In economics, TANSTAAFL demonstrates opportunity cost. Greg Mankiw described the concept as follows: “To get one thing that we like, we usually have to give up another thing that we like. Making decisions requires trading off one goal against another.” The idea that there is no free lunch at the societal level applies only when all resources are being used completely and appropriately – i.e., when economic efficiency prevails. If not, a ‘free lunch’ can be had through a more efficient utilization of resources. Or, as Fred Brooks put it, “You can only get something for nothing if you have previously gotten nothing for something.” If one individual or group gets something at no cost, somebody else ends up paying for it. If there appears to be no direct cost to any single individual, there is a social cost. Similarly, someone can benefit for “free” from an externality or from a public good, but someone has to pay the cost of producing these benefits.
I had an interesting talk with a charming young lady today. She is the wife of our gardener. They are both in their late 20s. Somehow the subject of collecting social security came up, and the fact that I would be able to collect mine next year. She said “oh nice, free money.” I was kind of shocked and informed her that there is no such thing as “free money.” I worked for FORTY YEARS and paid into my social security during these decades of drudgery intermingled with interesting jobs.
It made me wonder. Do young people think oldsters are getting a ride on “free money” from social security? Do they understand how the social security system works? Maybe not. I don’t really understand it myself. All I know is that I am entitled to it. Yeah I know, the dreaded “entitled” word. However… there is a huge difference between “I’m entitled to this because I paid for it” and “I’m entitled to this because I exist on this planet and I have decided that I should have everything free.”
I remember my grandmother used to say to me “there is no such thing as a free lunch.” And there really isn’t. Everything costs something. Time, effort, money, materials, thought, preparation and on and on. For example: you may say air is free. But you still have to do something, yeah breathe. The air isn’t just going to float into your lungs with no effort on your part.
So I am interested and concerned at the same time. I keep hearing the term “democratic socialism.” What does that even mean? Socialism has been tried over and over again, in many countries. If we can learn anything from history is that it doesn’t work. Human nature drives us to explore, try to improve ourselves, make money. (yea I know another evil word ‘money.”) And we expect a result.
I only truly know myself, and just barely. What I do know is that I expect some outcome or benefit from my efforts and adventures. If I work at a job I expect to get paid. If I work on an art project, I expect to end up with a painting. I would not appreciate the government stepping in and confiscating the fruits of my efforts. “Well we want 30% of your paintings, and we decide who gets to have them.” We want 30% of your salary and you have NO say in what we are going to do with it or who we give it to.”
I’m just basically confused. Where do people think money comes from? It doesn’t grow on trees. It comes from the sweat of someone’s brow. All these people proudly cruising around in electric cars…..where do they think electricity comes from? Electricity comes from power plants that use … yes…take a deep breath…fossil fuels.
I am at the end of my rather rambling rant. It’s good to be back to my blog. I’ve really missed it. Love to all and peace on earth.
If had known I was going to live this long…I would have taken better care of myself. Author Unknown
Going to the doctor is a lesson in frustration at best these days. And you can’t even go to one doctor anymore. You have to pick yourself apart like Frankenstein’s assistant and go to 87 different doctors. My current list is: eyes, stomach, endocrine system (diabetes), neck, foot, allergist, skin, boobs, and ears. It’s positively gruesome! Going to the doctor is a full time job. How do people who are not retired fit this all into their schedule?
Did I retire just so I have the time to take care of my body parts? Sometimes I wonder…This is just downright ridiculous. Another thing that really REALLY chaps my grits is that when I do drag myself to one of to these doctors, they don’t even freaking listen to me.
Recently I went to the doctor because I suspect that I have post-menopausal sluggish thyroid, a common problem with women my age. My symptoms point to this pretty clearly. Tired all the damned time, extremely dry skin (I could slather myself with lard and it wouldn’t help), very low “normal” body temperature (97 on a good day,) feeling cold even on a day when it’s 100 degrees, and extremely high cholesterol. I have to run a fever to get up to a normal body temp.
I explained to the doctor that cholesterol meds make me feel like I’ve been dragged behind a truck after being run over by said truck several times. And I listed the above symptoms. He hummed and hawed, said “I see” and wrote me a prescription. I foolishly assumed that it would be something to help the thyroid situation. But NOOoOOoo.
I got to the car before looking at the paper work. Not only did he not give me anything for the thyroid symptoms, he wrote me a prescription for DOUBLE the amount the cholesterol meds that I had just explained was reducing my quality of life to that of a garden slug on a bad day. I was so outraged that I wanted to storm back in the office and declare that he was so stupid that he couldn’t poor water out of a boot if the instructions were written on the heel of the boot. Instead I decided to fire him. He doesn’t know this and I don’t care.
So back to square one. I’m going to go back to how I used to take care of myself. Attempt to figure out attempt to treat myself and find a doctor or some sort of alternative health practitioner that listens to the patient, and not the numbers on a test recommended by drug companies.
I did, I really did and I also thought that I would do it much more gracefully than I have been so far. Oh magnanimous me. I was not going to be one of those people who go out to dinner and spend the entire evening talking about aches, pains, surgeries and medications. Well Ha! Don’t I just catch myself doing that all the time? Lately I’ve taken to doing the Mona Lisa smile routine. I am not going to monopolize an evening cataloguing my aches and pains. Unfortunately sometimes there is nothing else going on in my brain. I can’t think of anything else to say. So I say nothing.
I do love to babble on about painting. But, it hasn’t taken long to learn just enough technique and theory to where the eyes of the casual observer starts to glaze over and I know I’ve talked myself off into the weeds. So I yank myself back to earth and ask them about their day.
Recently, I’ve taken to asking people about their day and actually paid attention to their answer. Most talk about work which takes up the majority of a working person’s time, of course. Then they switch to some generic topic like the news, or what’s on prime time TV. Maybe I need to rephrase the question and ask “what went on in your head today?”
The painting class I’m taking is helping put this aging thing into perspective for me. I’m one of the babies in my class. It’s been great and encouraging to see these women in their 60s and 70s just rocking on having a great life. There is hope for me yet.
So I Went to my first art class ever yesterday. (Excluding kindergarten and inpatient treatment activity) It was loads of fun and more than a little humbling. I’ve never used oil paints except for house painting and tend to shy away from them because the house paint is messy and smelly. Also I found out that I really am starting at square one and don’t know a thing about it. It took a good ten minutes to decide whether I wanted the canvas to be landscape or portrait oriented. Then it occurred to me that I had not chosen a subject matter yet.
I was pleasantly surprised that the water-soluble paints are just that, water-soluble, meaning I can wash it right off with soap and water, and they don’t smell bad. A good thing because by the end of the class I had paint up to my elbows and on my face.
I learned how to do a wash, which is just creating a backdrop for the painting. A lot easier than it looks. I was technically painting during the class, I guess. But, mostly I was just trying to get a feel on how to use the paints. Too much turpentine and the paint gets soupy, not enough and it’s like trying to paint with cold cream cheese. The instructor gave me mercy compliments I’m sure. “oh, that’s beautiful, you’re doing great.” I thought to myself “yeah right, I bet you say that to all your newbies.” And a good thing she did too, because I needed encouragement, big time.
The 2 hours flew by and I stood back and looked at my effort so far. Then I cracked up laughing. It looked like I was holding the paint brush with my elbows or maybe standing with my back to the canvas, looking over my shoulder and holding the paintbrush with my toes. If I had been wearing a side arm I would have shot it dead, or chucked it in a bonfire. But you have to start at the beginning, I guess.
I found it interesting to note that the creativity section of my brain felt almost sprained or something. I was definitely in a different and extremely contemplative frame of mine. One the way home someone behind me honked and I looked at the speedometer and realized that I was floating along at 20 miles an hour in a 40 mile per hour zone. I usually zip along at or slightly above the speed limit. So anyway, next week I will go back and try again. I signed up for 10 classes and I’m going to need everyone them.
This picture is my rendition of Van Gogh’s The Almond Blossoms. It’s not quite finished; I still have to paint in some of the blossoms because the canvas is showing though.
Today I’m going to engage in what crafters refer to as S.E.X. Woo hoo! What it stands for is Stash EXpedition. I’ve finally narrowed down an art class that I’m going to enroll in. It feels like being back in the first grade. I have this list of paint brushes, paint colors, canvas, etc. so a shopping I will go. 🙂 One thing I learned while scrutinizing this supply list and my current collection of ratty paint brushes this morning is that the sizes are not standardized. One brand of size 8 brush is a different size than an 8 of another brand, for example.
Shame on them, I say. Why does it have to be so complicated? Now with knitting needles and crochet hooks the sizes are standard across brands, letters for hooks, and numbers for needles. What I will have to do is go in the art supply store, throw myself on their mercy and admit that I don’t know a thing about this stuff. All my previous attempts at art work I did on my own with whatever I could scrabble together.
So I’m really excited about this art class. It’s something I’ve wanted to do all my life, but just never got around to it. I know I have some talent at least because when I was in school, teachers and other students would approach me to make posters for them and I painted a few back drops for school plays.
But this skill has been lying dormant for 58 years. Hmm, I think it’s 58…I’ll have to ask the Hubman because I never can remember how old I am. I’ve always had a tendency to live life in the eternal now. Dates, ages, measurements and all kinds of numbery things just don’t compute. And to think my major in college was accounting. I understood the theory but the numbers gave me a headache. No wonder I dropped out. That’s what happens when you major in something that other people are telling you should do, instead of what speaks to your heart.