Being of Sound Mind and Body or What to do with Your Worldly Goods by Trevor Plumbly

Taking Your Treasure with You

The Ancient Egyptians were masters when it came to ensuring that their rulers were properly prepared and adequately supplied for the journey upstairs. All manner of bodily preparation was carried out before the dear old thing was boxed up and shunted into his personal pyramid. Presumably, in those days, it was considered that he might need a bit of gear to aid his passage, so they filled the rest of the space with all sorts of valuable stuff. Although probably not the first example of trying to take it with you when you go, it remains one of the most impressive. Since then the concept of taking it with you has been proved futile, which presented a problem, ‘Where to leave it when you do go?’ It’s been a worry for the chosen ones since they invented property, money and well…stuff; not only for the owners when it comes to disposing of it in the best manner possible, but equally for those prepared to grease the wheels in order to get it easily and quickly. Persuading Aunt Cynthia to leave her loot to you instead of the cats’ home is a fair enough ploy: she gets regular visits and feels important in her declining years and the cunning buggers inherit. Others throughout history, have, of course, taken more direct action and have either ended up stinking rich or just stinking.

Leaving a Legacy Behind

Interestingly, from the early 19th century, the British upper class didn’t seem to have too many problems leaving things behind. By that time there was so much intermarriage going on, it must have been bloody near impossible to leave anything outside the family, so the titles, the baubles and the family piles were duly passed on to the next generation, effectively providing Lord Muck-Muck with a continuing stream of human monuments to his greatness. Over in the States it was a far more interesting situation: their gods and peers were Rockefeller, Morgan, Getty, Hurst etc. These people made wealth and then bought as much tradition and culture as they could, looting half of Europe in the process, transmogrifying themselves from ‘robber barons’ and ‘industrialists’ to patrons and benefactors. But they must have eventually realised that having all the art goodies and buckets of spondoolicks does not put one’s name in the eternal lights, so to speak. But these guys didn’t make squillions sitting on their philanthropic bums; they were men of action, they funded entire museums, art galleries and every other form of cultural warehouse willing to put their name over its portals. Looking back, rather cynically, I suppose the Pharaoh’s concept of me and my stuff going upstairs together has been swapped for ‘Don’t forget I was here.’

My Last Will and Testament

I’ve got a few bob; not enough to send anyone into concocting murderous plots or to tempt artistic institutions into making seductive overtures, so there won’t be a ‘Plumbly’ institute or any other form of immortality, as I honestly think it’s a bit greedy to attempt to live twice in any shape or form. I shall spend as much money as I comfortably can without injuring myself and, in my dotage, when the grandchildren visit, I plan to rest a palsied, liver-spotted hand casually on a document titled ‘WILL’ in order to extort the same attention as the aforementioned Aunt Cynthia and, when I do conk it, if they say, ‘You had to love the sly old bastard,’ then bugger you Rothschild, Guggenheim et al. That’s what I call a legacy!

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