Have you ever driven past a run-down house with a shiny new Mercedes in the driveway? Do you ever get annoyed by your friend who is always blaming everyone but himself for being broke? Have you ever wondered if your neighbors, who seem to have it all, really have anything?
If you’ve ever thought about these types of things, then welcome to the land of Normalcy.
You see, here in Normalcy, not all things are as they seem. Beneath that thin veil of normalness lies an ugly truth: debt, money mismanagement, family squabbling, bitterness and all types of unhealthy financial behavior. Normalcy is an ugly land filled with plastic cards and plastic people.
If you’re not convinced that Normalcy is that bad of a place, then let’s introduce you to some of its residents:
To say the Scatterbrains are free spirits is putting it mildly. Unfortunately, a nerd can’t be found within the confines of this home, meaning their bank account resembles Grand Central Station at 5 p.m.—people come in and people go out, but no one ever stays. They make plenty of money to live well, but they spend it all as fast as it takes to swipe a card. They’ve got a closet full of stuff that was “cool” two years ago, and the closest thing the Scatterbrains have to a savings account is the $5.67 you’ll find under their couch cushions.
The Financial Fakers
They’ve got it all, or so it seems. The Beamer in the driveway (leased), the two-story house with the picket fence (on the verge of foreclosure), the country club membership (two payments behind), and their kids go to private schools (thanks to Headmaster Visa). What you don’t see is they are just one broken transmission or medical emergency away from hitting total rock bottom. You know them as the Joneses, and you’ve been trying to keep up with them for a long time. But they can’t keep up with all the payments on their extravagant lifestyle—so, before long, they’ll be trying to keep up with you.
The One Thingers
Every town has a family of “one thingers.” Usually, their “one thing” is sitting out in the driveway. This family spends a crazy percentage of their income on one thing. They may live in a dilapidated tin shack, but that doesn’t stop them from driving a 2008 blinged-up Mercedes. Some One Thingers also have an unhealthy obsession with hobbies—buying beanie babies, watching movies, collecting antique civil war figurines. If you need $100, don’t call them. But if you need a six-inch tall version of Robert E. Lee, they’ve got you covered.
The Sacred Cow Worshippers
Nevermind that rates on CDs are only slightly better than a piggy bank. Nevermind that the single stock the family has always invested in hasn’t made a penny in the last 20 years. Grandpa did it that way, so that means the Sacred Cow Worshippers have to do it that way, too. Instead of thinking for themselves, they bow to the principle of “well, that’s just the way we do things around here”—what we call a “sacred cow.” Unless someone in this family wakes up and smells some common sense, they’ll still be doing things this way for the next two decades.
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Check out Part 2 of The Land Of Normalcy characters.