Anyway, in addition to spacing the posts out a little more, I decided to create some short and sweet supplemental posts entitled, “Things You Ought to Know.” They will cover a wide variety of topics – some silly, some not – that you’ll need to know either a) when you become a grown up or b) when you need to relate to grown ups.
Okay, okay. So you know it all already. Still, you might just learn a nugget or two. After all, even James Bond had a learner’s permit before he got his license to kill. For years he could only maim villains during daylight hours under strict mentor supervision. Right now, baby, you’ve got a learner’s permit on life. It’s important to keep your ears and eyes open and learn all you can before you’re a full-fledge adult.
With that being said, let’s get started.
Things You Ought to Know: Keeping Up with the Joneses
Written by Arthur “Pop” Momand, the strip ran from 1916-1940 and was called – get this -- Keeping Up with the Joneses. Go figure! It featured the McGinises, a family living next to the “objects of envy,” the Joneses. The Jones family had the best of everything. This, of course, translated into high social standing. Poor McGinises – they tried everything they could to keep up with the Joneses. Of course, they always failed.
And look where we are now, decades later. Folks are still trying. Why else would someone spend $400 on a Coach purse? For centuries, people have been judged by how much they make. And since people don’t go around telling others what they earn, the only real way to judge wealth is by what they spend. Right?
Sure, a person living in a $500,000 house probably doesn’t work at Burger King (that it, unless they own it). At the same time, they might owe $475,000 on that house and struggle to make monthly payments. Across town you might have someone in a $250,000 home that owns it outright. Looks can be deceiving.
Still, there is that one family with TONS of dough. You know, their daughter’s in your Chemistry class. She's always talking about Spring Break in St. Thomas and how pissed she is that Daddy forgot to have seat warmers installed in her Mercedes. I bet she never has to beg for a pair of Lucky Jeans. No fair. If only you could be her…
Well, guess what? Her life might still suck. Her parents might fight all the time, or verbally abuse her -- oh, man! They might have an illegal slave trade business, forcing her to remain silent or be sold to a sultan in Kelantan! Or maybe…
Her life doesn’t suck. It might be pretty cool. Oh, the injustice of it all!
I’d like to tell you that when you’re older it doesn’t matter, that people don’t judge others by what they have, but I’d be lying. Many do. So what’s my advice?
If you don’t, it’ll drive you crazy. There will ALWAYS be someone with more than you. Enjoy the things you have. And when you’re finally in the workforce trying to earn a dime, remember this quote from a very wise and intelligent woman (a.k.a. me):
“Some people make enough, some people don’t, and it has nothing to do with their paycheck.”
Think on that for a minute. What kind of person will you be? Will you always need more, ever striving to keep up with the Joneses? Or will you choose to be content. It is a choice, you know.
Now I'm not giving you an excuse to be lazy. Ambition is a good thing. So are goals. Just make sure you're motivated for the right reasons. Also keep in mind that people who are never satisfied are, well, never satisfied. What fun is that? As for people who judge their self worth by the amount and/or quality of their possessions? That's just plain sad.
Okay, I'm done now. That took me longer than I thought! Trust me, the next one of these will be shorter. Like I said, it's summer. Now that I'm done I've got to get onto Zappos so I can order these super cute Keens my friend, Angela, just bought. They’re probably more than I want to pay, but all the cool moms are wearing them and I don’t want to look like a loser. ;)
Until next time,