It’s the really unpleasant crap that eats up all our money. The very best things, a first kiss, a sunny day or a well-behaved child certainly cannot be bought, so money isn’t the only route to happiness.
I am womansplaining this particular saying because whilst the above is how most people, human people, interpret “The Best Things in Life Are Free”, that is not how Grandad takes it. Grandad thinks it means “Stuff is best, if you GET IT FOR FREE”.
He Loves A Bargain
Grandad LOVES a bargain. This is great when he’s passing a coat shop with a big sale on, as his compulsion results in an urge to buy a coat for everyone he’s ever met if they happen to be the size that’s available at the largest discount.
It was less great when he met Evil Step-Grandma-One, who looked like a pig with a giant arse, but she was 10 years younger, which constituted a bargain in Grandad’s eyes. He didn’t like her, but he was compelled to show off to his friends about her nonetheless.
There is another downside to Grandad’s quest to pay less. Have you ever wondered why Grandad’s roof leaks? Or, why mice have opened up a fairground in his kitchen? Even though, as he buys coats for the whole world, he clearly has the money to fix these things.
If OUR boiler were to break, we would have to raise a substantial amount to pay a plumber, preferably corgi-registered, to come and fix it. It would be a huge problem for us as, best case scenario, we’d have to raise the funds, find a reliable plumber and wait in for the repair.
Grandad would approach this situation somewhat differently… Grandad would start by ringing everyone he knows to “tell on” the boiler.
His next step is to continue in abject horror that anything this terrible could befall HIM. Next he will explain why this is different, and worse, than what has ever happened to anyone else EVER, and seek to elicit some kind of consensus about how terrible the boiler’s behaviour is, perhaps in an attempt to shame the boiler back into action?
If that fails, he then tries good old percussive maintenance.
Can You Fix It?
His next step, and this is the particularly unusual part of his response, is to ask if YOU can fix it.
We then have a long convoluted session of a game I like to call “annoy the hell out of someone with stupid but detailed questions to see if they give in and come round to take a look”.
Once he finishes ringing everyone he knows, if that still hasn’t worked he simply moves on to ANYONE else he comes into contact with, distant neighbours, work colleagues, complete strangers…
Amazingly, this scattergun approach, coupled with that weird streak of luck that he has (or pact with the devil, whatever) eventually combines to result in locating someone who will fix things, either for beer or a reduced rate.
However, because of the length of time this approach takes to work, it does have the more predictable outcome that Grandad always has at least one large item in need of urgent repair at any given time, and that some of the repairs he has had done are of the quality one would expect if someone was working for beer.
…Never touch his electrics!