I was standing in the bank one day – waiting my turn in line.
At the counter, two service employees were trying to explain to an almost frantic customer why it was she couldn’t take money out of her joint account, even though it consisted of mainly her earnings.
A couple a places down from her another situation was being played out as a woman was trying to cash a cheque that was 24 hours too early. In the corner of my eye, I saw her partner anxiously watching from a cushioned bench reserved for folks coming in for a loan.
Behind me, people were impatiently shuffling their feet. I would have normally been doing the same; but not after seeing people struggling to keep financially afloat.
Then I realized that we were all in the same boat; especially when you consider that almost all of the world’s wealth is concentrated in the hands of just 1% of the population. As I looked around at all the folks in the bank that day – on both sides of the counter – I doubted if any of that 1% could be found there. So why would any of us be impatient at the plight of others? What about their children? It’s just sad.
For a brief instance I was standing in the shoes of my former self … like the folks at the counter. Has anyone not been down that road, at some point? And, after counting our own blessings, surely we are rich enough to afford others a little empathy.
The problem is, at a time when many have been deeply hurt by the global recession, these past couple of years, others (both business and personal) have barely known it existed … but that’s changing.
The reason? It’s because of our inter-connectiveness.
That lack of purchasing by those less fortunate is now impacting the fortunes of those next on the food chain – especially in Retailing. When those employees also start maxing out their credit cards – just to buy groceries for example – then the whole house of economic cards threatens to fall. Next thing … the well-to-do are selling their yachts!
How could it be otherwise in our global economy?
Yet today, when everyone is equally at economic risk, some ordinary folks are still acting as if they were first and their peers last … something to do with who has the most toys.
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How ‘hick’ is that and how ironic!
They not only are devoid of the vast riches of this life; but they themselves are considered the last in life by those uncaring souls who are both super rich and lost. Ah, us ‘working class heroes’ – ain’t we something to see?
As for extreme world poverty, I can’t even imagine. This is something I know very little about. And it’s true what they say – everybody hates a ‘tourist’.
Why? Well to paraphrase an astute observation, when you’re looking down from the top of a Ferris wheel (which by relative comparison includes most of us) … people (the world’s very poor) are just dots on our collective radar screen of life.
How can this be? After all, history tells us that this polarizing situation between the classes is not sustainable. And, as I think of the future impact on my grandchilden, I’m reminded of the infamous quote by King Louis XVI leading up to the French Revolution,“Après moi le deludge”. Yet again, that was then; so maybe today – being globally connected – we’ll know better … and that wouldn’t hurt.
One of Roy Orbison’s last recordings, ‘The Only One’, probably says it best:
“Everyone you knows been through it,
Bite the bullet, and then you chew it.
… And you’re the only one, who will give again.