We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Friday, October 28. 2011
We've seen the complainers for weeks now. They infest selected streets in the US and other major countries around the world. I use the word infest because they are parasites. They add nothing, offer no solutions, and continue to claim they represent 99% of society when, in fact, more than 60% oppose them or are at least ambivalent. They do not "speak" for those they claim to represent, they are a drain on society and public spending, and are frauds.
Rants against OWS are tiring. If I'm going to provide a negative story, I also like to provide a positive. The OWS movement is fraudulent because it focuses on negative things while claiming to be a force for good. Negatives produce strong knee-jerk reactions, which the OWS hopes to provoke. Humans prefer positive stories and these stories have better long term benefits. I have two stories which differentiate most people from the OWS movement, and I know there are many others.
What makes these stories different? The manner in which the people involved sought to get something they wanted. By pursuing a path related to values they considered better than cash, they wound up getting more. Perhaps not as much as the market may have paid them, but more than enough to make it worthwhile.
In our society, if doing something does not provide monetary value, it is either considered 'worthless', or it is put on a pedestal as having 'greater value than money could provide'. If I dig a hole and walk away leaving it empty, it was an inefficient and worthless act. I received no value for it, so why would I do it? I probably wouldn't. Now let's say I've had a bad day at work, and I see my neighbor has tools laid out to build a patio. I walk over, dig out the area to prepare the patio, burn off my frustrations, and still don't get paid. I had selfish reasons for putting in the effort. The work helped me feel better. It does help my neighbor and could be described as altruistic, but I was looking out for myself. I might benefit in other ways, due to my selfish act. He may invite me over for drinks one day, or lend me a hand when I need it.
In baseball, the stories I mentioned were positioned as selfless acts, but in fact were not. Yet both yielded surprising results.
The first occurred in July, when Derek Jeter got his 3,000th hit. A home run. One lucky fan, Christian Lopez, nabbed it and there's no question this ball was a lottery ticket. $250,000 at a minimum. So what does he do? He trades it for signed shirts, signed balls, and a chance to meet Derek Jeter and the Yankees. To Lopez, this is worth more than the money he could have received. The Yankees also gave him a few seats worth about $50,000 (not season tickets, but box seats that have a value of over $10,000 apiece).
Just last night, the St. Louis Cardinals faced elimination twice, in the ninth and tenth innings. One strike away from defeat and the loss of a world title, both times. Never before had a team gotten down to one strike and won a game to avoid elimination in the World Series. Yet win the game they did, on an eleventh inning walk-off home run. Historic. The fan who got the ball, Dave Huyette, chose to trade the ball for boatloads of money, right? No. Recognizing his lottery ticket, Huyette trades the ball for a signed bat, signed ball, and the chance to meet his favorite team. More than money.
Now, Lopez eventually received a terrific payday. After the IRS threatened to tax him on the value of the gifts he received (valued at $70,000), Miller High Life and Modell's Sports stepped up to pay those bills and also offered to pay his student loans. Great gesture, great PR for the companies (so much for greedy, uncaring corporations). Huyette may also get his payday, too. We'll see.
In both cases, these two guys did something we won't see from the OWS movement. Both fans were focused on deriving a positive outcome. They recognized money may be important. They also recognized they could get something worth more than money. As it happens, one did (and the other possibly could) wind up getting a relatively good payoff. But that is tangential to what their very selfish goal was. Just because they didn't walk in demanding a check doesn't mean they were altruistic. To the contrary, they wanted something. You don't have to demand a check to be selfish. They were looking for a win/win outcome.
The OWS movement claims altruism, the wish to help many people in a selfless manner. But they are demanding a blank check at the expense of others they deem unworthy of money they believe is 'society's'. They are hardly selfless and their behavior is remarkably selfish. If either one of the two baseball fans had walked in demanding a blank check, they'd have been called crass, greedy, and manipulative. But because they didn't, they are coming out ahead. Everybody in their situation wins, those with the lottery ticket baseballs, the teams, the players, the Hall of Fame (where each of these balls may wind up), and fans of the game.
I'm not saying we all have to be this way. I wouldn't have held it against either baseball fan if they wanted a check. But both were very shrewd in their way. They knew what was right for them. They also knew if they did what was right for them, they'd get what they wanted and possibly more. In the end, selfish behavior proved to be beneficial by focusing on things which were meaningful to everyone involved.
In Sales, we are taught to leave something for person on the other side of the table. In poker, the winner takes all. In life, you utilize the same bargaining and bluffing skills, but you make sure the other side can at least live with what you propose. The economy is not poker, it's not winner take all as the OWS believes. It's a game where the pie grows, rather than a game where it is only divided.
Our economy will improve if we seek win/win outcomes based on goals promoting the individual's rights, and focus on our individual needs as opposed to goods and services we wish we had as a society. In either case, the financial wherewithal, costs, and viability must be considered as primary.
If you have other stories similar to those I mentioned here, however remotely, they are worth sharing.
Tracked: Oct 29, 09:48
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That sad thing in that story is that the IRS went after Lopez for having been given "gifts". Since when does giving gifts count as income for the recipient - it's an even swap. He gave the ball away and the Yankees gave him something in return. And why would the IRS be stupid enough to risk the horrible press surrounding such a demand?
I agree, but it is assumed he 'made a profit'. He had a 'windfall'.
I think it was ridiculous for the IRS to go after him, but it worked out, in a relatively good way.
What I like about these stories is they show how 'selfless' behavior is really just a perspective, rather than a truth. I frankly don't believe 'selfless' behavior exists. We all do things because we get something out of it, even if it's a feeling of karmic goodwill.
Well, I would argue that selfless behavior actually exists - the soldier who runs into a field of fire to chuck a grenade at a pillbox or recover a wounded comrade or support a beleaguered fire team - that's pretty selfless. The Firefighters who ran up the stairs of the WTC were pretty selfless. It does exist.
Kind of baseball related - when I was eleven, my Aunt Barbara dated Tony Kubek during the 1957 Braves/Yankees World Series. She invited me (a big baseball fan and player) over my Grandparents house to meet him. I bought a official MLB baseball from the hardware store on the way to get an autograph - the SOB refused to sign it - something about being on his own time and whatever - I was, as you might imagine, hugely disappointed. (Strangely, it wasn't a week after the Series was over that she joined the Franciscan Convent - wonder why?)
Anyway, my Mom told my Dad who told the Braves beat writer (Milwaukee Sentinel) about it and the very next day, I got to meet Lew Burdette and Hank Aaron AT THE BALL PARK and had front row seats for the rest of the series in Milwaukee. And a Lew Burdette autographed baseball and a Hank Aaron autographed bat. HA!!
I've hated the Yankees every since. :>)
I agree, and should've made clarifications about selflessness. Extreme situations do exist, and I'd have to say those represent exceptions to the rule. In general, in everyday life, I don't believe it exists.
Of course, I used those same points once and a friend of mine made a harsh comment about "adrenaline junkies". His seems an extreme response to me, I think those people are trained to do what they do and put their own safety to the side in order to complete their goal. That is, they set aside their ego and the opportunity to benefit in order to assist others.
Always happy to hear about more exceptions, though.
The Kubek story sounds about right. I've heard (old media stories, he used to be an announcer) that he has a kind of dickish reputation.
"He also worked local telecasts for the Toronto Blue Jays on The Sports Network and CTV from 1977 to 1989. The Toronto Star said that Kubek "educated a whole generation of Canadian baseball fans without being condescending or simplistic."
I remember him well and he was a good educator, with respect to baseball. I learned a lot and still follow baseball with a passion (especially after our Jays won back-to-back in '92 & '93). But he was being paid for it. To refuse an autograph, for a young man in a personal social setting is uncalled for. I give him an F-.
I'm with you.
I used to watch him on TV as a kid. He was a great announcer.
I've just heard "stories". Plenty of personalities have their issues.
If he was looking to win the lady's favor, insulting and disappointing her nephew was a strange way to go about it.
Great story! Warmed me "cockles" it did. I don't like the NY Yankees either. Maybe arrogance must be part of a personality they look for or, if it's not there, is soon inbred. It is one of the toughest markets to play in, though.
BTW, has anyone recently heard a Democrat politician use the words "we Americans"?
I can recall none.
I am starting to get that itchy feeling when I hear the word greedy used by the left. How does one prove or better yet acquit oneself of the charge? The left uses labels like a cudgel. Homophobic, racist, hypocrit come to mind as their favorite assaults on the character's of those whom they disagree with.
Greed is a tricky word, isn't it? If it's greed to want to keep what you have, what is it to want to take what others want to keep? We used to call it avarice, but that's a sin that's out of fashion.
For me it boils down to leaving the choice with the person. He may be better off giving me something that he could have kept, but that's up to him. It's not for me to grab it. Most of the time it works best if we reach a mutually acceptable trade.
Excellent points!! Am going to pass this along. Before I do, here's a story from the 2006 World Series game (Cardinals won then too! )
My sister, our brother-in-law, and his son were at the game. Had seats right in front along 1st base line. Batting practice was taking place. One fan a few seats down was given a ball from one of the Cardinals players after it bounced off the wall. Few minutes later another ball came to a rest right in front of my sister.
She hopped over the wall!!! retrieved the ball and got back into her seat. Dont ask me how - but she was able to talk herself out of being arrested. Much to the relief of our brother-in-law who was wondering how he'd get bail money . . .
But the rest of the story is even better. A baseball from the World Series, for my nephew. Very cool hmmm?? Even got an autograph (I forget whose)!!. Considering the Cardinals won that game and went on to win the Series . . . yep. Valuable for sure!
HOWEVER, my nephew had struck up a conversation with a little boy right next to him. And, during the 8th inning he gave the ball to his new little friend.
All the adults around those two boys totally recognized A. the value of that baseball, B. the coolness of keeping a World Series baseball, C. the value with the autograph on it . . .
That being said - my nephew's gesture was the coolest most priceless thing of the night for all of them. We all will never forget that story, and my nephew taught us all something very important that night. ;-)