The Passing Parade: Cheap Shots from a Drive By Mind

"...difficile est saturam non scribere. Nam quis iniquae tam patiens urbis, tam ferreus, ut teneat se..." " is hard not to write Satire. For who is so tolerant of the unjust City, so steeled, that he can restrain himself... Juvenal, The Satires (1.30-32)

Friday, May 09, 2014

Investment advice from the fifth dimension

I got an email from my sister who’s not really my sister the other day, which is a relationship sufficiently out of the ordinary to call for some explanation. Barbara and her family lived next door to us in the Bronx, back in the days when Ike was the President of this our Great Republic and all was right in the world, except for the usual suspects like the Middle East, which was as intractable then as it is now. Barbara was a teenager then and whenever Mom and Dad had to go out, she’d come across the hall to baby-sit my brothers and me. Her own mother was in the last stages of lymphatic cancer then, so Barbara and my mother became very close during what had to have been an incredibly trying time.  Barbara always called our mother Mommy and we (my brothers and I) always thought of her as our cool older sister. She took us to the park and the playground and to the movies too; I still remember seeing Goldfinger and Thunderball—I was big on James Bond then; I had the action figures and everything—and Barbara took us all to see Mary Poppins when it opened at Radio City Music Hall in 1964, a year, I should point out to the younger readers, when there were no dinosaurs living in the New York City sewers or anywhere else on Earth, except for Philadelphia, Mississippi, where the shock wave from the asteroid hadn’t arrived yet. 

As time passed, Barbara’s fate was the fate of all cool older sisters: she went to college, she got married, and then she moved away and started a family of her own. We stayed in touch, though; she called her Mommy at least once a week, no matter where she was, and when we needed advice, we’d call her and talk to see what she thought. And we would listen to what she had to say, because her advice was always sound and because she was our big sister, and we loved her and her good opinion was important to us. 

So, it shouldn’t have surprised me that I got an email from her the other day advising me to invest in hotels in the greater New Delhi area.  Like my mother, Barbara was always on the lookout for a good deal, although the sudden interest in foreign real estate puzzled me. She’d never shown any interest in the subject before she died last year of the same kind of lymphatic cancer that killed her mother in 1959 and I wondered why she’d developed such an interest now. But I suppose being dead broadens one’s horizons in much the same way that travel does, and getting investment advice from one’s dead relatives via email certainly makes more sense that having to go to séances run by Madame Griselda, who tells her customers that she is a Hungarian Gypsy and who is, in reality, a third generation Italian American from Secaucus, New Jersey, or cracking out the old ouija board and wondering what the spirits are trying to tell you. Email is a much more efficient form of communication than mediums, ouija boards, or even the occasional burning bush, even if burning bushes have a really good spam filter.

And getting investment advice from the dead certainly makes more sense than getting advice from some Wall Street financial type. With the latter you have to spend a good amount of time wondering if they are trying to get you to invest because it’s good for your portfolio or whether they want you to invest in one thing or another because they intend to make a fortune shorting the stock once they’ve gotten enough suckers to take the bait. With your dead relatives, on the other hand, you can rest assured that they have your best interests at heart, assuming, of course, that they weren’t organ donors and their heart is now in some checkout clerk at a Wal-Mart just outside of Boise, Idaho. It’s not like the dead have any interest in earning sales commissions or shorting stocks or have someplace to spend the money once they’ve earned it. There’s a good reason why there are no good delicatessens or Citroen car dealerships in American cemeteries and the steadfast immobility of the deceased labor market probably has something to do with that.

Now, I know what you’re probably thinking. We live in a cynical age and I know that you’re thinking that the person on the other end of those emails is not my sister who’s not really my sister, but some subcontinental digital goniff who hacked into her account and does not know that I am on to him and his thieving ways. I would be a terrible person if I even considered this idea for even a moment. If I did, then I would be the kind of person who thinks that someone who did something like this is the verminous spawn of a syphilitic latrine cleaner of the Bhangi caste and a leprous sow, a piece of filth who enjoys inserting razor blades into his own penis in order to alleviate the pain of his baseball-sized kidney stones and telling people that if they like their doctor, they can keep them. Well, maybe that last one is an untruth too far, but you get my point. We may live in a cynical age, but I refuse to allow this to affect my happy and joyous outlook on life or to wish my older sister who isn’t my sister all the success in the world in her new career in finance and real estate.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,



  • At 6:52 AM, Blogger Dick Stanley said…

    Indeed, the Interwebs are wonderous to behold. We meet so many interesting people. So long as we don't reply, they can't harass us continually. But if we don't mind, then we have a friend for life.


Post a Comment

<< Home