Friday, July 15, 2011


            “Who loves you, baby?”

            Do you remember that line? If you do, you’re revealing your age. It was Telly Savalas’ tag line in his TV cop show, ‘Kojak’. When was that? Oh, my. I think it was in the mid 1970s.
            I received another credit card application in the mail the other day – actually two – and that re-kindled the same set of questions that always pops up in my mind when I get that type of unsolicited mail. First, is there someone who gets paid on the volume of applications he/she sends out? I want that job. Okay, okay. Yes, I know that those things are computer generated and ‘never touched by human hands’, which leads into the second question: just how many computers (in how many companies in how many countries) contain my name, mailing address and other information? I’m a very private person, and I can’t help but suspect that it isn’t in my best interest for the world to have such easy access to that information about me. That leads me to the question of whether or not I could just drop off the grid. I have to admit that the idea of dropping off the grid sings its siren song to me on occasion. Sometimes I visit websites where they tell you how to make your own bread, generate your own power and construct your own dwelling. No more hassles with big government, big business or big money. But I don’t know if it’s even possible anymore in our high tech, computerized world to drop off the grid.

            A little self-serving plug here – ‘What Rough Beast’ presents a world forced off the grid, a world where all cultural and societal conventions break down. You’ll see it through the eyes of one man, Jonathan Taylor, as he struggles to survive the ensuing chaos.
            End of commercial.

            I was talking about credit card applications. Both of the applications I received used the same hook. They began by trying to entice me with the prospect of saving money. Who doesn’t want to save money, right? These credit card companies were offering to help me save money. This is all sinking in, isn’t it? Just how gullible do people think we are? A credit card company wants to help me save money? Right. That will happen when donkeys fly.
            But since reading is one of my weaknesses, I had to read a few lines. There was a crafty artfulness about it. It read like a letter from a friend, a friend who knows how I struggle from week to week to juggle the financial demands of life. Like a letter from a friend.

            It started me wondering, who are my friends? Certainly banks, credit institutions and their ilk are not my friends. Who would be beside me in a time of crisis? Who would I talk to if my world was crumbling down? And that made me think of Telly Savalas’s line.
            “Who loves you, baby?”

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