Money in the time of COVID

Death knell for comic book stores?

Sure I was appalled by the suggestion of Texas’ lieutenant governor that grandparents are willing to sacrifice themselves at the altar of capitalism.

Also, someone wants the country to be “opened up and raring to go by Easter”; this defies logic. So does him touting an untested drug as a cure.

It shows just how times have changed. A dozen years ago, people were shocked by the false rumor that Obamacare mandated that no one over 75 be given major medical procedures unless approved by an ethics panel. “You can’t kill Grandma!” they cried. (Yes, it was a political lie, but some were genuinely fooled by it.)

The argument then was that good Christian people must protect the right to life of octogenarians. One could understand that premise, even if it were based on a false premise. This new twist boggles the mind.

Moreover, the “call to reopen the economy would put a premature end to the nationwide social isolation efforts underway to quell the spread of the coronavirus, and could cause the entire health care system — and in turn the economy — to collapse under the weight of a crush of critically ill people.”

Incidentally, some folks I came across online are convinced that the medical establishment in Italy is sacrificing old people because of socialized medicine. The Italians are using triage because there are too many sick and dying at the same time. Seeing page after page of obituaries in their newspapers is awful to see.

And that could be California or Washington state or New York State soon. Or Louisiana or West Virginia, which was the last state with a confirmed COVID-19 case, not much later. Or somewhere not yet on the radar a month from now.

Tanking

Of course, I know the stock market is mostly sinking. I’ve been studiously avoiding taking a look. My position is that assiduously tracking the Dow Jones will change nothing.

Earlier in the week, my wife called across the room that the stock market was down again. I yelled back, “DON’T CARE!” It’s not that I’m unconcerned. But worrying about it will just give me agita.

I will get a quarterly statement in early April. I will open it, look at the bottom line, scream, throw it in a drawer, and forget about it until early July, when I will likely repeat the process if necessary. Mentally, the pessimist in me had always budgeted for a drop; I will survive.

Stimulating the economy

That said, I’ve gotten in the past two weeks at least six books, a DVD set, a couple of compact discs and some other items online. While some were purchased on a gift card, the rest was my money. I have this desire to do my part to buy what I can from small to medium-sized businesses.

I purchased three Marvel Masterworks from Mile High Comics just before it was announced that Diamond Comic Distributors is no longer taking in new comics for a time. This could be the death knell of the vast majority of comic book stores, especially those reliant on sales of the latest issue of the four-color publications.

TP

I went to the store last week, during the old people’s early hours. And though I didn’t really NEED toilet paper, I bought some, a four-roll pack.

That afternoon, one of our young neighbors, who actually talks with us, sighed that they only had one roll of TP in the house. I went inside, got the 4-back, and tossed a perfect spiral to the young person. (Social distancing, don’t you know?) Obviously, I DID need to purchase it. I just didn’t know why before then.

What You Can Do Right Now.

For the need of money, it seems

What’s that about?

moneyThis happened, six or seven years ago. I was riding on my Trek bicycle that I had purchased a few months earlier. I happened to stop outside of my current church.

A person who I did not know told me that I ought not to have had the bike I owned because I was “too fat and poor.” Yow.

I was too stunned to come up with a treppenwitz response. I’ll own the fat part. But poor? What’s that about? Underpaid, yes. Did he think that because I was overweight, I must also be impoverished? Is there a racial component? I dunno.

This happened last summer. I went to a Friends of the Albany Public Library book discussion by an author. During the Q & A, I asked what I thought were some cogent questions. Afterward, I pulled out a $20 bill to buy his first book. He asked if I sure I could afford it. He then also gave me his third book for nothing.

Also last summer, my wife went to see our financial planner. It’s REALLY boring stuff for me. He sounds like the adults on any Charlie Brown TV special, and I’ve told him so. Still, what he said was that we had a 99% of having a “successful” retirement, based on the money that we – mostly my wife – have saved.

I actually had some extra money in my checking account because I started collecting Social Security a few months before I retired. The teller at my bank recommended I talk to one of their financial people. As it turns out, after meeting two different people, unless I had $15,000 to invest – I did not – the best rate I could get was 0.1% interest.

The next day, I took out $5000 and put it into a 9-month CD at my credit union at 2.13%, not great, but it’s something. I guess I’m NOT “too poor” to buy that book or even that bicycle. So THERE.

Sweet for 4G (apologies: James Taylor)

I had not seen Deborah in decades because she lives in Europe.

Deborah MendsThe envelope was in a box of unsorted miscellany, rather than in the mail drawer. I discovered it about a month after the May 2 date on the letter. It came from MetLife.

“RE: Case Number…

“DEAR ROGER GREEN:

“We are trying to locate ROGER GREEN regarding an important insurance matter. They last resided at [my address in 1999-2000].

“If you know ROGER GREEN…” Do I! Calling the 800 number, I was told I would get some form to fill out.

Three weeks later, the Identification Questionnaire letter came. Section I was easy enough, Insured’s Information.

But Section II was nigh unto impossible. “Insured’s address when policy was issued.” I didn’t know THAT the policy was issued. “Date”? Dunno. “Name of agent who issued the policy” – seriously?

I ASSUME this was some sort of policy that was arranged by my parents at some point, though they never told me about it. Back in the 1990s, I started receiving these minuscule dividend checks every quarter from MetLife. $2.64 or $2.97 or $3.18, which I thought was a function I set up from something I must have set up.

In any case, I spoke to a different customer service representative. HE told me that I shouldn’t have needed to fill this form out, since I had an account with them. Long story short, I received a check for about $4,400 in early August.

It’s not life-changing money, but it’s life-made-easier money. We had one laptop among three of us; now we have two. And when it’s lacking software protection I assumed incorrectly that would be included, I acquired it.

I took a trip for work to Washington, DC, and the credit card bill came due before the reimbursement check arrived; not a problem. My trip to Yankee Stadium was affordable. I purchased tickets for an upcoming concert.

Most spontaneously, I could take a train to Poughkeepsie one morning to see my friend Deborah. I had not seen her in decades because she lives in Europe. She drove 90 minutes from Connecticut. We share hot drinks and a muffin at the nearby coffee shop for a couple of hours. Then I took the train back so I could go to work in the afternoon.

To be sure, some of these – the Yankees game and seeing Deborah, for sure – I would have done WITHOUT the extra cash.

BTW, the JT reference is to Suite for 20 G. From Songfacts: “This song was an amalgamation of several bits of songs/melodies/lyrics/themes that Taylor had laying around as kernels for three future songs that hadn’t yet come together. He and his producer, Peter Asher, had a deadline to meet for completing the Sweet Baby James album, and they needed one more song to do it. Asher had him string these loose themes together to make a single ‘Suite’ and get the $20,000 (20G) they were promised by Warner Bros. Records for completing the album, which is how it got the title.”

May rambling #1: The Case Against Reality

I had a terrible blogging April, but because I work ahead, it wasn’t always evident.

c 19651965 edition of “Our New Age”[/caption]

The Case Against Reality. A professor of cognitive science argues that the world is nothing like the one we experience through our senses.

Song Of My Self-Help: Follow Walt Whitman’s ‘Manly Health’ Tips, appearing in the Walt Whitman Quarterly Review. It was uncovered by a University of Houston student, and includes: “The beard is a great sanitary protection to the throat.”

The Neverending Workday – A pervasive cultural norm of work devotion leaves many employees with little time for family, friends, or sleep.

In rural Maine, a life of solitude and larceny. Police say hermit stole to survive 27 years in woods.

What Would Happen If We Just Gave People Money?

After ‘The Biggest Loser,’ Their Bodies Fought to Regain Weight. Continue reading “May rambling #1: The Case Against Reality”

Money or mitigating mistakes?

Would I have to relive parts of my twenties? OH, God, please, NO.

bluepillOne finds these on Facebook all the time. Would you rather have this large sum of money, or do something that would be perceived as more noble?

I look at these options, and the choice was surprisingly easy; I’d take the cash. This does not come from either greed or shallowness. Rather it is from the recognition that the mistakes I made – and to quote Sinatra, “I’ve made a few” Continue reading “Money or mitigating mistakes?”