Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The More you Have, the More you Have to Lose

Today's headlines included yet another story of financial ruin and suicide, as seen in this story.* Haven't there been something like 5 or 6 of these suicides in the past year? They all have the same things in common: they were all men, high up in the ranks of major financial institutions, and either lost everything, were accused of making other people lose everything, or lost enough to send them from being billionaires to 'mere' millionaires.

What saddens me is that this man, for example, felt badly enough about his financial loss that he preferred death to bankruptcy. That living like the rest of us was such a terrifying thought that he'd rather hang than have to downsize from a 10,000 square foot house to a 5,000 square foot house. He would rather leave his daughter without a father than lose out on his Freddie Mac shares. Oh the shame of it.

And it is easy to assume that he had issues with depression or anxiety prior to this, but it doesn't seem like these stories have anything to do with that. These guys are throwing themselves out of windows for one reason only: the recession. It amazes me that their spiritual lives and their sense of self are so fragile or nonexistent that losing money on stocks would send them over the edge. Not to mention an obvious lack of any kind of support network of family or friends. It makes me realize how blessed I am to have the friends and family that I have--I know that if I were penniless, I could show up on my friends' doorsteps and they'd take me in without judgment, and I would do the same for my friends. I can't imagine living a life devoid of human connection, of an inner life that takes a backseat to career or money misfortunes. I mean, seriously--this is the worst life has dealt them?

Not to downplay financial loss and how stressful that can be, but millions of average Americans have lost their homes, their jobs, their cars, or simply their annual vacations, and what do they do? They go on unemployment, they stay with family, they tell their kids that everything is going to be alright, even when they're terrified and unsure. Because being jobless is terrifying, and having a few dollars left in the bank at month's end is extremely stressful--but these men were in neither situation. When you're making billions a year, and get $300,000 bonuses, you'd think you'd have a little left over in the bank for a rainy day. How do they manage to piss away that much money? And what a wonderful life lesson to teach your children--fly them home from their boarding schools, explain to them that mommy and daddy won't be wintering in the Alps this year, that the nannies and kitchen staff are being let go, and that there is more to life.

There is something to be said for living simply.


*I figured out how to make pretty URLs!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Poor, poor Tracy.

While not my official hometown, it's close enough. And it seems that Tracy is having a rough time of it these days. First there was the Sandra Cantu story, which has been horrifying to hear. Then, SFGate.com gets wise to the Tracy theme and suddenly decides to report on this atrocity (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/04/14/BAJA1728CA.DTL&tsp=1),* which was reported months ago by the Stockton Record but suddenly has new appeal to Bay Area news sources no doubt because of the Tracy link. Something tells me that if anything untoward happens over the next several weeks in this unfortunate town, it will be all over the news. And no, it doesn't mean that Tracy is going to hell in a handbasket, it's just how the media works. They love their 'themes'.

The scariest thing about the Tracy doctor is that this is my mom's former employer--and was for several years. I mean, seriously, WTF? Sexual harassment is bad enough, but sexual battery? It would creep me out enough just having a doctor look at me sideways, but to have to worry about sexual battery is just insane!

Lastly, what cracks me up about this whole thing is that I'd love to hear what my mom's co-workers would have to say about all the recent news. I remember her telling me that the women in her office that were Tracy natives just loved to trash talk Stockton and point out all the reasons why they wouldn't go to Stockton after dark (how utterly ridiculous!), and how they would rather drive to Lodi than to Stockton to do their shopping. What made it even more ridiculous is that they would brag (!) about spending their weekends shopping "over the hill," meaning Dublin/Pleasanton. Somehow this was the ultimate in classy? This deserves another WTF, and I really don't use bad language anymore now that I'm a mom. But seriously, I'd love to hear what these women have to say about their town now. And I also love the fact that while Stockton gets trash talked aplenty, I can't think of any high profile crime cases that have taken place in Stockton like I can for Modesto, and now Tracy. At least the crime in Stockton is contained. Oh, my poor Central Valley.


*sorry, I can't do pretty URL links.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

rainy thoughts.

What a great break from the encroaching heat...and just when I had reconciled myself to the fact that the summer season is nearly here. It's 8am and I'm loving the water that drips off the ivy hanging outside my window...the storm clouds that hover overhead...the feel that I'm somehow closer to the ocean...If you're reading this, you know me, and if you know me you know that I detest the sun. I know it is the weirdest thing in the world and that most people absolutely live for the sun, but let's just say I won't be taking a tropical vacation any time soon. In fact, I'd much rather vacation in Harry Potter land. I love the feel of cool ocean air on my skin, the smell of the rain hitting the sidewalk, sitting at my window sipping English Breakfast while I read a one hundred year old trashy novel. This is probably our last rain of the season, so I'm relishing it before my summer blues hit again and I can no longer indulge my obsession with all things cozy. (And no, I'm not goth. Just a sympathizer.)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Still Agonizing over a Name...

You know what I realized just now? That no matter what name we choose, we're going to get beef about it. If we go with an Indian name (leaning toward Naveen), most Americans are going to think it's wierd/exotic/unpronounceable. If we go with a typical American name, we're going to get lip from other people in our lives, who pretty much think everything other people do is weird. I'm already tired of explaining to people what we're naming him and why. I had this problem the first time around with Kiran, and here we go again. I guess we should only be making ourselves happy, but a little positive support would be good.