C: Hey, Hyppo. What’s with that “$1″ text floating about your head?
H: That? Pay it no mind. That’s just my retirement number.
C: Retirement number?
H: Yeah. It’s like a goal. It represents the amount of money I’ll need to comfortably maintain the lifestyle I want after I retire.
C: And it’s only one dollar?
H: Think that’s too high? I’m trying to keep it real. I’ve got 12 cents in my pocket. Only 88 more cents to go!
C: Good god, man! What’s your plan? You gotta have a plan!
H: It’ll involve a lot of recycling and reuse. And curbs. And a shopping cart. I have my dreams.
What are you working for? Sustenance or subsistence? The next weekend? A paycheck on Friday? Enough money to get your wife and/or husband that fancy dress in the store window? Just trying to hold on to the end of the current shift? Or do you have bigger fish to fry?
I have two pensions. I worked at a company 16 years. I started at the bottom and worked my way up. The first 11 years as an employee and then five years as a member of management. That’s 11 years in a union and five years as a company man.
There was a grand tradition at the company. The owner was a legacy and the company grew as it was passed down from generation to generation. Finally it was owned by the Old Man. He liked to pork his secretary. So he married her and then died. It was a bit of a promotion for her. She become the owner of the company. She retired and passed it down to her adopted son who was a bit off kilter and not quite right in the head.
He was also, for a time, on the Forbes 400 list of richest Americans.
Soon after he sold out to the foreign investors. The end of the company’s legacy and tradition. I’m sure the Old Man’s father would be so proud.
Meanwhile the company was subjected to remarkable shrinkage. And that guy on the Forbes list? He croaked while driving his $2 million car.
In another part of the galaxy, a guru was wondering about his financial future. He had no savings and social security was under siege from all sides. What if, he thought, both of those aren’t there when I need them? The legendary promise of a three-legged stool seemed more like a pogo stick. Then he remembered. His pensions!
He called his union. Yep, the pension was good. They’d send him a statement and even had his current address. Nice.
He tried to call his former company. Oops. Problem. He couldn’t find any place to call. Finally he located a phone number on the internet but it turned out to be some poor sap’s personal cell phone. It must suck to have that phone number. So far he’s been unable to find any trace of his company pension.
For those keeping score:
The guru rested easy. All was right with the world. He had half a pogo stick and some stranger out in the world was most likely enjoying his swimming pool.