[ExI] long breezy story for a friday evening, was RE: Savings and wealth/was Re: More on Health Costs

spike spike66 at att.net
Sat May 30 03:12:12 UTC 2009


> ...On Behalf Of BillK
> ...Savings and wealth/was Re: More on Health Costs
> On 5/29/09, spike wrote:
> > ...That's why I hoard money now: I  
> am chasing the dream of freedom.

> ...It is the complete opposite POV that has now taken 
> hold in the new 'thrift' mood of the people...

Cool, I am hip again.  Or hip for the first time.

> ...If the government keeps pumping money 
> into the economy they will get the worst of both worlds, 
> stagflation. A stagnant economy AND inflation...

Don't worry, that comes to an end real soon now.  They will run out of other
people's money.

> Spike, I commend your ambition to save towards economic 
> freedom. The problem you face is that for any wage slave to 
> reach that objective usually requires either (preferably 
> both) a very high salary and / or
> *extreme* saving techniques.
> BillK

Thanks BillK.  I have very modest tastes.  Actually I am a deplorable tight
ass, but hey, we are told that this behavior is at least partly genetic,
therefore I cannot be criticized for it, otherwise it is racist.

I can't tell your age from your posts, BillK, but I vaguely perceive you as
one of the younger guys.  So do let old Uncle Spike tell you a good geezer
story for a mellow Friday evening, and if you don't like geezer stories, do
hit erase forthwith.

When my folks moved to Titusville Florida in my infancy, the whole area was
in boom times, for in the 60s there was the Mercury program, then the Gemini
program, then the Apollo program, but in about 1971 suddenly there were no
more follow-on programs and the layoff notices fell like the leaves of
autumn.  That area saw then all the stuff the entire nation is seeing now:
real estate bubble from people rushing in to be part of the next big thing,
(space, the final frontier, etc) people taking crazy investment risks mostly
on real estate, followed by a horrifying bust with some people trying to
hang on until better times, others leaving for other jobs, some losing
everything, leaving their homes to the bank, plenty of bankruptcies, etc.
The Titusville economy didn't even start to recover until about 1980 when
the space shuttle work started coming in.

I was a junior in High School in 1877 and the south was struggling to
recover from the Civil War.  Kidding, it was 1977, Carter was president,
stagflation bigtime, the south was still fighting the Civil War, and we were
trying to raise money for the junior senior prom.  We made a goal of raising
a thousand bucks with the usual combination of money-raising schemes, but
for the several years previous, the junior classes had managed to raise less
and less because of the hard times, and the only activity that generated
much profit was the carwash, for the girls would get out there in string
bikinis and entertain the drivers, who cheerfully sat ogling and drooling at
the wheel as their Detroits were being scrubbed.  It was borderline
prostituion, separated from a strip club by less cotton than one might find
in an aspirin bottle, but plenty of the girls that age were already harlots,
so it worked fine.  If we made the goal to raise a thousand bucks, we would
hire the local band, and if we took in less we were going to hire a DJ to
spin discs for 200.

A guy named Greg Collinsworth suggested a novel money making scheme.  There
was a static display at the cross town high school, an engineering model of
a Saturn rocket on its side.  It is still there to this day.  Zoom all the
way in, see just to the east of that patch of trees in this map, that white
object is a Saturn 1B on it's side with the nose pointing south by south


Collinsworth suggested we get up inside that rocket with irons and solder
suckers and try to recover some of the gold alloy solder that was used in
those days for space applications.  Sounded like a longshot, but they needed
small skinny guys to get up in there, which is how I got involved, along
with Collinsworth and about a dozen other guys.  I was well suited for that,
being as the whole string bikini thing just didn't look good on me.

Cut to the chase, they used thru-hole technology and solder coated wire wrap
interface back then, so there was a looot of gold alloy solder.  There were
also a number of materials that are now known carcinogens in there, but we
were teenagers then, indistructible.  Anyway, much to our surprise, when we
had the gold separated out of the alloy, we raised a bit over five thousand
bucks!  Add that to several hundred the young harlots raised with the car
wash and we had over 6 grand, so we had a class meeting.  The budding
capitalists wanted to hire a big famous band called SOMF City (being thus
named as an acronym for Sit On My Face), formed by the former drummer for
the Village People who had broken away because they were gay and he wasn't,
so they didn't get along, but Mr. SOMF wanted six grand for the evening.

The junior class had a huge debate, for several of us argued that it was a
damn shame, an outrage, a deplorable waste to blow that kind of money on one
evening of noise, regardless of how good it was, and I wouldn't want to
spend that much money even if would buy Elvis Presley, who didn't perish
until late that summer.  We counterproposed using the money to give the
school a gift of some kind, a fountain, or a dedicated bleacher at the ball
field, or my notion was to endow a scholarship (yaaaaaay!) for something
like...the best math student! (boooooo!)  And so it came to a vote, but I
saw politics in action, for instead of having two votes, first SOMF or no
SOMF, they had about twenty choices: DJ for 200, SOMF City for six grand,
then a long list of other choices, any idea anyone thought of, so the
scholarship crowd was divided about fifteen ways by how they would decide
the winner (best mathematician, fastest track star, worthiest student,
neediest student, funniest student, squarest, hippest, fattest, skinniest,
stonedest student, etc).  Cut to the chase, SOMFers won, taking less than 20
percent of the vote! 

Bitterness, disillusionment and apathy ensued for 80% of the class.

We wasted aaalllll thaaaat daaaamn moooooney on the only heterosexual member
of the Village People.  We spent six thoooooousand dollars, for a band named
Sit On My Face.  Oh my, are not we proud of ourselves.  }8-[

Fast forward to last fall.  We were having our class 30 year reunion.  Greg
Collinsworth, who came up with the gold solder idea to start with, was not
there, for he ended up with liver cancer, and perished a few years ago.  We
will never know if it had anything to do with the exposure during the solder
recovery effort, but he probably spent more time up in there than anyone.
His older brother is apparently doing quite well however, for I occasionally
see him on the TV screen on my airline flights, Chris Collinsworth, who is
now a sportscaster or something I think.  The topic of SOMF City came up at
the reunion; the class is still deeply divided over that to this day.  I
still would take DJs for 200 please Alex.  Or hell, have the students bring
their own rock and roll records and play those, for free.  And use that gold
solder money to endow a generous scholarship.  To the best mathematician.



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