Coming Clean


OK…something’s come up that I just can’t keep quiet about anymore…

The other day a friend of mine was out and about and overheard someone talking bad about me and my family. Apparently the man said, and I quote: “They’re all just living off of Amber’s millions!”

Amber, for those of you don’t know, is my little sister who several years ago won a million dollars when she was named the winner of CBS’s “Survivor: All Stars.”

Now I’d love to be able to completely deny this man’s claims…but I feel it’s finally time to come clean. After all, I’ve been living this life of deception for too long now.

Yes, I admit it, for more than a decade now my wife and I have been pretending to live paycheck to paycheck, while in reality we have been living it up, all thanks to my little sis, who’s been subsidizing our lavish yet (until this moment) undercover lifestyle.

And let me tell you, it hasn’t been easy keeping up the facade.

For example, when our second vehicle became undriveable last year due to rust, I suggested we replace it with a brand-new Porsche 911 turbo. My wife, however, thought it might be too conspicuous and suggested instead that we not replace it at all, so that people would think that we can’t afford a second car. A brilliant idea, if you ask me.

Then, when I wanted to throw out my entire wardrobe and replace it with all brand-new clothes, Cassie again thought it might give off the wrong impression. That’s why when you see me around town I’m still wearing that grungy fleece and those worn out old corduroys I bought at Gabriel Bros. 10 years ago. (Of course, unbeknownst to you, underneath I have on gold-plated tighty-whities.) It’s also the reason over half of my socks have holes in them. Fooled you!

And, of course, we’d love to adorn our kids in all the latest styles and fashions, but again that would be a dead giveaway that we’re rolling in the dough. (And, believe me, we are!) That’s why whenever you see The Animal running around, his pants are always too short and his shoes look like we pulled them straight out of a dumpster. Same thing with Boogieface. She loves wearing designer dresses when she’s at home behind closed doors (especially when she’s sleeping). But whenever we’re out on the town, we’re always careful to make sure she looks like she’s wearing 2nd- or 3rd-generation hand-me-downs.

The hardest part about keeping up this barely-scraping-by charade has been pretending to be working. For example, in order to pull off the whole “starving artist” thing, I have to act like I’m always struggling to find good-paying writing work. Cass, on the other hand, decided to go with the always-look-super-busy approach, which enables her to spend her time online all day shopping on Amazon while pretending to juggle 50 different clients at once. Pretty slick, right?

I gotta be honest with you, it feels pretty darn good to come clean about everything. It definitely hasn’t been easy. Every time I walk out to my crumbling driveway and step into my used, once-a-rental Hyundai Sonata, I hate to admit it, but I cry a little bit.

Of course now that everyone knows we’re receiving regular checks of $5,000 to $10,000 every week from my little sister, we can stop with the masquerade and start living the good life! Best of all, we can finally get to fixing all those fake issues with our home, like that gaping hole in the living room wall, and the broken door on our oven, and the rotten railing on the front porch, and our just-about-to-collapse back deck, and the crumbling wall in our basement, and our broken heat-pump, and the missing doorknob in the den, etc.

Now that you know our dirty little secret, don’t be surprised if you see me cruising around town in a shiny new Maserati or stepping out in one of my dozen or so custom-fitted Armani suits. Because that’s just how we ultra-wealthy roll.

Let’s hear it for the one-percenters! ~


Copyright © 2017 Valentine J. Brkich

23 Responses to "Coming Clean"
    • You got it! Just tell my dad not to hog the driveway with the Jag Amber bought for him. ; )

  1. Well written Val. I worked with you way back when….. I didn’t see you quitting that job you found so boring! Whomever made the statement about you doesn’t know you, and has no business making ridiculous statements.

    • Thank you, Maureen! Bayer wasn’t so bad. It definitely was interesting working with 13 women! ; )

  2. Amber and Rob earned their money a way that many wouldn’t. You know, a million dollars doesn’t go as far as it used to. By the time you pay all the taxes on that money, have a handful of kids, buy a house, a couple cars, set up college funds for that handful of kids…you get my drift. In the old days a million dollars sounded like a lot. Today it’s a drop in the bucket (although I admit I wish I had that bucket). However, for someone to suggest that she is supporting her family as well as yours is ludicrous.

    I admire that you and Cassie both work independently and so creatively, but that creativity probably causes many a sleepless night worrying about financial stability. It’s tough being self-employed, especially with two kids (who are always hungry) and an old house (which always needs something), and used cars (that always need something too).

    “Having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.” 1 Peter 3:16

    • You’re too kind, Donna! You’re right about a million dollars. It may have been a lot 40 years ago, but today not so much. ; )

  3. Well written. I have always admired the both of you for your spunk.
    I’m sure you think about the risks you take to be self-employed and doing it YOUR way. Challenges, true…but you are true to yourself. You are strong in adversity…not like the jerk who was wimp enough to assume you weren’t. Love you both. Be strong.

    • You’re too kind, Kathy. Thanks for the comment and for the kind words. Knowing I have people like you out there makes it all better!

  4. Give them hell Val. Whoever said this must have nothing else to do. I personally know how hard you and Cassie work. I really think you should publish the person’s name so that they can be mighty embarrassed. I am proud of you and Cassie and your beautiful family. It is no crime to be related To Amber and Rob. They are both pretty awesome individuals just like Nicole and Brad. Your mom and dad raised you and your two sisters To be upstanding hard-working young people. I for one am very proud of all of you. Love your family

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, Mary Kay. I don’t let people get to me too much. But I felt I needed to defend my family. ; )

  5. Oh come on Val. You guys never fooled me. I thought it was strange years ago when I dropped by your house to watch a football game and you had a complementary valet pull my car ten feet up your driveway! And yes It seemed odd when we went to eat and you “discreetly” slipped the server a $500 bill and a familiar wink, as a tip for a burger and a preferred booth. The real eye opener however, was you placed an ad for a pool boy for a four foot above ground pool. Sure you hid your name, but I remembered the address. Heh. Mooching off little sis all these years…. Starving arrest my a**! My God man have you no shame?!?

    • Thanks for understanding, Ray. If you ever need a loan or something, don’t be afraid to ask. ; ) Hope all is well with you guys.

  6. Glad you still have your humor. You will always have your child hood memories playing baseball on Daves Rookies and Saint Peter and Paul. We all played Chess waiting for the bus. Take care Val. And if they don’t like you for you. Fucken.

  7. Keep doing what you are doing Val-all will come together! In the meantime, Karma will bite that jealous, uneducated idiot in the rear. I read this quote from Garth Brooks yesterday, “You aren’t wealthy until you have something money can’t buy.”