Tag Archives: minimalism

Neither a Borrower Nor a Lender Be


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?

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