Monday, November 19, 2007
By Richard E. Noble
This is going to be very hard for any of you to believe. I know because it was difficult for me to believe. But according to a book I just read “The Millionaire Next Door”, I am in the top 20% of the richest people in America.
At first I was somewhat excited about this estimation but then when I started thinking it over, it really didn’t sound all that good for America to me. I mean if I am actually in the top 20% of the richest people in America, this country is in serious trouble.
The fellow who wrote this book is rather old fashioned. He claimed that just because a guy was making $200,000 a year and was driving a BMW that didn’t mean that he was wealthy. He claimed that when you subtract what many of the above people owe from what they actually have, many of them are totally broke or operating in the red and getting redder everyday. If they lost their job tomorrow they would lose everything they have.
I am estimated in the top 20% of richest Americans because although I have always been in the bottom 10% of earners and have a poverty income even today, I have a few dollars in the bank, a car that is paid for, a residence that is paid for, combined with no credit card debts or payments on anything. This is, of course, after working for fifty-five years of my life. But that’s why I am “rich” and everybody else is poor according to the Millionaire Next Door.
Then a week or so later I stumbled onto this blog about the stock market. This guy who was writing this blog was commenting on an article he had read in the Wall Street Journal where this man who was currently earnings $250,000 per year was complaining that he didn’t have any money and that $250,000 wasn’t what it used to be in the good old days.
The blogger, who was from a modest, blue collar background, suggested that if his mom and dad had read this guy’s griping over his insufficient income they would have very little pity for the gentleman. I was, of course, in complete agreement with the blogger’s mom and dad.
Well, then I scrolled down to the “comments” section on this guy’s stock market blog.
All of the comments were from people who were earnings over $150,000 per year and every one of them was in sympathy with the guy who couldn’t get along on his $250,000. They all agreed that incomes over $100,000 per year were nothing to brag about and that they all had to watch their pennies.
I have the strong feeling that while these people may be watching their pennies the dollars are being seriously overlooked.
But okay, that’s the prologue to this Canterbury/Eastpointer Tale, now let’s go to the real story here this week.
I am standing in front of the meat counter over at the Piggly Wiggly. It was Thanksgiving time. I was looking at the turkeys. I
was trying to decide whether I should buy a ten pounder or a
twenty pounder - I enjoy left-over turkey at Thanksgiving time.
Suddenly this lady bumped up next to me. She wasn’t the best dressed lady even by my Eastpointer standards. In looking at her I did not presume that she lived in the Plantation for example. Like me she obviously needed some work and possibly a trip to the local Hair Design or Cut. But let’s not get judgmental here. Remember those that judge will be judged and none of us really want any of that action.
In any case, she nudges me and whispers; “They are giving away turkeys over at the Such and Such Church. Anyone can get one. You don’t have to fill out no papers or nothing.”
“Really, why are they doing that?” I asked.
“Just because they’re nice people and they like to help folks,” she answered.
“Well, that is really good of them isn’t it?”
“It sure is. I got one for me - you ought to go over there and get one for yourself.”
“Well, thanks for the tip,” I said.
Just then my wife came over; “What did that lady want?” she asked.
“She told me that they were giving away free turkeys over at some church.”
“Yeah, but why do you think that she told me about the free turkeys over at this church? There were lots of other people standing by the meat counter here that she could have confided in? Do I look like I need a free turkey - not that I am above accepting a free anything from anybody?”
My wife looked me up and down. “Well, you didn’t shave this morning.”
“Yeah, but I’m retired, why do I have to shave every morning?”
“You’ve got that old shirt on with the mustard stain that won’t come out?”
“So? It’s my favorite shirt. I like this shirt; it’s comfortable.”
“You’ve got those ratty jeans on with the holes in the knees and a pair of white socks with a hole in the big toe with those worn sandals?”
“Are you kidding. I saw a pair of jeans just like these at the Gap, for $147. You have to pay extra for jeans with holes in the knees these days. Expensive socks with holes in the toe will be at the Gap next year. I’m a trend maker here for cryin’ out loud.”
“Well then don’t get all bent out of shape when someone tells you where to go to get a free turkey.”
“Who is getting bent out of shape? Where is that church anyway?”
Richard E. Noble has been a resident of Eastpoint for around thirty years now. He has authored two books: “A Summer with Charlie” which is currently listed on Amazon.com and “Hobo-ing America” which should be listed on Amazon in the not too distant future. Most recently he completed his first novel “Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother” which will be published soon.