The things You Can’t depend On:
Good as gold
I’ve been watching gold . . . for the last 30 years—longer than that. My first awareness of gold was in a silversmithing class I took in college. Students could by precious metals. Gold was thirty two bucks an ounce. I was working with silver which sold for much less than that, four dollars an once, or less. I wanted some gold, just to have it, but the cost seemed too extravagant. I graduated and never thought about gold for a long time.
When I was in my late 40’s I had a decent job working as a contract electrical designer (Contract means no benefits, no health care, no sick days. A soon as the job is finished one is out the door—but the pay is very good. It’s a little like prostitution.) I decided I should have a pound of gold as a back up, my own golden parachute—one I could hold in my hand, just in case.
I bought my first ounce, a South African Krugerand, for six hundred dollars—mid seventies I think, and continued buying one or two coins a year. But no more Krugerands. They were politically incorrect. I felt guilty about it and now my coins were Mapleleafs, Canadian. The price kept going up. I paid over eight hundred each for the next coins, more than that a year or so later. I got up to eight ounces in 2008 and found suddenly found myself out of work—now in my middle fifties. I was unemployed for three years, worked a few backbreaking temp jobs, to keep from going nuts. Six bucks an hour they paid. The coins got cashed in, one by one. The price was dropping. I got 350 bucks for the last one.
* * *
But I never gave up. I started again in 2006, with the same goal. I had a straight job by this time. A high school teacher with a retirement and health plan, but still wanting that pound of metal. I started slowly buying coins again, at almost the same price as before, around $600. And the price went up again as I bought one or two a year. As a years passed the price went nuts. I bought the last coin for $1,800, then I retired and moved to Sweden where I watched the gold price drop like a dead monkey. Seems like it got down to around $900. But I’ve still got ‘em this time. Eight of them, eight ounces. Never made it to the pound, but now the price is going up—and down, but mostly up. $1,250 today I think. It’s been a fun thing to watch. Security is an illusion.
I think about people like myself, and people far less fortunate than myself. People just trying to get along, who keep losing in some mysterious way. Trying to save a little something. The banks used to pay interest for holding our money. Now they charge us to keep it. When I was teaching we were giving to opportunity to switch our retirement money into a stock market plan. I didn’t go for it, but some of my best friends did, and lost more than half of what they had accrued in decades of hard work. These are people who played a straight game—worked twenty years or more. Good, honest lives, and then the hammer fell. These are some of the people who are very pissed. Angry enough to play the wild card, and without a hell of a lot to lose. These are not all the ignorant crazy people we see so much of on TV. I doubt it does much good to paint them as such. It’s sure as hell not going to make them see our point of view.
So what have they given us? A sideways look at the man: Trump has put on a hell of a show. He had to. Who would have paid attention to him if he’d played it straight? In learned debates with Hillary, the immaculate insider? She who knows the ropes—a politician all her life. She lived in the Whitehouse. He got attention by acting nuts, and maybe he is. We will see. It will be interesting to watch this guy. He isn’t stupid by a long shot, and he’s tough, he loves a fight. Let’s put him in the ring, see what he does before going though a lot of ‘pay back’, marches, lawsuits, and demeanings. Let’s get on with it. See what the politically incorrect bastard does. I think the mask is coming off. Let’s see what we’ve got.
We’re going to see the other side of his face.