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How Long Before It The Maps To The Movie Stars Homes Become Maps To The Foreclosed Homes

Updated on September 9, 2009


The world has changed since I was young. I’m soon to be forty-five and while many my age prefer to act and think that they’re twenty-two, I am not one of them. I realize that I’ve begun to look at the world through an older set of eyes that are not so much cynical as they are nostalgic for a simpler time when I was younger. I’m sure it didn’t seem like a simpler time to my parents or the adults then but boy what I would give for a Saturday night of staying up late to watch the Carol Burnett show and Saturday Night Live with the “real” cast (Gilda Radner, John Belushi, Jane Curtain, etc.). So as I was driving around the other day here in Vegas I noticed a foreclosure sign on a house that also said, “Featured on Home Closure Tours” and I began to get really sad. Sure about the people who lost their home but more about the fact that I remember going to LA every year on vacation when I was little and seeing the people on the street corners selling maps to the movie stars homes in case you wanted to drive by and see where Lucy lived. Now our street corners are filled with different people, selling themselves more than a product but how long is it before the maps to the movie stars homes become the maps to the foreclosed homes? – Don’t Get Me Started!

I never really understood the people who were hired to stand on corners to spin signs but in the age where so many were losing their jobs and the youth seem apathetic to being a part of the country other than becoming an instant hit on American Idol, I resigned myself to the fact that it gave someone a job. But recently here in Vegas the corners are less and less filled with people spinning signs and more people with pieces of cardboard from a box or something with scrawled lettering about being out of work, needing money and/or a job. I grew up in Arizona and although I don’t know that you would call it Beverly Hills it certainly wasn’t the slums. The street corners were never filled with people who camped out all day spinning signs or asking for cash, they were just the place you stopped before you crossed the street to get to the other corner and then go on your way. Now the street corner has become a much more insidious place than the corners you used to see on Barretta where the prostitutes hung out. At least that only seemed to be in one section of town and had a cute quirky character like, “Huggy Bear” maintain law and order. Now every corner of every street USA is a place many call home and ask for a handout. When did this happen? It seems as though it happened so fast. It’s not like 9/11 or the moon landing where you can remember exactly what moment on what day it happened, it progressed over time but it’s progressing at the rate of cancer that can’t be cured it seems.

I have to admit that when I’m stopped at a light and the person walks through the cars with their cardboard sign looking for cash, I do what we were taught to do in school. Don’t make eye contact or the teacher will call on you. I don’t make eye contact, I check email on my phone or act as if I’m adjusting something in my car that couldn’t possibly wait another moment and should most definitely take precedence over the person begging at my car window. How can I do that? How can I ignore another human being or their plight? I find myself truly disappointed in myself at these times. Maybe that’s why I gave the guy at the gas station twenty dollars when he told me he couldn’t get his disability from Arizona and just needed something to eat to keep his insulin in check because he suffered from Diabetes and hadn’t eaten in days. Maybe that’s why I started looking at giving to charities that feed people as opposed to take care of equal rights for gays or a holocaust museum. The others are important but how can you put the holocaust of the 1940’s over someone who lived through it who is starving right this minute? I wonder how these charities survive in this day and age. It can’t be easy to be the holocaust museum or some of the other more than worthwhile charities when people are suffering to just have food and shelter. Yet, Jerry Lewis still managed to raise his staggering amount of cash so I guess it’s not hurting every charity.

Look, I know that it’s a good thing that realtors are putting together these tours of foreclosed homes. It helps people find great deals on houses, it helps increase the property value in the neighborhood because there’s someone living next door actually caring for the house instead of letting the lawn die, losing all curb appeal. (In Arizona I read that the state is paying to spray paint lawns of foreclosed homes green so that property values won’t suffer from dried up dead lawns – not sure that’s a solution as it costs something like $600 a house and needs to be redone often but what do I know?)

As someone once said to me, I don’t have the answers, I only have the questions. But I can’t help remembering sitting in the back seat of my parents car as we drove past the street corners with the people selling maps to the movie stars homes. How glamorous I thought, to know where all of the movie stars live. I wonder how my generation’s kids will feel about what they see from the backseat of their parents’ cars as they drive and see the street corners filled with something very different than maps to the movie stars homes. How long is it before the maps to the movie stars homes become the maps to the foreclosed homes? – Don’t Get Me Started!

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