My father is a very social person and he has a large collection of interesting friends. Chip is perhaps the most interesting person I’ve ever met.
Chip experienced the 1960s in a way that I’ve never seen in anyone else, before or since. He basically embodies the concept of “love everybody and live however you want to live.” He’ll do pretty much anything you can think of on a lark, and he’ll often just wander off and do something interesting that pops into his head, even in the middle of a conversation.
Chip is the only person I’ve ever met who wakes up in the morning and truly doesn’t worry at all about paying bills. Why? He has no expenses at all, as far as I can determine. He just lives out of his backpack and the trunk of his car – he wanders around in a beat-up old automobile that he keeps running by completely understanding how it works from top to bottom.
Although he works a steady job, he does it only because he enjoys tinkering with machinery; if he were ever redirected to another task, I have little doubt he’d just walk out of the factory and never go back. He takes his weekly paycheck to the bank, puts most of it into a savings account, and keeps enough cash to buy food or whatever else strikes his whimsy. If he decided to stop working right now, it would not matter to his finances because I’m quite sure he has a lot of money in the bank. He has a lot of it in large certificates of deposit that he just keeps rolling over.
I have an uncle who is worth more than a million dollars, but he is incredibly stressed out all of the time. Chip hasn’t a care in the world, lives out of his car, and knows that he’ll never really want for anything ever again. Who is the rich man?
What will he do for the rest of his life, you ask? I wouldn’t be surprised if he passes away doing something crazy like jumping thirty feet into a lake. But I do know one thing for certain: he’ll keep living his life as he has for the last forty years or so and he’ll just pass away when his body gives out on him.
Every time I think of Chip, I wonder what it really means to be rich.