JUST PLAIN TALK: Why we can’t have nice things

Buz Livingston

Hayes Carll’s new record doesn’t have a weak track on it and it’s an ideal Christmas present for the audiophiles in your life. The first song, co-written with The Brothers Osborne, “Nice Things,” is clever and biting. On it, God comes down to Georgia, in contrast to Charlie Daniels, to fish instead of fiddling. But the best-laid plans often go awry, and we end up without nice things.

For example, a few months ago, it looked like we may be turning the often-discussed corner on coronavirus. Unemployment rates in the United States and worldwide dropped like a rock during 2021 while stock markets hit record highs. Average wages also soared to a record peak in October. Then, however, a new variant, Omicron, started circling the globe. Coupled with low vaccination rates, global stock markets reacted negatively.

Thanksgiving 2021 for us was special; our whole family came, unlike last year. It was a nice thing. Next month, I’m looking forward to a memorable birthday trip with my wife. It’s a good one that doesn’t end in zero. Hopefully, it will be safe to travel. In New York City, proof of vaccination is required, so that’s no problem. This week we’re in Houston, and as good fortune would have it, James McMurtry has a gig at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church’s Coffeehouse. I like nice things, and if McMurtry wants me to mask up, so be it.

I liken vaccines to seatbelts. For example, a seatbelt won’t always save your life; in a horrific wreck, it won’t matter. Occasionally being thrown from the vehicle saves your life but frequently results in death or dismemberment. When seatbelts were standard equipment, people were hesitant to wear them. Who else can remember? Now, everyone buckles up, and, guess what, it’s a mandate.

When I totaled Mr. Joe Dollar’s Dodge truck, I didn’t have a seatbelt on and walked away with nary a scratch. Some people have mild side-effects from coronavirus like me and Big Joe’s truck; I was extraordinarily lucky, and they are, too.

Suppose you want a strong economy, a growing 401k, and the ability to travel and go to restaurants, then we must focus on controlling coronavirus. It’s not a hoax; 800,000 Americans have died. Omicron is not a sly plan by the Democrats to monkey with the 2022 mid-terms either. The Fox News clowns that parrot that hokum are all vaccinated. Everyone on Fox News is vaccinated. Heck, I bet Tucker’s been boosted. Every governor in America has been vaccinated, too.

Get vaccinated and wear a mask if a business establishment asks you to wear one. It’s for the people who work there. It’s a corollary of the Golden Rule; do unto others as you would have them unto you.

Like everyone I like nice things, and sometimes they require sacrifices, but they are often worth it.

Buz Livingston

You can’t always get what you want, but Buz Livingston, CFP, can help you figure out what you need. For specific advice, visit livingstonfinancial.net or drop by 2050 West County Highway 30A, M1 Suite 230.