No one moves into a smaller place.
And moving into a smaller place
with less closet space –
Am I not undermining democracy,
being a detriment to capitalism?
What is this? Some kind of subliminal
recognition that I’ll never be King?
Or am I simply getting an early start
preparing for the golden years?
Then again, how do I expect the market
to recover if I’m not out shopping?
And how can I be sure my country
will remain a superpower if I’m
paying down debt and saving money?
I’m thinking now of how during
the last wave of civil rights unrest
in Alabama, thirty or so years ago
I was informed that I could be one
of four above-average students
at Wilcox County High School
who would be allowed to skip
their senior year, provided I was willing
to lifeguard at the town pool over
the summer and complete a
self-study economics workbook.
This study, to be honest,
was a fairly dry exercise,
but the workbook contained
one fascinating lesson: A country’s
fiscal well-being is eternally tethered
to an ever expanding economy.
“How,” I asked my supervisor
when I turned in my workbook,
“can growth be limitless on
a planet with finite resources?”
“Well,” he replied, with a pinched
look, having quickly flipped through
the pages of my workbook
without really looking at them
and scrawling a big red letter A
on the cover, “It’s possible, Tom,
but they can’t really get into
that in high school economics.”
And now, now I’m thinking of the
ever expanding universe,
the galaxies moving away from each other
at faster and faster speeds
into cold, infinite space,
like subdivisions disappearing
into the south Alabama countryside.