Neither a Borrower Nor a Lender Be

castaway

Gilligan presents Shakespeare’s Hamlet

So the great collective “we”, the ole U.S. of A. got downgraded by Standard & Poors to a AA+ from a triple A+. Big surprise? Nah not really. We all know why, don’t we. It was them, the other guy, those people over there on the other side of the street, the city, country. Not any one of us individually, oh nooo.

The news is freaking and shrieking about it, of course. In my opinion, this whole pickle we’re in has been decades in the making. I’ve only been on this planet for 56 years and I see drastic changes. It used to be embarrassing to be in debt, now it’s a status symbol.

There is “good debt” and “bad debt”. People brag about getting a 400 thousand dollar mortgage for a house. Then run out and buy furniture on credit to put in their showplace. Until recently it was shamefully easy to get a credit card. All you had to do was stagger to the mailbox and there they were. Pre-approved, charge till you drop. Run out of room on your credit card? Here transfer the balance to a new card and keep on truckin.

Decades ago, a young couple starting out in life got a little love shack. All they needed was each other, and a few orange crates to put their books in. They built a life together. Couples today are “entitled” to pre-engagement showers, shopping sprees, bridal showers,  and even take up a collection to fund the honey-moon. It’s not uncommon for the new couple to provide you with a list to inform you not only what to provide them but where to buy it.  Then the babies come, and another list is issued. Babies start out life today with more possessions than I had when I left home for the first time.

Of course an absolute necessity for everyone starting out is a TV. The bigger the better. Our TV is so big that I could sit 2 houses over and see it just fine. It’s paid for now, but it wasn’t when we first got it. A typical new TV should be  enthroned front and center in a mortgaged living room on a fine entertainment shelf purchased on credit. Out of this babble box comes our daily indoctrination. The never-ending advertisements, infomercials, fabricated needs dressed up in a sexy wrapper and touted as must have for any self-respecting consumer.

Why buy 1 item when you can buy 2 at twice the price, plus shipping? Buy this drug. If you don’t know what it’s for, so what? Ask you doctor. Already have this DVD or Blue Ray? Not a problem, now there is the new expanded, collectors edition with 11 seconds of extra footage. You must have it. Hang your head in shame if you don’t. Get a loan. Running out of space for all the stuff you purchased? Buy more furniture to store it in. If that doesn’t work, buy a new house!

Don’t like the way your nose looks? Get a “self improvement” medical loan and have surgery to fix it. Or even better go on a medical holiday to Costa Rica or other destinations and turn it into a spa week. Did your belly get to big to fit in the jeans you have. Pay a hundred dollars for a new pair that have magic panels in them to squish your tummy in. Loose weight? Nah, that is for peasants. I can afford all the food I want. If you don’t believe me check out my bursting seams!

I probably sound a little or a lot cynical. I feel like that drunk abducted by aliens who was saying “I been telling ya for 10 damn years they are coming back.”  Do you believe in Global Warming? Well forget about it. I think we’re going to run out of room to store all our stuff long before we find out whether or not Global warming is real or not.

What if all the creditors in all the world decided to repossess all the stuff purchased on credit. We would need to lease out Siberia to store it all. Can you imagine a foreclosure/garage sale on a planetary scale. That’s when we would find out if we are really alone in the universe because the extraterrestrials would come to the sale. Who can’t pass up a bargain or an opportunity to buy more stuff?

10 responses

  1. Amen and Amen! We must be on parallel paths, TR. I grew up with parents who grew up during the depression. My father worked hard. They started with a tiny house and the house and stuff grew as they grew. But, as consumerism became the norm, they bought into it and when I became an adult, though I still started small, consumerism consumed me, too.

    Thankfully, a few years ago I realized how fast you can not only get nowhere, but how deep the hole can get before you realize it. And, of course, none of it bought me happiness. I have to laugh and cry when I listen to the faux elitists and self-styled aristocrats who adorn the “high places” in our nation’s and states’ capitals spew stupidity.

    The government is going to create jobs? Right! We’re going to borrow ourselves out of debt? How’s that working for you Washington, DC? Unfortunately, the U.S. has grown from 150,000,000 lemmings in 1950 to over 310,000,000 in 2011and those same lemmings are going to vote in the next election 15 months from now. More of the same “insanity” coming?

    Thankfully, I’ve seen the light and joined the very small, but growing group of people worldwide who have opened their eyes to reality. Keep writing about reality and truth, TR, as will I and I trust others who follow your blog will.

    1. Lemmings is good description of many who claim that have it all figured out. I’ve been havung some rather bizarre experiences lately when watching the news on any channel of the TV. I see the lips moving and see various and sundry words scrolling across the bottom of the screen and it makes no sense to me at all. At first I thought I was going deaf or having a stroke. Then I realized I had reached the stage of understanding that it is all a bunch of “blah, blah, blah.” At this point I am deeply suspicious of anyone who claims they have the answer.

  2. Odd. So many of we Americans seem to feel as you do, and yet the people who represent us in our governments for the past several decades (I’m with you, girl) have done a horrible job of grasping that apparent country-wide opinion. When and how did people begin to feel “entitled” to a great life with stuff, gobs and gobs of stuff? My mother’s Great Depression doesn’t seem so far away.

    1. We may end up finding out what the depression was like. Many probably already are.

  3. You might like my piece on this. http://oyeniyicommentary.wordpress.com/2011/08/07/global-public-debt-a-simple-perspective/ or you might not, I guess, but I thought I’d share it!

  4. One of the nice things about living in a really small country is that we can’t, simply can’t get ourselves into the USian situation. It’s not an option since no one would lend us that much money, even on a propertional scale, which would probably mean we can’t even get a few lousy hundred billion into debt… (And now you have the same credit rating we do!)

    I tend to think we are over-materialistic and consumerist here, but whenever I am in the states I realise just how rank-amateur we are… we’ve got to pay shipping from everywhere, which makes it all so much more expensive, and we earn less (though more of us have jobs), so only the wealthier, most dedicated among us can compete with the average USian suburbanite.
    Our advertisers can’t hold a candle when it comes to flash and dazzle and psychological temptation… and big pharma isn’t even allowed to directly advertise prescription meds to consumers. Most telling of all – we have a few super-jumbo malls, mega – like if you combined all of them together they’d fit into one wing of the average mall outisde any mid-sized USian city… Rank amateurs we are, but shhh… most kiwis don’t realise it…

    That doesn’t mean I don’t look at my 7-year-old 52″ plasma TV and curse that it is of such high quality that it might never never die – so I can’t buy myself a brand-spanking new hi-def, 3D, digital whizz-bang job that would only cost 1/4 as much as this one did…

    Of course if I did, I would have to replace over 2000 DVDs, which is where I think I met you!

    1. Rampant consumerism, yep that about sez it all. And then at the same time we have rampant poverty and joblessness.

      And gambling, don’t even get me started on that. Billions upon billions spent on that. We’re broke, let’s all go to Vegas or the nearest riverboat casino! I’ve talked to people who are living on the dole and food stamps who buy lottery tickets. Maybe it gives them a second or 2 of hope?

      And the 2000 DVDs yes that is where we met. It’s nice to hear from you TS, I miss your pictures and poetry.

      1. I was in California and Florida for a dew days last year, though previously I visited for a couple of weeks pretty much every year. I was truly shocked, to the point of horror at the number of veterans begging – I don’t think I will every forget the image of a vet (in uniform) in a wheel chair rolling up to our car at a stoplight and tapping on my window begging… IN the midst of all these amazing big-box stores and cars that cost twice the NZ average wage, while the roads in California were crumbling away. Something – priorities – has got lost somehow. What’s being valued is not what’s most valuable, at least as I see it.
        While it’s a bad bad waste of money – I can not blame the poor for indulging in the miniscule hope contained in a lottery ticket or the nihilistic escape lurking at the bottom of a liquor bottle. Facing reality is best done when reality is faceable… (That said, I’ve had some pretty unfaceable realities to contend with along the way to where I am… some long dark passages that scare me to think about them even. Yeah, while I managed to get through without excessive booze or drugs, it was not without a price…)

        As for my pictures and poetry – I don’t know why I stopped. It has not been good. My overall productivity has dropped. I feel slightly lost and mildly depressed. I thought it was give me time to pursue other projects, and I have begun one, though I am not sure where it is going. I think I will have to start again. Perhaps tomorrow. It is the weirdest sensation. But perhaps I will give myself permission to take a day off from time to time. 7 days a week is maybe too much…

  5. Who knows what the financial future holds after this, right?

    1. No kidding. I haven’t heard anyone say “shop for America” this time. We tried that last crisis and look where we are now. And to think we were once satisfied with only a chicken in every pot.

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