HAVE YOU ever ‘forgotten’ to tell your other half about a car you acquired? Mate of mine (good morning Terry) recently had a heart attack. Took himself off to the Emergency Department, got hooked up to all the machines and somehow managed to remain stoic and good humoured, in his attempts to entertain the nurses.
Eventually, white as a sheet and frankly terrified, he was joined bedside by his beloved of many decades. Her concern was all for his well being. His concerns were somewhat more mechanical.
If he was not going to make it, he said, she ought know there was the matter of a recent acquisition of which she was not yet aware. It would be somewhat tragic if he took the location of said valuable conveyance with him to the other side. A 1920s Bentley is hard to overlook, but if the family is blissfully unaware of its existence how can it be included in the estate?
Apparently within Terry’s family this is known as the “Jack Bourke conversation”.
Jack was a well known punter who took a bad turn many years ago and was given little prospect of making it through.
The people in white coats gave him the firm impression that putting his affairs in order was a most pressing and sensible move.
From his hospital bed, he whispered to his wife to go to the shed, find the lawnmower and fossick through the grass catcher. Therein she would find a lump of money.
Indeed a stash that was in the day enough to acquire a comfortable suburban allotment adorned with typical suburban home This was Jack Bourke’s float for his secret and very active punting life.
Mrs Bourke set aside her bedside vigil for just long enough to race home, unlock the shed and sift through the grass clippings to retrieve the loot. Quickly banked, it was a most welcome find.
Astonishingly Jack went on to make a miraculous recovery, although the stash did not.
History does not record whether he was in future able to recover trust in proportion to the recovery in his health.
So back to Terry. There he is, on the gurney, fading in and out, monitoring the monitors that he is hooked up to and wincing every time there is an irregularity to the beeps.
“Easier to seek forgiveness than permission” has always been the mantra. And what better time to seek forgiveness from your life partner than when her concern is for your survival rather than your indulgence in yet another mechanical folly? She can hardly throw a tantrum as the last ever conversation before you slip away?
So the small matter of the family fortune being frittered away is pushed aside with a tutt-tutting and relieved hugs all round. Upon hospital discharge there is no domestic discharge about the Bentley.
Myself I have always adopted a policy of absolute disclosure. Not always before purchase I admit but within a short interval. Well, I think a few months can be described as a short interval, and I might mumble something in passing while a loud aircraft is low over the house during a hail storm with the music turned up loud. “But I told you about that one….” is a card that can only be played very occasionally.
There was one occasion when a fellow tragic was going to a classic car auction and I had to be at work at the same time. I casually said to him ‘if the Messerschmitt three wheeler goes for under $7k then bid for me’ and promptly forgot about it. The next day the early morning ABC Radio News bulletin included the sensational results of the fabulous classic car auction the night before – featuring the record price some lunatic had paid for the oddball bubble car made after the war by the German fighter-plane company Messerschmitt.
My beloved insists I had not told her, although I am sure I had. That my proxy bidder got carried away and kept bidding over my limit was of little to no interest to her. Nor was the car!