Welcome to Big Old Goofy World . . . a place where I can share my thoughts, hopes, and dreams about this rock that we live on and call home.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Short Changed

I’m depressed.  Parade magazine put out its annual issue of “what people earn” . . . and, I am depressed.  Somewhere I have been short changed. 

Now I know that I am not a professional athlete—not even a good weekend warrior, and will never come close to earning the 19 million that Serena Williams earns each year for hitting a little yellow ball back and forth while grunting like a stuck pig. Maybe if I could win a gold medal at the Olympics I could pick up a couple of million . . . Gabrielle Douglas, age 17, earns a cool 10.25 million a year.  I am also not a singer—if that is what you think Justin Beiber does for approximately 33 million a year.  Adele, she is so good she only has one name, makes 32 million a year.  God didn’t bless me with a voice that can sing.  Nor, am I an actor like Brad Pitt who earns a cool 35.5 million a year . . . or Sofia Vergara who earns 21 million a year . . . but, I should get something for those times when I have to be contrite to the wife for screwing up . . . at least a nomination for an Oscar or a Razzie.  That should be worth a couple of bucks!  It is good acting!  I am not worthy of what these individuals get paid for what they do . . . whether or not what they do is of value to most of the world.

The annual report of peoples’ earnings is always fascinating to me . . . fascinating because I am nosey like everyone else and want to know what other people make.  I want to know so I can see how I stack up . . . and, what I am learning is that I don’t stack up very well.  I am being short changed.  I am grossly underpaid.  Being grossly underpaid, I always begin to think that maybe it is time for a career change.  Looking at what others make for what they do, I thought I could do that too.
For example, I saw that one lady was making $250,000 a year as a bridal shop owner.  I know a thing or two about weddings . . . but most of that experience is on the short end of the stick.  I could do it . . . until I start thinking about how wasteful most weddings are . . . lots of money spent on nothing.  I probably wouldn’t do well as I would encourage couples to elope and save their money for the future.  Buy a six-pack, see the county judge, and save a couple of thousands of dollars.  Bridal shop owner probably would not earn me much more than I am already making.

I saw that a sign language interpreter makes about $12,000 a year—way under what I make a year, but I do know sign language.  True it has been years (many years) since I have used my ability to sign, but I use sign all of the time . . . especially commuting back and forth from the big city.  But I do not think that there is much demand for a signer who basically uses one sign that means “good luck” in Hawaiian.  It is a sign I do well . . . it has got to be worth something to someone.

A Zumba instructor makes $24,000 a year . . . but that sounds like a lot of work.  I am tired thinking about it.  I saw where a sports columnist in Salt Lake City makes $64,993 a year reporting on sports.  I like sports, I can string a couple of sentences together and, I know the difference between football and “football”.  Shoot, I thought that if someone could make nearly 65 thousand a year in a city like Salt Lake City writing about sports where there are no sports . . . what could I make a year?  A bookstore owner in Florida makes $9,600 a year . . . I could never be a bookstore owner.  I love books . . . I couldn’t sale the books because I would want to keep them all.  I can see why she was so poorly paid.  Being a book lover is not a career that pays. 

The magazine listed one pastor on their list of what people earned.  It was a pastor in Mississippi who was pulling in a cool $31,500 a year.  Compared to her, my ministerial career is vastly underpaid.  But who ever put a price on the “good news” . . . like the MasterCard advertisements say, it is priceless.  Still, there was a little salary envy.

We live in a society that puts money on things to give it value . . . everything has a value it seems.  I learned long ago that value is subjective and what one person values, another person sees none.  I once thought that I could fund my whole retirement with sports cards . . . or beanie babies . . . I should pull out of that one in about another twenty years.  A sports card or a beanie baby is only worth what someone will pay for it . . . most people won’t pay a whole heck of a lot.  I think I got short changed in all of the hype. 

We have all seen those MasterCard commercials that list off all of these expensive items—for example, going to a major league baseball game.  They list the tickets (a couple of hundred), souvenirs (another couple of hundred), refreshments (about a hundred)—you get the picture as the money spent rings up.  Then they hit you with a picture of a kid with a big smile and they say, “Priceless.”  Yeah, I know, what they are trying to do is to get you to use their credit card at 20 percent interest, but they do touch on a truth . . . sometimes it is not the monetary value that is important, but the experience.

I cannot complain about the value of the life I have experienced . . . it has been priceless.  I have been blessed by God to have been able to experience a wonderful life with a spouse who loves me, children who love and tolerate me, and a congregation that puts up with me.  They have all allowed me to be a part of their lives and no amount of money could ever cover what I have received.  I live in a beautiful place where God constantly blesses me with a wondrous gift that I can find nowhere else . . . glorious mountains, splendid sunrises and sunsets, lots of cool critters, and a peace and tranquility no amount of money could ever buy.  I enjoy getting up and going to work at the university and at the church.  Monetarily, I might be short changed . . . experientially, I am blessed. 

Parade magazine focuses on what society thinks is important—money.  I think they are missing the point.  It is always about the money.  Ask the  lady who signs for people who cannot hear . . . or the lady who sells books . . . or the pastor who works all of the time.  They do not do what they do for the money . . . they do not see their value based on the money in the bank.  It is the opportunity to have the experience . . . make the relationships . . . and, to be blessed for the experience.  Money cannot buy everything . . . but it sure doesn’t hurt.  Nah, who am I trying to fool . . . I am actually pretty happy for what I am worth . . . it is priceless.

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