Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Financial Advice











Well, I paid a visit (so to speak) to our financial adviser. It was a nasty job, but someone . . ., etc.

Not having many finances that need advising helps to streamline such visits, I have learned. Nonetheless, our adviser was born for the business and is a pleasure to watch in action. He has four different computer-screens going at the same time, one of which I and other clients get to watch, plus an adding machine. --No abacus (pictured above), but a pad and paper as backup. He loves what he does.

Musings about the visit produced the following poem, which does not (one hopes this is obvious, but given who's in charge of U.S. finances, you never know) actually reflect the advice I got.


Financial Advice

"Mr. Debit, we advise you to put part
of yourself in stocks and part in bonds.
These punishments should occur in the
Town Square, as penance for your miserable
money-managing skills, and as an example
to all. Unfortunately, your folio seems
never to have left port. It's taking on water
and barnacles. Our projections indicate

you'll be able to retire uncomfortably
when all the mountains run into the sea.
By then, the National Economy
shall have melted, leaving a residue
of prosperity. In those far-off days,

travel by burro, but don't go near
the fortresses of the mega-rich
and super-celebrated. From bastions,
their minions will train designer-weapons
on you. You must understand that from
the wealthy's point of view, few
things drive down property-values
more than semi-retired, Quixotic
geezers sitting atop humble beasts.

Currently, your liquid assets fit
into a shot-glass and may be
downed in one gulp. Among
your liabilities is you. Please
try harder to be a credit to
yourself. Crawl low. Pray high."

Copyright Hans Ostrom 2009
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