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Did The “Joneses” That Everyone Was Supposedly Keeping Up With Ever Exist?

Updated on June 9, 2009


This past weekend I went to get my car washed. As I sat there with the rest of the lazy asses who would rather pay someone else to do what used to be called “chores” sat there on their phones texting or talking I looked at the people and then I looked at the cars. You could almost tell exactly which car belongs to what person. There were the families and there were the mid-life crisis guys with their sports cars. And so I began to think about how we all got into the current financial situation of spending beyond our means. Of thinking we deserved a car that we couldn’t possibly afford because we were worth it even if we weren’t worth it when it came to our bank accounts. That thought took me to the “Joneses.” You know the “Joneses” that everyone has supposedly been trying to keep up with for decades? And so I wondered did the “Joneses” that everyone was supposedly keeping up with ever exist? – Don’t Get Me Started!

You know how therapists have made millions teaching women about the horrors of believing in the prince on the white steed? Maybe the Joneses are just as fictitious as the prince in those fairy tales. Maybe they were created by some smart advertising executive back in the 50’s as a way of selling the latest and supposedly greatest product. I’m a sucker for packaging as much as the next guy and maybe that’s what happened to America for all these years but as you start to realize and look around, you discover that the cliché is true, that grass may look greener next door but it’s actually crawling with weeds and bugs of all kinds.

Who were we preening for anyway? Buying things we couldn’t afford with money we didn’t have, what has it gotten us? Sure we could blame the financial system and the greedy nouveau rich at the top of corporations but shouldn’t we all take some of the blame and shouldn’t we all, for lack of a better term, wake up?

First of all, according to the census bureau, in a few years it won’t be the Joneses (the white picketed house, white family with 2.5 children) we’ll be trying to keep up with, it’s going to be the Rodriguez’ we’ll be trying to keep up with because Hispanics will outnumber the whites here in America. But hopefully the Rodriguez’ will be better role models than the Joneses have been for all these years. I mean what did the Joneses get us but in debt? And when you look at Hispanic families you usually tend to see people who put family first and hard work a close second. They’ve been treated poorly but never seemed poor in spirit. Yes, maybe the Rodriguez’ is just what America needs. Maybe it’s not going to be “there goes the neighborhood” but “wow, we finally have a neighborhood.” A sense of community we haven’t experienced in a long time in this country.

Look I’m sitting in my glass house throwing stones waiting for a window to break, I know it. I have Tom Ford sunglasses that cost more than my pocketbook would allow but by the same token I have a car that’s paid for in full. So while I may be pretty caught up in the fantasy of the Joneses I’m doing my best to try to find the balance. To try and get as much out of debt as possible but by the same token you can’t expect me to stop cold turkey. So I’m sure there will be some items entering my life that are probably above my station (as they used to say) but if you don’t dream or push yourself out of your comfort zone a little, don’t you risk becoming apathetic? I just have to hope that I can discipline myself when it has been impossible in other aspects of my life. I can’t sit down and not eat an entire sleeve of Girl Scout thin mint cookies so I gorge myself once a year and don’t bring stuff like that in my house the rest of the year. Maybe that’s what we all need to do. Maybe we just need more willpower and portion control in our lives. I’m going to at least try to make that happen and at the very least, I’m going to stop looking over my shoulder to see if I can see that new car, boat or Blu-Ray player that the supposed Joneses just bought. Because frankly, the Joneses are a bunch of saps! Did the “Joneses” that everyone was supposedly keeping up with ever exist? – Don’t Get Me Started!

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