Thursday, June 19, 2008

Father's Day Finances: Mamawala

One last Father's Day gift - my wife, after talking to her mom handed me some cash. I looked at her quizzically - not that I mind being handed cash.

"It's from my mama," she explained. Although of course I am grateful that my mother-in-law likes me, this is, however, a worrisome sign that her usual good sense is failing.

But here is the thing, it was my wife's money - and we basically pool our money so what was I given exactly?

My wife shook her head, "Just take it - my mama said to do this so we have to do it."

Suddenly I understood the hawala system, one of the informal financial network used by diaspora communities to transfer money. The system works entirely on trust, one broker will release money strictly on the say-so of a broker on the other side of the world.

Mamacita is running her own network, and I'd best go along with the mamawala.

So what will I do with my good fortune? I'll take my inspiration from former major league pitcher Tug McGraw, who, when he was asked how he would spend his $75,000 salary (this was 1975) said, "Ninety percent I'll spend on good times, women and Irish whiskey. The other 10 percent I'll probably waste."

I'll do like good old Tug McGraw, an old, sluggish, married Tug McGraw who needs to be up early the next morning.

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