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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Common sense and restraint

I enjoy the editorial comments of Mencken’s Ghost in a local newspaper. I know his real name and have been reading his stuff for years. He usually hits home with his remarks which I’m sure annoys some people, especially those on the left. Maybe that is why I enjoy his writing so much. In a recent column he talks about the lack of common sense and restraint of some Americans.

While shopping at a Scottsdale Walmart recently, he picked up a 15 pack of Schick double edged razors for $5.47 or 36 cents per razor. Nearby, he watched a tattooed covered guy in his 30s along with his tattooed covered wife. The guy saw an end cap display of Gillette razors for $7.80 each that contained one three edged blade cartridge. Replacement cartridges were $3 each. But, the Gillette razor had an Arizona Cardinal’s logo which fascinated the couple. In fact the wife exclaimed “That’s awesome!”

Was this couple poor, not smart, rich eccentrics who are slumming, a couple of losers with no common sense, or were they just conned by an attractive display built by the Gillette representative? Who knows for sure but I would say they lack restraint and common sense and probably are not rich. You can decide for yourself.

Next example: Mencken is reflecting on a nanny that he and his wife had employed when both of them were working and their son was in grade school. In her early twenties at the time, she was smart, single, and attractive. She also was always in dire financial straits due to her love of partying, smoking, paying six dollars apiece for drinks at bars, and dating losers who mooched off her.

Creditors called his house just about every day. He would advise the girl to save her money and use her flexible work schedule to get a college degree or learn a trade. She didn’t take his advice, but she did ask him to delay giving her some of her weekly earnings, because, she said, “If you give all of it to me at one time, I’ll have it spent by the next day.” No doubt, she is still living on the brink of bankruptcy and getting calls from creditors.

Was she an airhead and irresponsible; or just wanting to have a good time while young and not worrying about the future? Maybe she is all three but on the bright side, she might have met Mr. Right who really loved her and was rich. That’s a big risk though. Being conservative as I am, I believe in having a good time while simultaneously putting away something for a rainy day.

It’s called being an adult and living within your means. Does that make a person boring? Maybe, but it beats being broke.

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