Living in Middle Predicament

I’m living for the moment in Middle Predicament. You may
know the place. It’s really large for such a small town, located out there in
middle America not too close to Dire Straits and yet a good long way down the
pike from High Cotton. I’ll be honest with you, it used to be more comfortable
here back before my expectations got so high. Sometimes I think expectations
are not all that great a thing to have.

For me anyway, living here has gotten to be sort of like
running around with a financial shoelace loosened but not yet untied. What I
know ought to be tight is working loose, but it’s not yet undone and in need of
tying. Things like that seem only to happen in Middle Predicament. It’s
probably different where you live.

Those of us who live here have the rent and groceries
covered, in fact we’ve pretty much got everything we need, just not everything
we want. Ah yes, therein lies the rub. Middle Predicament is what made the credit-card business such a good
thing to be in. I jump all over refinancing my mortgage when the rate drops a
single percentage point and congratulate myself as a pretty sharp customer for
doing it. Asleep at the switch? Not me, pardner. And still, shrewd as I am I’m apt to ease the shortfall between
need and want with my credit card at 18% because after all, it’s a temporary
event. For most of us it lasts no longer than a lifetime. I’ve become sort of
an industry leader in that particular area, probably out there a little bit
ahead of the curve.

But like I was saying, it used to be a bit more comfortable
before all the numbers got so big. Don’t get me wrong, it’s okay that the
Michael Jordans of our world make $38 million a year and Bill Gates paid $40
million for a painting. It makes basketball players look like a certified
bargains when every couple years we’re bailing out Mexico or Thailand or
Indonesia or Korea with thirty or forty billion. But I gotta tell you, it
makes me feel just kinda stupid at the same time.
I mean, here I am trying
to pay off my kids college loans and get the payments caught up on the Jeep, so
I can get down to the Chrysler dealer and trade it on a Mercedes and my bank
says maybe I ought not to be handling that much debt.

Excuse me?

This is the same bank that upped the limit on my Master Card
six times in the past three years. The
same bank that merged themselves into another bank, so they could expand their
‘financial services.’ The same bank that wouldn’t touch a loan to friends of
mine in Dire Straits, even though their collateral was pretty decent. They
think I don’t know what’s goin’ on. 
But
hey, I read the papers. When a loan made to someone like me, right here in
Middle Predicament in the good old U S of A goes bad, then all the bank’s got
to show for it is a bad loan to charge off. That means messy excuses to be made
to the board of directors and those fellas all live up in High Cotton. They
don’t like news like that, it ruins a perfectly enjoyable catered lunch. Those
directors are all International players now, they’ve got global agendas.

They know a bad loan to some feller in Indonesia is bulletproof. When his
family runs off with the money, the World Bank trips all over itself trying to
cover his loans.

But I understand that. It makes sense that credit is
tight in Middle Predicament and those of us who live here just better get
used to it
.

Unless Michael opens a bank. Getting a loan there might be a
slam dunk.

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