Thursday, October 1, 2009


By : Mr. Sidney J. Bookings, C.P.A., Chairman and Senior Spokesperson; Graduate, University of Pennsylvania (Accounting Program 1982); Consultant in Wealth Management, Morgan Stanley & Co. (1983-2002); Founder, Bookings, Holderman & Petty, P.C., an Accounting Firm servicing Fortune 250 Companies; Statistics Enthusiast; Married.

According to an old adage, "money can't buy happiness." Throughout our society, we learn that emotional satisfaction only derives from human contact and genuine spiritual fulfillment. But we, Americans United to Resolve Every Single Life Problem by Cutting a Check in the Appropriate Amount, disagree. We do not believe that happiness is about emotion. Nor do we believe that happiness is difficult to obtain. Rather, we believe anyone can find happiness as long as he or she receives a sufficiently large check in the circumstances.

Unhappiness stems from problems. In many cases, money causes problems. In those same cases, problems go away when the person obtains a sufficiently large monetary amount. Checks represent a written instruction to a bank to pay a person ("the payee") a fixed amount of money at a definite time. See, e.g., Uniform Commercial Code (U.C.C.) Article 3, § 3-104(e). In that light, it is not necessary to supply "emotion" or "comfort" to a person suffering from a problem. Rather, the person merely needs to receive a check in an amount necessary to alleviate the problem. Once the problem dissipates, so does the unhappiness. And when unhappiness disappears, happiness replaces it. That is why we believe that checks in the appropriate amount lead to happiness.

Evidence supports our position. Consider the unhappy man who struggles at two jobs to pay rent, child support, medical expenses, credit card debt and a car note. "If I only had $15,000 next month, I would be able to pay these back charges. I would feel so much better if I wasn't so worried about these bills, etc." This man is unhappy because he has not paid identifiable financial obligations. In these circumstances, emotional tenderness or even love will not make him feel better. He needs money. Thus, a check for $16,987.23 offers him an almost magical gateway to happiness. Not only will a check in that amount redress his problem in full, but it will also give him an additional $1,987.23 to spend on himself. In this way, we see that checks in the appropriate amount not only dispel problems, but also bring genuine happiness.

But checks can only bring happiness if they authorize payment for the appropriate amount. This inquiry depends on the circumstances. For example, if a woman gives birth at a hospital without insurance and racks up a $2,987,712.65 bill, a check for $45.00 will not redress her problem. In this sense, a check alone does not resolve her problem; only a check in the appropriate amount will resolve her problem. As much as we like checks, we acknowledge that a check's happiness-inducing qualities only arise to the extent it authorizes payment in the appropriate amount. Problems exist when people owe a particular amount. Unless a check authorizes payment for that amount--or a greater amount--it does not yield its maximum happiness-inducing effect. As Americans United to Resolve Every Single Life Problem by Cutting a Check in the Appropriate Amount, we insist that our checks pay us the right amount, every time.

Despite checks' proven ability to solve problems, there are those who claim that a check--no matter its amount--cannot solve certain problems. These critics say that no check can make a crippled man feel better about his body, nor can a check repair the emotional pain that flows from heartbreak, loss or depression.

We disagree with all these assertions. For one, a check might not restore a legless man to health. But a check can symbolically make him whole. If you can't get your legs back, it's better to be legless with a $50,000 check in your hand than legless with no check in your hand. Second, while a check might not completely repair the emotional damage that flows from human relationships, it certainly can mitigate any emotional problem. For example, the most heartbroken man would feel a lot better if he unexpectedly received a $10,000 check in the mail. It is always nice to receive an unexpected check. It can brighten anyone's day, no matter how many problems they face. And if the check pays the appropriate amount, it can dispel any problem.

Although checks in the appropriate amount can solve any problem, checks paying an inappropriate amount occasionally cause unhappiness. For example, let us assume that a man suffers an automobile accident and pays $5,797.23 for repairs. He then receives a check from his insurance company paying only $500.00; the check will not induce happiness. To the contrary, it will induce anger, frustration or even unhappiness. But this is not the check's fault. Checks only cause negative reactions when they pay an inappropriate amount. By contrast, if the check in this man's case had paid $5,900.00, he would not have been angry, frustrated or unhappy. Rather, he would have felt relieved, excited and joyful. In essence, this illustrates a key fact about checks: They induce happiness and solve problems when they pay an appropriate amount, but induce negative reactions--and even unhappiness--when they pay an inappropriate amount.

We support checks' happiness-inducing qualities. We believe that checks should be a force for good in our society, not worry. To that extent, we stand for checks in the appropriate amount. As all the examples above show, Americans have problems. In all those examples, we saw that a check in the appropriate amount solves those problems, even when the problems apparently have nothing to do with money. Sufficient money sums always generate happiness, no matter the circumstances. A check for $9,000,000 will make even the saddest man happy, even if his mother, son and wife died on the same day. Greater amounts transcend any life adversity. We reject any claim that "money can't buy happiness." True, money might not literally buy happiness: There is no "Wholesale Happiness Warehouse" or "Happiness in a Box" for sale at a local outlet. But checks in the appropriate amount always remove obstacles blocking Americans' path to happiness. In our view, that is tantamount to happiness.

Tell the world that you can prevail over adversity as long as you receive a check in the appropriate amount. Stand up for your own well-being and comfort. Refuse to feel depressed any longer. Get your hands on a check in the appropriate amount. Every problem has a price; do not fool yourself into thinking that a check can't solve it. Checks can solve problems. They simply must pay the appropriate amount.

Stop making life so complicated. You just need enough checks to make your problems vanish for good. And when your problems are gone, you will be happy.

Stop the madness. Stop the delusion. Get back to basics. Join Americans United to Resolve Every Single Life Problem by Cutting a Check in the Appropriate Amount.

Don't worry. The check is in the mail.

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