, some not even bothering to wait for change or take a CD. More (embarrassingly) great people.

Like almost everybody, we have more than a lot of people, less than others. Owning a house at all is pretty f*cking fancy in this world (hell, having a house is getting to be fancy in too many places lately) and we are happy, so we don’t have any holes we wanna try and fill in, either. We’re grateful for the broken furnaces and shitty clubs that allow us the chance to witness the genuine kindness that happens when people are given the opportunity to show they care.

Money is a good tool in that respect, but so is time. And emotional investment. Thank you for buying records and going to shows, but more importantly, thank you for making my songs a part of your own soundtrack; it means everything to me.

You great people, you.


Posted in: words on November 29, 2005