Monday, November 30, 2009

Two More Things to Be Thankful For

“I have no money, no resources, no hopes. I am the happiest man alive.”

~ Henry Miller 

Yesterday, in the neighborhood bagel shop, I stood behind a scruffy young guy who was buying breakfast for himself and two young women. It was simple fare — bagels, assorted toppings and coffee — and it came to $16.37. He didn't have the cash, so he gave the cashier his debit card. Declined.

Part of me of course felt awful for him; in all likelihood, his dating prospects had now dimmed dramatically. But it also occurred to me that whatever state of intense denial the young man was living in is connected to what got our economy into all this trouble. Most of us like to treat our friends to a meal once in a while, but there comes a point when enough is enough. And when you are too tapped out to scrape together $16.37, you have reached that point.

Some things to be thankful for: being broke, but not that broke, and wanting our friends to think well of us, but not that desperately.


  1. I've been ruminating on the same subject. Use to be I was surrounded by people who were pretty much in the same financial situation I was -- or so i thought. Now I have friends who are upsidedown in their mortgages (who gives a $200K mortgage to a 24 year old that makes $35K a year??? Oh yeah right.....), other friends who have their kids' Christmas presents on lay-away at Kmart (we use to make fun of that when we were doing the ads). I have to resist the urge to tell the bagel guy "oh, I'll get that." Hell it's only $16.37! But of course I can't, 'cause now I'm budgeting for my own bagel (sort of).

  2. Yep. That's exactly the little dance I went through -- should I pay for his bagel? Wait, who do I think I am, Warren Buffét?