Another confession: I’m a bit of a TV whore. The writers’ strike took away some of my obsession with the idiot box, but I do truly enjoy parking my (substantial?) arse on the couch and watching me sum teevee! I have different shows that satisfy different needs. There are times when I just need to completely unwind with something that requires absolutely no real attention (See: Dancing with the Stars) and other times when I need to be awed by unbelievable writing (See: How I Met Your Mother). But recently, G has been recording a financial advice show that has my attention…and, now, has incurred my wrath.
The show is hosted by a financial expert – a woman who has written many best selling books about fiscal responsibility. She’s made her fortune by convincing others to buy her stuff. No problem. The show goes like this: Host takes phone calls from average working class folk who want to know if they can afford, or should buy something (house, car, boat, whatever). Host rakes them over the coals for entertaining such thoughts and moves on to the next caller. Each call takes about a minute (at the most).
I’m reminded of Dr. Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer’s character from “Frasier”), or any of the “real” radio shrinks when I watch this program. How is it possible to determine the appropriate course of psychological action in a three-minute phone call? And, how is it possible for this woman to make any recommendations to her callers on what they should or shouldn’t buy?
On paper, of course, it all makes sense. Sure, you have $85,000 in savings and you want to buy a $35,000 Corvette (“the dream car” as the 60-year old caller described it). Might seem like a frivolous expense, but if the caller had spent years saving for this dream – why the hell shouldn’t he buy it? Simply because it doesn’t make sense financially? Does the absolute, unparalleled joy he’s going to get from the car factor into any spreadsheet? Of course not! Because you can’t put “heart” or feelings into a financial portfolio. Buy the damn car!
The worst, however, was the woman who called in wanting to purchase a $750 digital camera. This wasn’t the top-of-the-line camera, but she wanted to buy it along with a Mac Book Pro and Photoshop software in order to make a run at her dream of being a professional photographer. The host crapped all over these purchases and dreams like a seagull in San Francisco. It was sad. You could almost hear the hope being sucked out of the poor caller. I wanted to give her a hug.
Yes, fiscal responsibility is important. And, I think we can sometimes move WAY too quickly into the excuse of, “you only live once” when considering over the top purchases. We have to check ourselves and make sure what we want is truly, truly what we want. If a 60-year old wants to buy a Corvette and can afford it – go nuts. If a young woman wants to try her hand at her dreams – have at it. I just don’t understand why anyone would want to stand in the way of dreams: Any dreams.
Yesterday, I watched K-Man rip around a firehouse (as he does every weekend). He has a true passion for all things fire trucks (which isn’t unusual for little boys, of course). But, his little friends who once went to fire stations every weekend with him are no longer going – they’ve moved on. K-Man may very well become a firefighter. Scary, but great – if that’s what he ultimately decides he wants.
I know that’s a little off-topic, but the point is the same. The point is that we all find ourselves looking up to actors, athletes, businesspeople, artists, whomever with some kind of awe. We idolize people for different reasons, but the fact is those people probably just did what we didn’t do: They found their passions and followed their dreams. It takes courage, as there’s nothing as heart-wrenching as “failing” (whatever that means) while chasing our dreams. But, you just get back up and try again. That’s just a test of how badly you want it.
I hope the dude is enjoying his Corvette right now. And, I hope that woman someday gets the assignment to shoot the book cover of the TV host’s next book – and turns her down. What’s the harm?