Saturday, October 11, 2008

Playing Ketchup


Okay, I know. I've recently been reminded that I'm supposed to be writing about the stuff from my challenge post from wwaaaaayyyyyyyy back in June! I should be writing about:
  • Anger/Happiness/Monkeys - The first response I got was also the most difficult. I know what I want to write, just not how to say it. But it's coming, be patient!
  • Dialysis - Mostly just a lot of research to get this one right. When I (foolishly?) made the challenge, I guess I didn't take my impending move into account! Working on it!
  • The reactions of several historically significant monkeys to the current political climate - Odds are, they would have all just flung poo at all the candidates, but I think I can do better than that! Gimme time!
  • TWO illustrated (and monkey-laden) sequels to the movie "Unbreakable" - This dude is just plain weird. Still, it will be fun to do, so count me in (eventually)!
  • Another political piece, this time about racially motivated voting - easy to do, hard to do right. I have a lot of political opinions and history to get straight in my head before I do this, but I think it will need to be first (after this!) since the election is coming up so quickly.
  • And finally, my moving adventure - Coming soon to a blogosphere near you! But not today!
Today, what we're going to talk about is money.


Now, it is imperative that you all understand that I am NOT an expert in any way shape or form about money. I know it when I see it. I'd prefer to have more of it. But I'm not in any danger of having a nationally-televised program explaining all the ins and outs of it either. Maybe that's the problem.

I've been watching the news, listening to the radio, reading the paper, eavesdropping on people's private conversations, and even examining cloud formations for secret messages and very nearly every word you hear from any source is about the economy.

It's clear to me that someone is going to have to straighten out this mess. We've read about bailouts (er, "rescue" plans!) from the government for everyone from giant insurance companies to huge segments of the population who are already doing fairly well for themselves. We've heard about the government giving more money to banks so they'll stop hoarding the money they already have. We've heard about new rules for how CEO's are paid and how loans are approved. What we've heard has so far cost us $823,000,000,000.00 or so.


And it's not going to be enough. Not by a long shot. In fact, that giant insurance company I mentioned before is now asking for another hand-out! Also in the billions!

Okay, let me see. I'm 36 years old, and I've had a job of one sort or another since I was about 15. Some were part-timers, some temp stuff, and full-time work since I was 19 or 20, so figure about 20 total years of work. Considering what I make now, and generously doubling my salary every year (thank you!), I should be able to make that up in about 180 years. So don't worry folks, I got this! I hear the first billion is the hardest.

Okay. Perhaps that won't work. Here's a better idea...

WAKE UP!!!!!!!!!!!

Now, that comment is not directed at you, my dear (and limited!) readership. Rather, it is intended for all the moorings on Wall Street, those idiots. In fact, here's another little message for those dolts:

There is no such thing as money or profit. It is all imaginary. The whole thing is a confidence game, and I don't mean an "Ocean's Eleven" confidence game, I mean a game of confidence. In other words, if you think you're going to lose money, YOU WILL! You're all idiots! If you would just kick back and calm down for a minute, this whole thing would stop spiraling down around us!

Didn't you learn anything from "It's a Wonderful Life"? During the depression, it was only George Bailey and Mr. Potter who made it through the runs on the banks, because they were the only ones to be reasonable and calm! This is NO DIFFERENT! Calm down and stop trying to pull out every time there's a tiny uptick in your stock prices. Your desperate attempt to make a tiny profit and get out quick just forces the whole mess to perpetuate! How can you be so smart and so stupid at the same time?
Okay. That's enough for those idjits. Here's something for the rest of us:

Sage Words' Guide To Financial Well-Being
(or: how to not get poor without really trying)

As I stated before, I'm not an expert. But I have a rudimentary intelligence which has so far kept me out of jail and non-murdered, so it's at least possible that I could make some sense here. But I also have to keep my lawyer happy by warning you that anything I advise you to do may be complete hogwash and if you follow my advice, it's your own fault, whatever happens.

And in the interests of full disclosure, my lawyer is a small, 1/2 Burmese cat with two missing teeth named "Gizmo". If you anger him, he will leap up, rip out your eyes with his mighty claws, and feast on your brains! Or he may just get cat hair all over your best suit. Whatever.

So here we go. Financial advice:
  1. Know how much money you have
  2. Spend less than that
Uh, that's all I got. Not very helpful, I'm afraid.

Pollyanna used to play a game called the "Glad Game". No matter what happened, she tried to be positive. When it rained, she would be glad that the plants would be getting a drink of water. When Gilligan and his friends got marooned on a desert island, she would be glad that there would soon be many new coconut-based technologies for the world to share. When Timmy fell down the well, she was glad Lassie would have something to do besides sniffing other dogs' butts. When she fell out of a tree and became paralyzed, she was glad that she'd never wear out another pair of shoes. Okay, so maybe Pollyanna was a bit extreme in her application of the "Glad Game," but the idea was a good one.

Listen. I don't have all the answers. No one does. I know times are tough out there for most of you and I know what it's like to be unsure about how you're going to pay for something you really need. But I also know that panicking is NOT going to fix anything. Try to keep your head during all of this and don't despair. There's enough despair in the world as it is, so let's not add to it, okay?

And if we start to go hungry, we can always eat the koalas.

-Sage Words


Alynn said...

Your sage words are indeed sage words, Sage Words.

Spend less than you make = Monies!

Money is a funny concept, because it's exactly that, a concept. It's bartering, but with slips of paper, and in today's digital, well, everything, money is even more abstract than before. The money I have is a number on a receipt from the ATM. I hardly ever see, or use cash, everything is just numbers that come and go from a computer system somewhere.

Back in the day you used to farm some turnips (or other nasty veggie) take it to market, and give it to a guy that doesn't farm turnips but makes horseshoes, and he gives you horseshoes for the turnips. He gets to eat, and you can now use your horse to farm more turnips.

Today, you farm parsnips (because they are the future of turnips) take them to market, someone gives you some paper for them. You then take those papers to the blacksmith, give them to him, and he gives you horseshoes. LETS JUST CUT OUT THE MIDDLE MAN!!

The problem is, there are too many intangible jobs out there. Every day I go into work, fiddle around on a computer and leave, and I produced NOTHING, I enabled others to produce things, I think, I have no idea what other people do, nor do I care usually. Anyway, I think I was trying to make a point is money was invented because people now do jobs that don't actually do anything.

But yes, I think it's funny that Mr. Money McSpendsalot says, "Hey, people didn't buy enough Gizmodo II Roflcopters this quarter!" and suddenly the market drops because for some reason the number of roflcopters sold is directly proportional to the cost of oil, latex, and lap dances, so everyone is poor and everything must be sold.

I don't play the market for this reason, because frankly I don't want to lose money because someone had a stomach ache that day and his pink stuff didn't work.

Hell, I shoulda just posted this on my site this was far too long to just be a comment.

Senora Cucumber said...

I say off with their heads - all top executives of failing companies. Let their salaries roll downhill. How's that for trickle-down economics!