“If I die then the mortgage gets paid off and he gets a yearly annuity,” she said. Which is what kicked off the conversation. “And if he dies then the mortgage gets paid off and the kids get £10K a year until they’re 18.”
We all know about pee maths (jumpsuits complicate that particular equation), death maths (am I halfway through?), alcohol maths, caffeine maths and clothes maths but murder maths is coming into play. “So you see,” she continued, “his income means that he is still – sadly – more use to me alive than dead.” Was she joking? Course. Kinda.
We’ve all known for years what we are likely to get from parents and grandparents and so – even though there are always nice and nasty surprises in the post – that knowledge becomes the subtle wallpaper of our lives, our planning and our expectations. Why bother with the ball-ache of a pension when there’s a chunk in the ‘pipeline’.
The thing about murder maths is that, while no one is actually going to kill anyone (probably not), we are all coming out in terms of doing the calculations. Life is tough and expensive and ever-shifting so whilst some possibilities we will always deny (‘I am just tired. It is not because this is my actual face these days’), others we are openly entertaining.
“I signed a pre-nup,” said one woman glumly, joining the murder maths conversation. She is very happily married but she was declaring that, should she wish to clean up, murder was the only option. So now she knows, we know. The thing about middle class murder maths is we’re all in it together. Number crunching. And wondering what the fuck happens next.