There’s a line in a Kanye West song where Jay-Z raps,
“I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man.”
I repeat that line to myself from time-to-time. I love it because, whether you like rap or not, the line is quite simply, clever. What a difference a comma makes (As does “comma”, vs “coma” as I just typed and am laughing). I also like the line from my perspective as a business woman (I work in product design and branding). I’m a business, (Wo)man.
When I was a little girl, carb counting with insulin:carb ratios didn’t exist (diagnosed in ’79) but instead there was the Exchange Program. If you don’t know about this, I won’t bore you with the details. If you lived through Exchanges, I won’t subject you to having to endure it again. I will however say that carb counting and bolus ratios are certainly an improvement in both diabetes care and quality of life.
On Halloween, I would go trick-or-treating like every other kid in my neighborhood. Looking back, it really was ALL about the costume (hell, it’s still ALL about the costume and I may or may not, occasionally wear a Pocahontas or Cleopatra wig in my apartment on really cold evenings because A. wigs are warm and B. those wigs are pretty amazing and make me feel like the coolest girl in school).
My parents would let me have some candy. The whole “you’re diabetic, and can NOT have candy” thing wasn’t exactly part of my life BUT “you can have ONE piece of this tonight and then a piece tomorrow night” was. FYI – T1D didn’t even exist as a term in those days.
So my parents set me on a path that I believe started me as a business woman (no comma… yet). When I came home from trick-or-treating, I would get down to work. I had to set-up my store on the dining room table! I grew-up in a neighborhood with many houses, very close together, which of course meant LOTS of Halloween candy. I’d empty my bag on the rarely used dining room table and start combining “like” items. All snickers on one side, Reeses Peanut Butter Cups stacked in a pile, Milky Ways to the left, and so on. My Mom made index cards with prices. Everything cost $.05 or $.10 and every so often, a full size candy bar would be in the bag (say WHAT?!?) and that was $.25. I would strategically position the candy and index card pricing (hello future merchandising) and then announce that my store was open for business. My parents would enter and make their purchases. I have to assume they gave my little brother some coins too because in later years, he became one of my customers too. The older couple next door even shopped at my dining room table candy store.
I know today’s parents of T1D kids can bolus for candy and this whole story is incredibly out-of-date, but since I don’t have kids, happen to be painfully sentimental and am currently treating a low BG with Halloween candy, I think about this series of events.
I had a savings account as a little kid at a local bank and a Savings Passbook. When I received money for ANYTHING, I had to put some of it in the bank. Into MY saving’s account (I thought I was Richie Rich after my first Holy Communion which is pretty amusing now). When My Mom or Dad had to go to the bank I would bring along my Savings Passbook. My Dad would lift me up to hand the book to the teller who would stamp the “new” amount in my account. I would deposit my Halloween candy sales AND then get to see how much I had accrued in interest since my last bank check-in. I was fascinated. Kids would run around in the bank. Not me, suckers. I was a kid with a Savings Passbook and I stood in-line with the adults. My Dad explained that because I let the bank hold my money and that they used it (OMG, THEY USE MY MONEY), that they had to pay me to use it and that was “interest”. Get out of town! My money makes money?!?!
So here’s my thinking for Halloween. Some creative thinking on the part of my parents along with my broken pancreas helped me learn about money. And that’s where I get back to Jay-Z. I am now a business(wo)man, but I am ALSO a business, man (well, woman).
My grandmother made this incredible costume.