Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Vanity of Vanities

On the 26 hour drive from New Jersey to New Orleans I had a lot of time to think, and think. Think about what decisions and actions I made that placed me on the financial lamb to another part of the country. Like Tom Joad heading west in a beat up car looking for redemption. Patterns in my life mirror that of millions of other Americans, and we as a collective nation. Borrowing, going deep in debt, borrowing more, thinking tomorrow we'll be able to pay it off.

I watched it in others, saw it in myself and chose not to change. Denial of a self destructive behaviour, thinking I was different. I watched a woman go for a home loan ten years ago, admittedly exaggerate her income of her hobby-business. She joked how the banker doing the paperwork again exaggerated her income with a wink and a nod. The Freddie Mac loan for almost a half million came through and she was able to purchase the four bedroom home in a nice neighborhood that she and her kids deserved. Intrest rates were low and the economy booming. Vanity.

I watched a landlady embarrassed by her paid off 10 year old mini van take on the payments of a new SUV in a downward spiraling economy. A year and a half year later she was hiding the shiny new Blazer in a friend's driveway away from the repo man while vacationing in Puerto Rico for a weekend. Vanity.

A struggling artist certain of success runs up credit cards to keep an exotic dancer happy. Shopping sprees and expensive gifts, cocaine binges and over the top nights. Five hundred dollars at Victoria Secrets for double 00 thongs and 34 double D bras, now he seeks free meals from from kind friends. All is vanity.

Bigger homes, bigger cars, bigger boobs, vanity.

Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?

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