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jueves, octubre 02, 2008

Better Friends

Recently, I needed some money so I could complete a project I was working on. So I called up my friend, Tom, and I asked him if I could have $10,000. He said he'd have to discuss it with his spouse, but then called by later and said, "Sure. Happy to do it. When can you pay it back?"

It's the last sentence that's the issue here. Can you imagine my outrage that he wanted to be paid back, that he wasn't just going to give me the cash? I need a better set of friends. I need friends who will just give me money when I say I need it. I need friends who make gifts and don't appear to expect anything in return.

Maybe I should have responded to his request for repayment by telling him that very, very bad things would happen not just to him, but also to his family, and that they would all be afflicted for the next seven generations if he didn't just pony up the cash and drop the repayment talk. I wouldn't explain how this would happen, or provide details. I'd just emphasize how very, very bad things would be for him, etc etc. It'd just be a strong threat of very bad things. If I had said that, I think he probably would have thought I was committing a crime, trying to extort funds from him by threatening him and his family.

Maybe if I had been making many big monetary gifts contributions to Tom for the past decade, he would have considered my request for payment a "pay back" of some sort. But I don't have any relationships like that, where it's about me buying a potential, future favor. I just try to be generous when friends ask for something. And I always ask when they will pay it back. And I hope my friends will be generous when I ask for something. And I don't ask if I think that there's any chance that I cannot pay it back.

If I lent my friends money for a business venture, I'd expect them to give me some stock in the company, or a promissory note that paid interest. I'd expect to be protected and to be paid back. Silly me.

So evidently, Wall Street has far better friends in Congress than I have in my life. I hope that's not true, but if the bailout bill passes, it will prove the point.

Maybe I could have the right kind of friends if I started befriending a new class of people, people I presently disdain for being fools and suckers. Who else will make a gigantic gift to people who apparently don't need it and expect nothing in return?

Please tell your Congressperson to vote no. Not one centavo. Not one cent. Not one penny. Please email and FAX and telephone them.

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