The Atkinsons were a nouveau riche upper middle-class couple. He was a finance geek. She liked to spend.
Wait, I think I’m forgetting something. At least twenty times a day, each of them would call out to Jesus. Not because of spiritual or religious reasons. Just as an exclamation. As in, “Jesus, what a beautiful dress!” Or, “Jesus, a 4% drop in the Dow!” At least they didn’t abuse.
Neither wanted kids. He was happy putting in 14 – 16 hours a day, sometimes more, tapping world markets. Jesus would be called upon for a wide range of underlying entities ranging from Uranium to Gold to Soy Beans to Lean Hogs to Goldman Sachs. He was thorough, meticulous, systematic and successful.
She was a by-word in the local malls. Upon her foot-fall, shop-keepers would scurry to put their most expensive exhibits forward. He once sat her down and gave her a 20 minute lecture on saving. “Jesus, we need to save…” were his opening words. It had an effect, and she started to save 10% of his now 7-figure income. She would listen to her man.
As long as she adhered to the 10% savings cut-off, he would never deny her anything. The sheer words “Jesus, I love those shoes!” just needed to escape from her, and he would get her those shoes. No matter how ridiculous or how expensive her desires were, they would be fulfilled.
He would work from home. At times, when he was working on mergers and acquisitions, he would wake up with New Zealand, and shut shop with New York. That left just one and a half hours for sleep. At these times, she would serve the best coffee every few hours. “Jesus, what amazing coffee!”, he would exclaim now and again. She would bribe the pesky neighbour kid with a bar of chocolate to make as little noise as possible. This is when the Atkinson kitchen would go gourmet. She would sense his stress levels and would up the ante in hospitality notch by notch. Was it surprising when words like “Jesus, what mind-blowing food!” boomed through the Atkinson corridors at every meal?
Her worst of spending habits did not make her a bad human being. On the contrary, she was a faithful, doting wife and a very large-hearted donor. Most of last year’s purchases would be donated. She derived pleasure from making others happy.
The Atkinsons had an excellent balance going. They were careful with their words, and with the company they kept. Slowly, she learnt how to cut cheques and keep books. He would fool around in the kitchen now and then and dish up a pasta. He made it to Fortune 500. She became the head of one of the world’s largest charity organizations.
Of course they’re still together. I wish for every couple that they find the happiness and balance enjoyed by Chris and Jane Atkinson.