Honie Briggs


My husband and I are currently in a provisional empty nester status. Meaning our son occasionally stops by for provisions. When we are lucky, he shares things he is learning in college and keeps us up-to-date on all things cool. (or is that sick?) He recently informed me that I still have some lessons to learn. Despite my insistence that he has taught me everything I need to know, he assures me he hasn’t. I’m not worried. There comes a time in everyone’s life called the age of acceptance, when you realize that there is truly nothing new under the sun. That time for me is now. What’s hot & what’s not holds no interest for me. I’m not upset by this development, but thinking been there done that to myself all of the time is kind of sad. Do people even use that expression anymore or is it so 3 million seconds ago?

Today’s snake oil and pet rocks are marketed using tweets and clicks. (How could that be bad? It sounds so cute.) Alas I am not a good prospect for those strategies. Nope, I recognize those repackaged left overs disguised as the next big thing. Even the choose this – not that strategies are getting repurposed. Isn’t there anything left in the arsenal of buzz words to make me take leave of my senses and jump on the bandwagon? I mean really, when the pink, plastic crap hawkers get called on the carpet, what’s left?

So who is the target demographic for today’s must haves? It seems to be anyone who has the purchasing power of a twenty-first century nomad. You know the ones who constantly need to make sure their credit score doesn’t go bad. I am sure there are those who need to be certain last weekend’s rave didn’t put them in jeopardy of obtaining a decent lease rate on a sexy new Kia. (I am glad I don’t have that stress.)

Disposable housing seems to be where it’s at right now. Strategic defaults have compounded the problems of an already crippled housing market. A sad testament to this fact is the glut of bank owned property all across the country because people simply decide to walk away from it. Lenders have entire departments that do nothing but manage the thousands of properties either in or headed for foreclosure. Some people want to spend time pointing fingers for the mortgage mess. No doubt, there is plenty of blame to go around, but wasting time saying who did what to who will not correct the problem. Severe abuses by borrowers, real estate agents, appraisers, mortgage brokers and lenders, investment bankers and yes, even government officials created our current crisis. It will take more time than any administration will have to correct the problems caused by extreme greed and apathy. (Mostly greed.)

I was talking with some friends the other night at dinner and was surprised to hear one of them say that the dream of homeownership no longer tops the list of life’s great accomplishments. Sure the 30 under 30 movers and shakers may have a lofts and country estates to reno/demo, but they just hire that out to the locals. No trips to big box retailers for them. The improvement depots have noticed this and are now focused on capturing the purchase data of every house flipper out there. The commercial with the exploded house is cool, in a handyman Matrix sort of way, but not enough for me to go onto their website to create a catalog of my purchases for them. That R &D strategy is of course in response to the downturn in the number of suburbanites with granite countertop & travertine foyer fantasies.

Personal responsibility may no longer be required for engaging in commerce, but there are homeowners out there who still make their mortgage payment on time every month. (They did have to stop trying to one-up everyone on the cul-de-sac to be able to do it though.) These people don’t want a free ride; they get a sense of pride from meeting their obligations. I wonder how long that will be enough.

Telling people to check their credit score will no more prompt responsible spending than wearing a blood pressure cuff will prevent a heart attack. There will be those who purchase their power long after we have forgotten all about the pet rock. Don’t be afraid to laugh about it. Sometimes that’s all we can do.

Here’s a shout out to the ladies at North Texas Neuroscience Center, where I had an MRI this morning. (Is it cool to give a shout out if you’re not a rapper?)

Happy Friday!


Cheri Lucas Rowlands

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