1) He’s a “minority” of some kind, most likely Black. Evidenced by the outrageously enormous painting of some Nubian queen hanging over the headboard. Plus the fact that the apartment is in Jamaica, a neighborhood consisting of a 25% Black, a 28% Hispanic and a 16% “other” population.
2) There is more than one adult person living in this apartment. Evidenced by the two toothbrushes and two robes hanging in the bathroom. To be fair, one of the toothbrushes looks a little smaller than the other, so it could just be one guy and one kid. But not likely.
3) These people have a child. Evidenced by the pictures, the teddy bear and the Hello Kitty cushion on the stool in the bedroom.
4) Despite having a child, the owner smokes dope. Evidenced by the water pipe on the TV in the living room. Don’t bother asking me how I know what this is.
5) This man has made some really stupid choices throughout his life. How do I know this last piece of information? Take a look at this picture here:
Notice what is stacked up against the north wall? Sneaker boxes. 68 sneaker boxes. I counted. Plus, there are three pairs of sneakers sans boxes perched on top. That means that this man, despite currently living in a 562 square foot studio apartment with a child owns at least 71 pairs of sneakers. And that’s how I know the owner is male, by the way.
Let’s see if I can break this down into financial terms:
Average price of a pair of hip, happening sneakers like Air Jordans: $130 + 8.25% Sales Tax = $140.72
Total sneaker expenditure, (not including the pair currently being worn or any not lucky enough to get into the picture): $9991.47 give or take.
$10,000. This man has spent $10,000 on sneakers (made in a sweatshop that pays its employees about $130 a month). For sake of argument, that comes out to $833 a month spent on sneakers.
The maintenance on this Co-op is $330 a month, and assuming a 30-year fixed mortgage at 6.625%, the monthly mortgage payments are $415. Every four weeks, in order to put a roof over his and his child’s head, this man must lay out $745 dollars, not including gas and electric which average about $60 a month in a space that size.
So, not even taking into account credit card, car, or insurance payments (something tells me that this guy isn’t burdened with having to pay back Sallie Mae), he has to spend approximately $800 a month just to live. His sneaker outlay on the other hand is $833.
Now, most likely he didn’t buy those sneakers all in one year; it’s not practical, or even economically viable. Even if he collected them over a period of say, 6 years, by setting aside a portion of his paycheck and purchasing one pair of sneakers a month. This makes sense: placing $35.18 in a piggy bank, or under the mattress, or inside an empty mayonnaise container in the fridge and saving up little by little until he could run out to footlocker and buy these these objets d’art.
Now, let’s instead hypothesize that instead of buying 71+ pairs of sneakers, our friend decided instead to open a Citibank e-Savings account with an APY of 5%. He then, hypothetically, places the same $35.18 per week into that account instead of buying yet another pair of shoes. After the same 6 years, instead of having a collection of hideously ugly footwear, he would have accumulated $13,065.30.
And that my friends, is what separates the rich from the poor. Not entitlement, not corporate thievery, not capitalist greed. Wealth is accumulated through simply studying the fundamentals of economics and using common sense to make them work for you. Chances are, this guy was never educated on the rudiments of fiduciary responsibility; no one living in a studio apartment with his child buys 71 sets of anything except maybe Spongebob videos. But he can’t be a complete and utter moron (unless that chessboard in the living room picture is merely ornamental), and think that sneakers are going to be the road to a better life for he and his progeny.
Why did I feel it necessary to mention that he’s a minority and quite possibly black? For the simple reason that minority groups (and guilty white liberals) are always going on about the “unfair distribution of wealth” in this country. You know, there’s a reason why wealthy white guys continue to stay wealthy: their forebears didn’t blow a bunch of cash on worthless consumer products. And there’s a difference between being “rich” and being “wealthy.” Wealth comes from making intelligent financial decisions over an extended period of time until assets are amassed. Rich is a result of guessing six numbers in a state lottery. I think Chris Rock put it best: “Shaquille O’Neal is rich. The guy that signs Shaq's check is wealthy.”
I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met who live in rat-infested shithole apartments in Washington Heights with three roommates, but own all the latest gizmos, gadgets and electronic diversions. I have a friend that couldn’t afford a car until he was 29 years old, but manages to have an Xbox, a 60 gig iPod, and a flat screen TV. And when he finally bought his car, a $1200 beater, he spent another $1000 on a car stereo so loud that you can actually see the lyrics of his awful Reggaeton music floating in the air over his trunk. Another person I am acquainted with (notice how I danced around the word “friend”), is 33 years old, has no savings account, but spends $1500 a month in rent for a two-bedroom apartment, claiming she needs the extra space for her “studio.” I thought artists were supposed to be “starving,” not “stupid.”
“That still doesn’t explain why you had to make a big deal over this guy’s race, Valannin.” Sure it does. In the examples I have just presented, both people happen to be Hispanic. Or Latino. Or Boriqua. Or whatever the fuck they are calling themselves nowadays. The Caucasian friends that I have simply don’t do these things. Although they do watch poker on TV.
Point is, there is a disturbing trend going on, chiefly among minorities, (although white people are far from immune from my judgment), of people spending freely and above their means. As an enthusiast of both anthropology and psychology, I am significantly interested in human motivation, that is to say, the reasons why people have chosen to do what they do. Of course, I can only base my conclusions on observable data: I make inferences based on statistics that I have read and the actions of the people that I know. Not the most accurate sample, I’ll admit, but good enough to write an article and post it on a website that 11 people read.
So my question to you, loyal readers, is why? What makes people, particularly American minorities, spend thousands of dollars on periphery and playthings thereby sacrificing a secure financial future?
The reader with the most cogent argument gets a pair of these.