The Special Gift of Recession

You’ve heard the phrase, “nobody knows you when you’re down and out” and although the opposite is also true “nobody likes you when you’re up and rich” – this recession offers you the opportunity to collect critical date on friends, family, acquaintances and business associates. Yes, you can finally find out who your friends are.

What to do with this information? It is not to be used against them or give you an opportunity to call their bluff. It will not protect you from them, because they will find a way to hurt you anyway.

You have also heard that it is best to keep your “friends” close and your “enemies” closer. This does not mean that you lower yourself and become as manipulative as they are. These poor people need compassion and understanding. They are drowning in a toxic soup of jealousy, resentment and competitiveness. They are very unhappy and need your help. They want you to fail and go crawl under a rock. Of course you can’t do that, but you can offer them assistance in another way: Give them something that they hate you for having and do it anonymously.

If they’ve got plenty of money, ask them for a loan. If they’re broke, ask them for a favor. Make the loan amount small. Ask for a simple favor. The fakes are not concerned with the difficulty of fulfilling your request for help. Instead, they feel uncomfortably “put upon” or “taken advantage of.” This is precisely the condition that reveals their true intention, which is to keep you on their “C” list in case they need you someday.

My mother used to tell me there were two kinds of people in the world, Givers and Takers. If you are a Giver, you know how much fun it is. It’s selfish to be a Giver because you sleep better, you have less wrinkles, and you’re happy for no good reason. Other people think you’re a sucker and a fool, especially when they con you and you go along with it. They can get away with murder, get you to do all sorts of things for them and all they have to say is, “Gee, I don’t know what I would do without you.”

Takers are worldly and street-wise. They get ahead. They have more money, better quality cashmere, good tans. They can afford liposuction and silk suits. They strut around like puffed up gorillas and gorilla-ettes. When they plop down and talk, they talk about themselves. When they ask you a question about yourself they continue to talk about themselves as they relate to you. They offer you nothing with a grin, knowing that you’ll be happy with it, because, as a Giver, you are happy for no good reason. They think they’ve got you by the balls. And they do. But that’s because you’ve got two sets of balls so why not give a pair to them? They need them desperately. They collect other peoples balls like trophies. In their gold lame houses, they juggle those balls each morning before they go out and ball bust through another day.

Givers can get discouraged, especially when the Takers slap your face and kick you in the stomach. Or worse yet, smile at you with those bleached teeth and tell you half-truths meant to manipulate you into giving more of yourself, more of your real self, the self that they want to suck and suck on in order to psych themselves out so that they can become outward Givers and add their name to another charity board membership, have their picture taken at another charity fund-raiser. See the white teeth. Look into those dead eyes. Dead behind the blue sparkle. Dead behind the sunglasses worn at night.

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