Saturday, October 24, 2009
There but for the grace of god go I...
I was talking to a friend this morning about an odd experience he had earlier this week. My friend, who wishes to remain anonymous, had a downtown meeting with investors in a large American big city.
As he walked over to the appointment he had the occasion to walk by a church rescue mission. He was startled to see an old business acquaintance lined up in the queue waiting for the handout.
Slightly embarrassed, he approached him and after a brief greeting candidly asked him about his predicament. The poor fellow had a six figure plus income from a major company less than two years ago. He told my friend that he and his wife got into too much of a house and mortgage. When he lost his job things just started to cascade. Now he was at rock bottom. My friend was wearing a three piece suit. His old acquaintance was living on the street. My friend pulled out fifty bucks and gave it to the guy. Wished him the best.
When my friend brought this up with me this morning, I think we both took a deep breath. Because it could be all of our asses in that line. Many of us are dancing on the edge of the cliff. I read about a young, stable, articulate black man in his twenties that worked for Nordstrom's six months ago and now sleeps under a bridge. He was a handsome guy in his twenties but the light in his eyes had been dimmed. Life had kicked him in the teeth.
This is depressing and I wouldn't write about it except to raise one point. A lot of people feeling the pain on the street right now are not necessarily paranoid schizophrenic alcoholics. Many are regular and normal folks like you or me who have caught a real bad deck. Uncle Sam gave the banks a break. The rest of the country got dick.