Logan Sachon: Your birthday is in a few weeks, but your birthday dinner is this weekend, AMIRIGHT?
Mike Dang: Yeah, it was the only weekend people seemed to be free. The only thing I want this year is a quiet dinner with people I love, and it doesn’t matter to me if it’s not on my actual birthday.
Logan: I’m trying to decide whether to ask you, the birthday boy, to … lend me money to pay for your birthday dinner, or to ask one of the other participants — who I don’t know as well — to lend me money to pay for your dinner.
Mike: Does that mean you’re asking me right now?
Logan: Well. I’m asking for your opinion on this matter. Let’s pretend it’s for someone else. So the obvious answer is to not go, right? Maybe just like, meet for a drink before or after. That is What I Should Do.
Mike: Oh no. Logan! What I want for my birthday isn’t for someone to buy me dinner. What I want for my birthday is to be with the people I love. And I love you! And I want you there, and I will pay for you to be there because it’ll make me happy.
Logan: Well I don’t want you to pay for me to be there. But: I am not ashamed to ask you (or anyone else, for that matter) for a loan. And this would only be a matter of days. So even though The Responsible Thing would be to say that I can’t go … I kind of figured that I could make this one work.
Mike: Well. You have met the other participants of this dinner maybe two or three times? I think it’d be weird to ask them to lend you the money. So I guess I should be the one to lend you the money for my birthday dinner.
Logan: Oh god, that sounds so terrible.
Mike: I know you’re good for it. You have always paid me back, although I think it’s funny that you need to borrow money from me to do something nice for me.
Logan: Yes, well. This is a bad week for me, monetarily, Mike Dang. Between taxes and running out of money for rent and and then having to borrow money from you for your own birthday, I feel LIKE AN IDIOT.
Mike: When you get your next paycheck, we’re going to sit down and work out some kind of plan so that it doesn’t all disappear again before you get your next one. We will probably write about it for this here website. We will help you GET A GRIP.
Logan: But also, Mike. Being responsible is so BORING. Like sitting down and making a plan for my money sounds like the most boring thing. Also: If I become “good with money,” will I still be me? I mean, you are very lucky in that the things you like to do line up with not spending money (am I wrong or do you truly enjoy cooking meals for yourself and doing laundry and just being the most responsible and excellent person ever?) I missed that gene, somehow. I just don’t know if my personality and “being responsible” jive.
Mike: Yeah, I really do like the things I do, fortunately! But your identity is not defined by whether you are good or bad with money. You are a person who loves children (especially your nephew). You love staying on top of pop culture. You love nesting, and singing in the office, and not eating meat. And more than anything, you are kind, and you like doing kind things for people. But you cannot buy a round of drinks, or buy nice wedding gifts, or buy the birthday boy dinner if you don’t have any money. You can’t be bad at money and be this amazing kind person that you want to be
Logan: MIKE DANG YOU ARE TOO NICE TO ME STOP IT. And for the record, I don’t actually like children. Only my nephew. But I see what you mean! YOU MAKE A GOOD POINT. I mean, I guess it’s one I’ve figured out before, but I usually just use credit cards to to put off the inevitable realization I need to deal with my money. But: now they’re all cut up or maxed out, so it’s time to get real, I guess.
Mike: Well, let’s get this show on the road then! You have always had a little hitch in your get-along. It’s going to take a little work, but we’ll make you better with your money.
Logan: Ugh, I don’t wannnnnaaaaaa. Also: This narrative seems totally contrived. I’d like to state for the record that I’ve been talking about how I’m going to be better with money for years, and nothing has happened yet, so I really dont expect any major transformation. Certainly not overnight. Maybe I’ll get approved for a new credit card! YOU NEVER KNOW.