August 04, 2010

Full Circle

There's a scene early on in the movie "Aliens", where Ripley, rescued after floating around in space for 57 years, sits in her company's boardroom being debriefed by her superiors.  One of her managers, obviously pissed off, asks her why she decided to blow up an "M Class Star Freighter' worth 456 kazillion in adjusted dollars.

That word "adjusted" stayed with me.  I wondered if he meant what the craft was worth at that time vs. what it was built for, taking in inflation, depreciation and what-not, or what it would have cost to build it at the time he was speaking.  That's me ... taking in an action/horror movie and pondering the specifics of economics.

Anyway, I was goofing around the internets the other night and came across this nifty little calculator, provided free of charge by the U.S. Government.  Good for hours of fun.  Go ahead ... try it.  I'll wait.

(Hmmm, hmmm, hmmm, goes to bathroom, makes a sandwich, trims nose hair ....)

Okay, I'm back.  Wasn't that fun?  It was for me too. Plugging in the cost of a loaf of bread today versus the year I was born.  The cost of a Hustler magazine today as opposed to when I was a horny kid.  And so on.

But like most things, I tend to ruin a good time.  Tired of comparing prices of bread and porn, I turned to the darker side.  I compared my salary today against my salary the first year in my new job after I left college.

And although I've often laughed about the paltry sum I made when I first left school, to my horror, I discovered that in adjusted dollars ... I made more then than I make today.

Fucking economy.

But I had my career of 30 years.  And in the last 10 since the first one went bust, I've had a knack of picking companies that appealed to me, but couldn't stay in business for more than a few years at a time.  Jan and I decided a long time back that we'd stay in this area and focus on her career as an educator, as well as keep a stable environment for our son to finish high school and go on to college.

It sounds noble, but maybe we were just too comfortable and too scared to venture on and try something new.  It really doesn't matter now, because in two more years Jan will retire from education and we'll both start drawing our pensions.  Being us, we'll probably still work here and there at this and that.  We'll travel and perhaps even move to someplace we've only thought about in passing.

It is kind of odd that I made more then than I do now, right on the tipping point of retirement.  But I guess it's just an example of how unsure things are and how things change.  Ultimately, you adjust.  And I guess some people are better at it than others.

And even though I'm really never satisfied with things they way they are, I'm pretty happy with them.  And as for the money.  Well ...

I think Powerball is up to 20 million tonight.

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