Sunday, April 19, 2009

Gains and Losses.

The advertising that pops up with my Weather Bug widget caught my eye this morning. It showed a bare stomach belonging to a young lady with the catch phrase: "Gain a flat stomach in two weeks."

Well, I'm not sure they meant "gain". Gain is growth, in volume, in cents, in knowledge. Bu those are the words used in that commercial, at a time when people have become a bit sensitive about losses. With all the people losing jobs, homes, retirement funds, all we want is to gain. Tell us that's possible and will jump in the pool.

The old adage, "buyers beware" is still in play. But there is something else. We have become so accustomed to the hype, the spin, wordplay that confuse, reduce and infuse, that we are now in a catatonic mood. We can't buy any more because we have experienced a crisis of delusion, of our own making. We can't trust our senses to communicate clearly to us. Were we not having a good time spending? Wasn't it fun ?

If Wall Street missed the signs, if boards that oversee corporations continued to approve lascivious bonuses for CEO's that were deciding such strange ventures, if our own Treasury Department and National Leaders kept saying things were fine, how were we to know? Now we are skittish and worried, and for very good reasons.

We lost our innocence, in this economic downturn. We lost our bubbly personalities and effervescent buying esprit. We are turning down our heat, freezing our credit cards, and digging in our backyard. We are going to grow our own wealth the old fashioned way, by growing our food, sewing our clothes, repairing our cars. Well, not this last part.

When our grandchild visits, we'll fish, clean and cook our own food, shell peas, make jams with our berries, and build muscles as we canoe to the Ocean. If she still has lots of energy, she'll pack food for the local pantry with the rest of us. She'll gain respect for those folks who grow her food and harvest the oceans.


Reasons to be Cheerful 1,2,3 said...

The advertisers toy with our minds, making us believe they are giving us what we need. Then they throw in some confusion so we are too bewildered to decode the messages!

The credit crunch has a few silver linings. My parents often talk of the lack of waste during war time, making do, sharing... I am happy to see a lot more recycling going on.

Sink said...

I do believe that this is the "good" that can come of this economic mess -- a recentering. I don't feel so crazy about making my own laundry detergent, for instance. Suddenly everyone wants the recipe!

jinksy said...

Back to the simple life, eh?

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

The G-man & I were talking about something similar this morning. I'm trying to figure out how to lessen my carbon-footprint. How to fix the water heater & not buy a new one is the current dilemma. With the stove & 'fridge that I just replaced I didn't mind getting new appliances because we gave the old ones to someone who needed them, but seems as though we could replace the element in the water heater rather than getting a new one.

Woman in a Window said...

"We lost our innocence."
I'm a little more cynical. I think we lost our easy life. And although I do hope some begin to look closer to home, I'm afraid once the economy picks up, there will be a lot of lost happy souls again. We need to return to simple because we want to, not because we have to. Otherwise, it'll never stick. (Geesh, I'm on a roll today.)

Lola said...

The fact that Italy is the country where the "crisis" has left the vaguest mark means we've been in a muck way longer and worse than the rest of the world?

I like to think that our more rural and rustic Italy is frozen in a providential time warp bubble. That's why suddenly everybody wants to enter it and begin anew; foraging, hunting, fishing, and dyi-ing.

Thank you for yet another brain candy post. Ciao cara amica

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Rosaria, did you ever think of going into politics - The world would have been a far gentler, far more sensible place; It might have turned into more of an idyll, and shown us all how we should live our lives, rather than this selfish, materialistic, and war-torn world that we live in now...

And yet I know that here in our world there are flashes of brilliance and common sense...but just not abundant enough yet...

I live in hope, and meanwhile we can live here in Blogland with you...and learn.

Fire Byrd said...

I think you have the right idea, and I for one make sure that food does not go to waste and that I use up all leftovers. I make soup from the strangest combinations.
And a needle and thread makes appearances in my hand more and more often. Just got to get the knitting needles down and there will no stopping me..... mind you when would I blog?

Paul Costopoulos said...

Iwas born at the very beginnings of the so called "Great Depression". In my immediate family only my father and my maternal uncle had a paying job. All my numerous other relatives were out of work...and back then, no social security either. What crises are we talking about?
OK, Canada has it less severe than you USAers but still you have it better than your grand-parents.
Looks worse, relatively speaking, because we had it so good for so long but we will all pull through as North Americans (USAers, Mexicans and Canadians) have always done. The pioneering spirit is still strong. Circle the wagons and fight it out.

Lori ann said...

These are interesting times we live have made some very good and valid points.
thank you so much for the lovely and wise words you left for me on my last post Rosaria. I really appreciate them.
♥ lori

Natalie said...

I, for one would love to see people becoming more self sufficient and less commercialised. Bring it on!

Sarah Laurence said...

I hate those pop up ads, but it’s good to see one led to reflection.

Delwyn said...

I don't know about losing our innocence, perhaps losing our gullibility...and our apathy in the face of corporate greed and mismanagement.
I think this shake up is good for economies like ours that thrive on over indulgence, massive consumerism and wastefulness.
We can all do with being more aware of our choices, our expenses and our contribution to the environment.
We also have to question the material the media feed us now - they have such a big role to play in the mood and the faith of the general public in the face of this downturn and they are not necessarily to be believed and can in fact be held responsible for much of the scare tactics that abound.
We each have to become more responsible and accountable.

Sarah Lulu said...

I am all for a simpler life ...where less is more.

And perhaps it is that some of us needed a shove in that direction?

Amy said...

I really like this post!

One hope I have for this current economic situation is that we as a nation, will find our way back to simpler ways of life and become more self sufficient. Every time I see a new product on the shelf that touts itself as being "quicker" or "simpler" the hot dogs they sell that are already in the bun, I think, "Geesh! Have we really reached a point where we can't even put our own hot dog in the bun?!"

It's good you're teaching your grandchildren. They're fortunate to be the recipients of such gifts.

Ribbon said...

Greetings from Australia...
We're pretty lucky down here...

Less is More!

I think that everyone else has just about covered it.

Always a pleasure to read a thought provoking post.

best wishes Ribbon

Jennifer said...

I, too, have felt this dual paradigm shift in beliefs: that awareness that we have been subjected to ever spinning mindgames; and that I want to stop listening, simplify, be independent. Thanks for your thoughts.

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

I honestly think that with these losses came considerable gains - especially when one views it as wisely as you do.

Matawheeze said...

I'm cynical. I doubt very much things will change much among the public attitudes toward "things". I sat in gas lines in the 70's. We've never owned more than one car - and that one getting 40mpg. We learned. But the rest of the country quickly returned to driving gas hogs to commute and owning multiple cars PLUS recreation vehicles. After THIS crisis? I expect the same bounce-back spending.

Suldog said...

The best memories are from the times we do things that involve people, not things. Shelling peas, fishing, and all that, will be remembered fondly.

Bogey said...

Amen. Life has gotten so damned fast these days that, for most, creating a home cooked meal has become a luxury. It's a shame really.

Tessa said...

'Gain a flat stomach' - urgh - the misuse of English by the English-speaking world is profoundly irritating. As Professor Higgins famously asked, in sonorous tone, in the song from My Fair Lady, "Why can't the English learn to speak...."

'Why can't the English
Teach their children how to speak?
Norwegians learn Norwegian,
The Greeks are taught their Greek.
In France every Frenchman
Knows his language from A to Zed
(The French don't care what they do, actually, as long as they pronounce it properly.)

Arabians learn Arabian
With the speed of summer lightning,
And the Hebrews learn it backwards
Which is absolutely frightening.
But use proper English, you're regarded as a freak.
Oh why can't the English
Why can't the English
Learn to speak!'

You are absolutely right, lakeviewer, about your granddaughter gaining respect for the people who work the land on our behalf in order than we are able to sit down each evening to a plate full of food, glorious, food. Yours is, as always, a beautifully written and thought-provoking post. Thank you.

Tessa said...

PS. I'm not sure if you approve of these things, but I've tagged you for a fun 'meme of the moment' over at my place. I have a feeling that your answers to the questions will be as witty and as thought-provoking as the best of them! However, please don't do it unless you feel like it - no obligation, honestly.

Angela Recada said...

It's about time we all slowed down and stopped trying to buy our happiness with the newest, biggest, fastest "must-have" of the moment.

I'm all for enjoying the simple things in life and gave up the rat race years ago when my children were born. We chose a life of voluntary simplicity and haven't had too many regrets over the years. We have had all we needed to live life fully.

I was once part of the corporate world - one of the people who came up with marketing and sales promotion campaigns, one of the people who wrote the ads and brochures and other marketing materials meant to create a demand for a product people didn't know they needed or wanted. It was all about separating people from their money. I'm not proud of that time.

I applaud what you are doing with your grandchild! What a lucky child to have such a wise and loving grandmother!

Renee said...

A grandmother such as you. What a lucky girl she is.

You would be awesome I know it.

13, that is such a fun age. Did you know that teenagers are my favourite of all favourite age groups.

Oh so you know some Taurus too. um huh.

Wahid and I have always been pretty frugal because in the 80s when he lost his job for a couple of years I worked two jobs. It was rough and we never wanted to be where whe could not afford to live.

We knew through experience that we had to have enough money to meet expenses, as the gravy train had passed us by.

About my gift; whenever. I will be thrilled whenever. No rush. I also hope that your irritants are just that and nothing serious.

Love Renee xoxoxo

lime said...

ah it's a healthier way to be active and to learn from whence comes our food. do enjoy the visit. and thanks for stopping by my place.