Sunday, September 17, 2006

nny and the rich and famous

This weekend’s edition of the Wall Street Journal had a front-page article on Steven Cohen, a young, rich financier. He manages a $10 billion fund from Stamford Connecticut. (Split that up and it would we be about $100,000 for every man, woman, and child in St. Lawrence County.) The article mentions that he has a large house with basketball court, ice rink, and indoor pool.

Big deal. I have a large house – at least more than large enough for our needs. We had a basketball court but I took down the backboard when we painted the carriage house (i.e., that is what realtors call a barn). I still have the backboard and if I wanted, I could put it back up in an afternoon. For several winters, we had an ice rink in the backyard. I still have the lumber for the frame but would need to buy the plastic sheeting. It is not expensive and readily available at Triple-A-Lumber. There is enough plastic in one roll to line three rinks, one for each of three winters. As for an indoor pool, all I need to do is unplug the sump pump and all too soon, we’ll have one in our basement.

Cohen’s home also has paintings by the likes of Van Gogh and Gauguin. This smacks of a conspicuous consumption, which I find unseemly. I do not object to fine art. I appreciate fine art. In fact, I have a mouse pad with a wonderful reproduction of a picture of dogs playing cards. This is despite my computer having an optical mouse and therefore no real need for a pad. However, I feel it important to surround myself, and my family, with art – especially the masterpieces. It matters not if an original or a copy. The exposure to, and the cultured environment engendered by, displayed art is what is ultimately important.

The article went on to explain all Cohen’s troubles trying to stay on top as the “Hedge-Fund King.” While this should be a cautionary tale for those self-styled stock-pickers and market-timers out there, it won’t be. Such folks are too deceived by greed and pride to apply the lesson to themselves. However, it can also be a cause for reflection and gratitude. This guy is not really better off than I am. He doesn’t even get to live in the North Country, and I have a lot more time to enjoy the riches with which I have been blessed.

The blessing of the LORD brings wealth, and he adds no trouble to it.

~ Proverbs 10:22

1 comment:

Darlene Sinclair said...

I say, "Live it up! Live it up here in Northern NY where life is simple if you let it be!"