Taken for a Ride, Many Times Over - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Taken for a Ride, Many Times Over
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SundayMay 1, 2022

I slept late today, partly because I was in a sort of shock. I had driven down to my house in Rancho Mirage to soak up some sun. I brought with me my dear pal, Judah, and my beautiful long-time friend, X. Now, X is a lovely middle aged woman whom I knew very well a long time ago.

She had vanished from my life about fifteen years ago. Supposedly, she had married an electronics engineer from the Baltic States and moved all around the U.S. and then to Northern Italy.

Oddly enough, I could never find any reference to her husband, supposedly a prominent scientist in a famous field, anywhere online. Then, bang, one day she appeared at my door of my house in Malibu with a sad story.

Her husband was dying of a lethal metabolic disease. He was out of a job. She and he were broke. She had well-to-do parents (supposedly) but they would not help her. So, of course, Benjy was selected to help. I gave her a LOT of money because, after all, her husband was dying.

She went back to Italy to keep him company as he lay ill, and she kept asking for more and more money, which I gave her. Finally, after a prolonged convalescence, he died. That meant she needed even more money.

Of course I gave it to her.

Then she moved back to Sunny Cal and needed more money for that — rental deposit, furniture, deposit on new car. You can guess who gave it to her.

For some months after that, she was unemployed and too sad to work. Guess again who supported her.

Now, bear in mind, this woman is not a prostitute. She was a friend and a friend in need.

Last night, as I was writing her another requested check, she demanded to know why it wasn’t for more. I told her that she was a great woman, but she was intelligent, healthy, well dressed. She could possibly work, the way the rest of us do.

“Oh,” she exclaimed, “I can’t do that. I’m still mourning.”

“But it’s been about four months,” I said. “Didn’t he have life insurance?”

“No, he didn’t,” she said. “Plus he had borrowed fifty thousand dollars from my parents and I still have to repay that.”

“OK,” I said. “Well, I have two large houses filled with files from lawsuits where I worked for plaintiffs as an expert witness. You can start out in nice quiet surroundings by going to my office in Malibu and sorting those files. You can start tomorrow. The pay will be great and you have an ocean view.”

“Oh, I can’t do that,” she said. “That’s half an hour from my house. And my shoulders get very stiff.”

“OK,” I said. “But now it’s very late and I’m a bit tired. So no negotiating right now. I’ll give you a check and then we’ll talk about it.” She took the check and I left.

But when I got home, I looked on line. No mention of her “husband’s” death. I’m at a loss. In every way. God help me. I am so gullible.

But luckily, I have the best wife on earth, and that human being is my salvation. I am married to a literal goddess. And so I am saved. Pay attention. If she wants to marry you for money, don’t do it. If money is any big part of it, stay away.

Ben Stein
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Ben Stein is a writer, actor, economist, and lawyer living in Beverly Hills and Malibu. He writes “Ben Stein’s Diary” for every issue of The American Spectator.
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