Being Sensible Is Always Harder Than the Alternative

Thursday afternoon, I went out to lunch with my friend, ‘herechillin’ – she’s someone I met online – and, at this time both of our lives are anything but “chillin‘.” In fact, it’s been nothing but a stress-filled roller coaster ride for the last year or so, for both of us. I made the date with her just because I had to get out of my area. My craw was completely filled with garbage. A different point of view is a good thing, and we always have a good time at lunch. We don’t agree on everything, but we respect each other, which is refreshing. I sense that we compare our lives and come away thinking “Holy cow! I’m so glad I’m not her!” Well, maybe.

We talked about the recent global financial mess of this week, which now eclipses our own personal stories of precarious finances. You see, we live in a place where unemployment is almost to 9% and there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

My husband, the crazy, silver-haired Mr. Demonic, has foreseen the financial collapse of the banks. We’ve discussed this many times over the last three or four years. In fact, about six years ago, he informed the family that there might not be a business at all in the future, and to get used to the idea. He’s not an economist, just a sensible guy.

He’s a thrifty one, that Mr. D, and that’s a good thing, because I would have gone through the money a lot faster had he not been there to oversee the Demonic operations.

All of hoo-haw over the financial collapse could have been avoided by a strong dose of sensibleness. For one thing, there is no reason why CEOs of any company anywhere should make hundreds of millions of dollars over the course of six years, especially when the end result is a lousy job and your world bank or mortgage company fails. CEOs should suffer the same as the stockholders.

I can tell you that when Mr. D and I have a bad year (and we have now had three in a row), we don’t increase our salaries. In fact, even though the price of everything has gone up dramatically in the last year or so (gas especially, which we absolutely need to do business), we have not raised our prices at all. If we did raise prices, we wouldn’t be competitive. The end result means the CEO and his wife make a lot less, because times are bad.

When times are bad, you don’t go out and buy a lot of silly things that mean very little in the long run. I suppose that being the “CEO,” Mr. D could go out and buy himself a nice luxury car every couple of years. But no. Mr. D drives an old car with 150K miles on it. It looks like hell, because people have rear-ended him (several times), and the interior is worse, because he tends to spill coffee, every day of the year. In the 22 years we’ve been married, Mr. D has never taken an interest in coffee mugs with tops, and believe me, we have all tried to entice him with various samples. He dislikes them all, and would rather drink from a very old mug (his “favorite”) precariously perched on his dashboard. The point is, the car still runs, so he’s going to continue to drive it until it dies a quick death, and the mug is crackless (so far) so he will continue to drink from it.

Of course, it is far easier to see cash flow and want to empty your pockets. It’s also easier to think of the here and now instead of plan for the future.

Someone should have told those CEOs…


5 Responses

  1. Amen. Ms. Pande.

    In my work incompetence is punished, not rewarded. (As it should be) I don’t understand why those guys get paid mega dollars for doing so poorly.

    Dr. B

  2. Well said, Pan.

  3. I guess there really are two worlds out there. The world for “real” people, and the world for the rest.

    Doesn’t seem right, somehow…

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