Sunday, December 29, 2013

Snap! The trap just shut on haughtiness.

Wow. It's amazing. This is not deliberate but sometimes I bring out the true colours in some people.

It's over twenty years ago that I found that when I play the fool it gives most people a sense of freedom to be their true selves. Now that's fine if their true self is closely aligned to the face they show the world, but my game often brings people a cropper. It shouldn't surprise me, but it does.

The first time it really happened was when a mild mannered young teacher friend of my wife offered some blistering condescension as we were carpooling one day - about 1989. It happened very recently when a friend's wife - in an extremely stressful situation - stated "well I'd hate to live in your house".

I perhaps shouldn't have been playing the fool however my friend was in the game with me, and his wife hurt me deeply. As well as showing her true colours. Life goes on but it has reminded me - if a person behaves the fool then they may not be a fool and that people have three faces:

The face they show to the world
The face they show their closest and most trusted
The face deep inside that often they don't even know exists

And often your comments say more about you than they do about me.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Australia's demographic storm means at least I won't be unemployed

I know. It's been talked to death. But I've been waiting for 20 years for the baby boomers to retire and free up a few jobs. It was odd when a young guy called Ryan Heath squealed "Please just fuck off: it's our turn now" at baby boomers and Gen Xers.

I must say as a Gen Xer I don't feel as though it's been too easy here, and I suppose plenty of baby boomers feel the same. The period has racked up a huge debt, however. Our first Boomer PM is archetypal; he inherited zero debt and a budget surplus but his legacy is a $300 billion debt, six deficits and a mountain of unfunded legislative commitments.

But - death and taxes - age catches up with us. And while many people deferred a retirement when their funds were routed in the GFC, they can't keep working forever - bless em.

So, like Yossarian in Catch-22, I find myself chasing a retirement age that keeps going up. Fear not - I'm not chasing that hard. As with a tenured job in academia it just won't happen for me, and I've made my peace with that. But in 2023 the retirement age goes up to 67; it will go to 70 in 2035, just as I turn 67. Ha!

The superannuation salesmen were right when they said "there'll be no pension when you're ready to retire" - no shit, Sherlock. But I never have been that interested in living off the government. I wish the millions of people who plan to retire before me felt the same, but many have not been blessed as I have. I've been blessed with a stable upbringing, good education plus a life partner (and extended family) that brings out the best in me.

But the upside in the demographic storm for me - there should be some work around. God knows what. Perhaps I'll just jump tandem skydives for all those retirees spending their pensions. More likely I'll be digging ditches somewhere, or doing people's gardens. But the demographic storm will mean there will be fewer arms and legs out there to do whatever work needs to be done.

That means I can work, so I can pay tax, so the government can pay people's pensions. And they can pay me to do their gardens. Perfect symmetry.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad