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...Just a Minute...

by Jacqueline Sewall Golden

Edition 14

No wonder we all grow up totally confused by life and seek some answers for the many decades.  As a teenager youre told:  life is short live it up.  But at your deathbed its whispered:  he lived a long life.  Which is it, or was it?

       A squeaking wheel gets the grease.  But then theres: a spouting whale gets the harpoon, and, a sticking-up nail gets pounded down.  Which is it? 

       My confusion continues when I hear of a major-league ballplayer getting only  three million dollars a year for the next three years and hes upset about it.  But, a mother of three is told shes getting a whopping raise of a dollar an hour, and a teacher has to walk out in strike to get a puny salary increase. I can answer this one, though: its marketing, pure and simple.  The mother and teacher do not bring millions of dollars to their employers, hence are not as valuable as the ballplayer.  

     There are now classes for young entrepreneurs to help deal with the guilt they suffer from making horrendous amounts of money from some small contribution to technology.  Okay, lets establish a charity for single mothers and teachers with donations coming strictly from those angst-driven techies.  That would solve that problem.

     David Brooks wrote some answers in his new book, Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There.  He writes of status inversion, whereby you ascend in estimation (your peers and your own) by descending in lifestyle, dress and manners, i.e. wearing faded blue jeans pricier than unfaded, newer ones.  Or sipping designer water that costs more than gasoline as they drive thirsty sport utility vehicles.  He calls this the melding of the bohemian and the bourgeois:  Bobos. In an United States swimming in discretionary income, consumption is an assertion of Bobo cultural values.  All this may be just fine as a discussion viewpoint for those sipping those waters or driving those cars,  but how does it play in the real world of the 24/7 people who make up the huge majority of us?

      Coming soon to a computer near you:  More questions into the absurdity of American Life.


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