Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pigeon-sure

There’s an article in this week’s New Yorker about confidence and its relevance to the Bear Stearns collapse vis-a-vis that bastard Cayne. Hard for me to assess those people because, pacifist that I am, I’d like to bring back corporal punishment for anyone who profited from the defective House of Cards engineered by Wall Streeters who hold an all-ace deck while honest American investing schmucks came up with jokers on their monthly statement. And have to kiss their tax-dollars as they go into the pockets of these ‘confidence’ men.

I gave my son a copy of that film ‘Confidence’. Not quite new, but entertaining. He is a confidence expert. In fact I will go further and say he is a pretty consistent liar. According to the article, the confidence game pays. So what makes these people tick? The size of their dicks as the New Yorker seemed to suggest with the article title, ‘Cocksure’? I know among teenage boys this gives them cause to swagger. Among women…well, size unfortunately does matter. At least it gives you reason to relax. And if the guy happens to be a non-swaggerer, well, you’ve got one less thing to miss when things go sour.

Size matters re: bank accounts, real estate square footage, height. The Tall Man usually wins? Not too many powerful politicians who are short. First ladies are generally tall…fashion models…even art has become larger and larger—billboard size, actually.
See me, it has to say.

Still, some big things are small. Low numbers in New York real estate addresses connote proximity to the park…status. Small number dress sizes are sought after. Portions which sell for huge sums in New York restaurants get smaller and smaller. Rich people with large balances eat small portions and weigh in at lower numbers. They want their license plate to read ‘CSW 1’. I’ll bet some of them pay for a 3-digit social security number.

Personally I think the national metabolism has slowed down. People are fat not just because of supersized meals and brainwashing food marketing, but because we are all lazier and slower. We are no longer the gas guzzlers we used to be. We scarcely move. Our bodies adapt to workouts. People don’t run for the phone, don’t move to the desk to get paper and pen, use their arms to write, lick and seal an envelope and walk down to the corner to post things. We stay in one place. My son is not just a liar but a lier. He’s lazy. He lies about lying, too.

Emails are becoming shorter. Trillions are passed around, but no one bothers to write much. Relationships are shorter. People text each other to death and are sick of the whole thing in days. Fuck eharmony. How many of these people are retreads?

There’s a pigeon on the air conditioner across my courtyard. It’s shat its own weight and more since spring. It comes back there every day, no GPS. It had an affair, oversaw its mate laying an egg and sitting it out on the shitwalled nest, jumped around its young until the little guy flew away. Through the 9 inches of June rain. In fact, it’s still there-- solo-- even though its mate seems to have flown the coop. Ditto the brat. It may be a terrible housekeeper but it sets an example for relationships my son could use. Unlike his mother.

I look out and admire the pigeon, and then feel a little edgy about my own sub-par housekeeping. The thing is, a low maintenance poverty-line lifestyle actually takes an enormous amount of high-maintenance energy. Cheap cleaning supplies are a bus and train ride away as is reasonably priced mayonnaise and gallons of milk. Not necessarily the same bus and train, either, when you are really doing a $4-a-day financial diet. Nothing is a cab-ride away because I don’t take cabs, and there’s the extra lugging and the tedious penny-pinching and coin-counting and coupon-clipping and card punching. Emptying and recycling vacuum-cleaner bags--- a dirty little secret of the truly prideful poor. Then there is clinic-waiting and the endless referrals and medical insurance paperwork and price comparison and pre-qualification. And fighting with Welfare for NOT taking benefits for which I qualify. Poverty is a full-time job.

Then there are the true low-lifes who just pulled a $48 million Medicaid swindle. When my latest routine biopsy had to be endured without anesthesia because the copay was more than my monthly food budget.

I watched my son play basketball tonight… the league is a non-profit but I calculated it costs $18 a game to watch him lose. Maybe, I suggested, if you didn’t lie about lying so much and you had to pay me $1 for every shot you missed, you’d practice. Of course I didn’t actually say it out loud. I don’t want to mess with his confidence.

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