9. Economics

A: If you're a Rockefeller, New York is really your town. Can you imagine?

I don't understand anything except GREEN BILLS. Not negotiable bonds, not personal checks, not Traveller's Checks.

And if you give anybody a hundred-dollar bill in the SUPERMARKET, they call the manager.

Money is SUSPICIOUS, because people think you're not supposed to have it, even if you do have it.

I'm PARANOID now when I go to D'Agostino's because I always have another SHOPPING BAG with me and they tell you that you have to check it, but I won't. A lady doesn't have to check her pocketbook, so I won't check my bag. It's principle. So then I'm paranoid they'll think I'm stealing, so I hold my head up high and LOOK RICH. Because I don't steal. I go right to the dairy counter with all my money and I'm so happy because I'm going to go down all the counters and buy things for my windowsill in my bedroom.

Rich people don't carry their money in wallets or Gucci this-es or Valentino thats. They carry their money in a business envelope. In a long, business envelope. And the tens have a paper clip on them, so do the fives and twenties. And the money is usually new. It's sent over by special messenger from the bank offices—or their husbands' offices. They just sign for it. And it stays there until they have to dish out a twenty to their daughter.

The best way I like to carry money, actually, is messily. Crumpled wads. A paper bag is good.

One day I was having lunch with a princess and she had this little SCOTCH PURSE that was in the motif of a PLAID CAP with a POM-POM. We were at the Women's Exchange on Madison Avenue. And she took this crisp money out of her purse and she said, "You see? I fold it in the Rothschild manner. It lasts longer that way. I've been doing it all my life." She folded each bill separately, lengthwise, and then folded it again lengthwise. All new money. All in a little stack. The theory is that it lasts longer. That's the Rothschild way of folding money—that you can't see it.

That's The Rothschild Story.

I had a very good French wallet that I bought in Germany for a hundred and fifty dollars. For the big money. The big-size foreign money. But then in New York it ripped and I took it to the shoemaker and by mistake he stitched up the part where you put the paper money, so I can only use it now for change.

Cash. I just am not happy when I don't have it. The minute I have it i have to spend it. And I just buy STUPID THINGS.

Checks aren't money.

When I have fifty or sixty dollars in my pocket, I can go into Brentano's and buy The Life Of Rose Kennedy and say, "May I please have a register receipt?"

And the more receipts I get, the bigger the thrill. They're even getting to be like money to me now.

And when I go to the numbers-racket newspaper greeting card store in the neighborhood because it's late and everything else is closed, I go in and I'm very CHIC. Because I have money. I buy Harper's Bazaar and then I ask for a receipt. The newsboy yells at me and then he writes it on plain white paper. I won't accept that. "List the magazines, please. And put the date. And write the name of the store at the top." That makes it feel even more like money. The reason for doing it is I want that man to know I am an HONEST CITIZEN, and I SAVE MY STUBS and I PAY MY TAXES.

Then I go and eat, just because I have money, not because I'm hungry. I have it and I have to spend it before I go to sleep. So if it's one in the morning and I'm still awake, I take a cab to the all-night pharmacy and buy whatever I've been brainwashed with that night on TV.

I'll buy anything in a drugstore in the middle of the night. I'll make the store stay open a little late for me while I finish up, because they know I have money, so that's prestige. Right? The next step is getting to know the store so well they let me charge. I tell the store I don't like to get bills in the mail because it DEPRESSES ME. "Just tell me what I owe you now," I say, "and I'll come back next week when I have more cash and pay you. Give me a bill, and when I bring it back you can mark it PAID."

After you PAY SOMEBODY BACK you never run into them any more. But before that, they're EVERYWHERE.

When I have a lot of money, my tips are just ridiculous. If the fare comes to a dollar thirty, you know, I say just keep two dollars . . . But if I don't have money, I ask for twenty cents back.

I gave a cab driver a hundred dollars once. In the dark I thought it was a dollar. The fare was sixty cents (this is before the fares went up the last time) and I told him to keep it. And that's always depressed me.

I sometimes get into a cab without money and go someplace to pick up some money. To the bank or to the office or to pick up some that's been left for me with a doorman. Now, on the way up in the cab without any money, I would have to do such an act with the cab driver. He's got that plastic divider-shield up which automatically makes you feel like a criminal—that you're going to shoot him or hold him up. So you've got to really convince that guy and make him like you, that you're just picking up an envelope with the doorman. So I say, "I'll leave my paper bag with you." But then I write down their license number in case they split and I run in to get my envelope. On a certain run that I make a lot, I usually pick up the envelope and then go next door to the stationery store to cash it. If they can't cash it, I have to go next door to Riker's. They can never cash it. Then the tie shop. They can always cash it. Then I get back in and I say to the driver, "Take me back where I came from." Well, that little trip has cost me half of what I've gone to pick up (with the tip that I'd already promised the driver). So then I have to go and blow money in a health food store. I blow some on pink organic toothpaste, because it brought back memories of Elizabeth Arden's pink toothpaste. I want to find something that tastes like the old-fashioned Ipana in the yellow tube.

I only take cabs because I like to talk. If they don't put the meter on, halfway through the ride I ask them, "Why don't you turn the meter on?" "Well, it's such a short trip, I thought—" I say, "You thought, you thought! If you had said to me, 'Can I make it on my own?' I would have said sure, given you what it would have cost and a tip besides. Now we're here, and there's nothing on the meter, and by rights I don't owe you anything." And at that they have to say, "No . . ." So I drop a quarter in. I say, "You see? It's better to ask. You can't beat the system."

You can't talk on the news yet about how to beat the system, and that's what people want to know about.

It's great to buy friends. I don't think there's anything wrong with having a lot of money and attracting people with it. Look who you're attracting: EVERYBODY!

I know somebody who is very rich and all day long his paranoia is that people are only around him for his money. But then, he's always the first to tell you he's just flown in his private plane to Washington, D.C., but took a commercial airline to LA.

If you look like a rag, but if you've got fifteen dollars in your pocket, you can still impress people that you've got money. All you have to do is go down to the liquor store and buy a bottle of champagne. You can impress a whole roomful of people and with luck maybe you'll never see them again, so they'll always think you've got money. I never can have money and pretend I'm poor. I can only be poor and pretend I'm rich.

I know a woman who calls somebody up every afternoon and says, "I'll pay you a hundred dollars to fuck me." Fabulous. She makes sure they're very attractive and from good families and everything, but they need maybe a few more dollars to spend on wheels for their Mercedes. This girl does not have diamonds, nothing she wears costs that much, and yet there's "money" in her nose and in her ears and in her brain. It's in her cheekbones, too, it gives her structure. A delivery man from the coffee shop might come in and you could ask him, "Look at her. Is she poor or rich?" And he'd know. Because the face is "money." She can be walking down the street smoking a cigarette and she can hail a cab in just such a dainty way that the whole affair changes.

I hate Sundays: there's nothing open except plant stores and bookstores.

Money is money. It doesn't matter if I've worked hard or easy for it. I spend if the same.

I like money on the wall. Say you were going to buy a $200,000 painting. I think you should take that money, tie it up, and hang it on the wall. Then when someone visited you the first thing they would see is the money on the wall.

I don't think everybody should have money. It shouldn't be for everybody—you wouldn't know who was important. How boring. Who would you gossip about? Who would you put down? Never that great feeling of somebody saying "Can I borrow twenty-five dollars?"

Christmas is when you have to go to the bank and get crisp money to put in envelopes from the stationery store for tips. After you tip the doorman, he goes on sick leave or quits and the new one isn't impressed.

I love to get the best orchestra seat for a Broadway show, leave after the first act, and catch the end of the show next door, the best seat there, too. And I have two stubs. That's work because I'm "covering" it.

I was never interested in a plain checkbook—I only wanted the desk model because that has a lot of status, I think.

LYING IN THE BATHTUB WITH A PILLOW BEHIND MY HEAD MAKES ME FEEL VERY RICH—the pillow that I sent away for for $3.95 and a boxtop. Maybe it's an illusion. Of grandeur. But when you pay the phone bills every month that I do, you know you have the money.

It's fun to buy a lot of things for a little. To get a big shopping bag in Lamston's—to pay the thirty cents for the bag, and then to fill it. You've blown maybe sixty dollars in Lamston's, and you get home and you put everything on the bed and you take the Comet and you wash the prices on the tops off where it's written "$1.69." Then, the minute you've put all the stuff away, you want to go shopping again. So you go to the Village. You turn your nose up at one plant shop because you want them to think you're going to the expensive plant shop across the street. And then you want to impress that plant man, so you go in and you say, "I'll take it." Then you bring those home and your room is filled with flowers. That makes you feel so rich you want to leave your door open just a crack so the people across the hall can see you're rich. Not enough so you think they're going to rob you, though.

When I had a lot of cash once, I sprang for my first color television. The "tingle" in black and white was driving me crazy. I thought maybe if I saw all the commercials in color they'd look new and I'd have more things to go out and buy again.

Korvettes. In cash. I even wanted remote control, but that was in another department. I started taking it home, but then I got paranoid. The box said "Sony" and "Korvettes" and I wanted it to say "Lamston's," because I was taking it up my elevator, up my hall, into my apartment, and with that wrapping, and with having to throw out the white styrofoam that shows its shape, I thought, "I won't have this for long."

Can't I deduct liquor if I have to get high to talk and talking's my business?

I have a Fantasy about Money: I'm walking down the street and I hear somebody say—in a whisper—"There goes the richest person in the world."

I don't look at dates on nickels. It could be from 1910, I wouldn't save it. I'd spend it with a dime for a Clark Bar.

I hate PENNIES. I wish they'd stop making them altogether. I would never save them. I don't have the time. I like to say in stores, "Oh forget it, keep those pennies, it makes my French wallet too heavy."

CHANGE can get to be a burden, but it can also come in very handy when you have no money. You hunt for it, you look under the BED, you go through all the COAT POCKETS, saying, "Maybe I left a quarter there or there . . ." sometimes it can be the difference between buying a PACK OF CIGARETTES or not, to only be able to dig up sixty nine cents instead of seventy cents. You HUNT and HUNT and HUNT for that LAST PENNY. The only time YOU LIKE A PENNY is when you need ONE MORE.

And then they ask you in the stores, "Do you have a penny?" and then you have to go SCROUNGING. Or else you do have a penny but you just don't feel like looking . . .

I asked a cabbie the other day what money meant to him. "Good times," he said. "I take my wife out, I enjoy my wife, I enjoy going out with her, so when I have money I take her out."

I feel the same way.

Then I asked this cabbie how he felt when people gave him pennies. "Pennies? I never get pennies.—No, wait. 1 shouldn't say that. I got five pennies the other day from Gina Lollobrigida."

I asked him to tell me about it.

"There's nothing to tell, she's a very nice person, she likes New York, she doesn't like Hollywood, she's traveling all over, I think she's left now, and she's writing a book."


If they made everything work out to be an even amount, pennies could be the weights on the bottom of the flowerpots.

Money is the MOMENT to me. Money is my MOOD.

To some people money is to buy today what they think will have value tomorrow. GET IT CHEAP, they say. Well, I don't have anything that goes below 1955. I swear. Nothing. Maybe a pencil I borrow from somebody might be from 1947. You don't know.

American money is very well-designed, really. I like it better than any other kind of money. I've thrown it in the East River down by the Staten Island Ferry just to see it float.

What we're all looking for is someone who doesn't live there, just pays for it.

If I think something I buy is worth more money than I pay, and if I like the people I'm buying from, I have to tell them they're undercharging me. I don't feel right until I tell them. If I buy a sandwich that's very very filling, and if the person I buy it from doesn't know how great it is, I have to tell him.

I don't feel like I get germs when I hold money. Money has a certain kind of amnesty. I feel, when I'm holding money, that the dollar bill has no more germs on it than my hands do. When I pass my hand over money, it becomes perfectly clean to me. I don't know where it's been—who's touched it and with what—but that's all erased the moment I touch it.

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