Posts Tagged ‘cold war’

Innovative Aggravation

1 December 2009

Dear J-

The only thing you really know about how a given mutual fund performs is its history (I suppose that if you were motivated enough, you could dig down into the actual fund portfolio and do your own research on the investments — but that’s why I give them my money:  that’s their job, and they should be doing that work) but all histories are accompanied by the disclaimer that past history is no indicator of future performance.  It’s like your grades:  if you got high marks last term, there’s a reasonable expectation to get similar marks given the same effort and time.

That, I suspect, has to do something with how people (okay, men) are prone to reading war and competition into everything we do:  my dad waged an unsustainably expensive war of computer one-upsmanship with our neighbors, I conspicuously pull out the big lens when faced with the putty-and-red-ring L-lensed Canon set at the Zoo.  Surely, I think, there’s something better out there:  we as a society are trained to be dissatisfied with the status quo, driving innovation and aggravation alike in equal measure.  I see the already-ridiculously expensive gear hanging off me on weekends and wonder what I could do with more costly stuff.

The truth is that if I had to live with only one lens, say, I could; the fact that I have a silly roadmap in my head of what would make up a complete photographic toolkit for me doesn’t mean that missing tools make me unable to work.  I have pressed Vise-Grips and pliers into service as (or even in favor of) adjustable wrenches when needed; the ridiculous idea that I need something because I don’t have it leads only to that rapidly escalating war with wages, money flowing out as quickly as it comes in.  After all, the US won the Cold War by spending the USSR into oblivion; who are we to argue with past precedent?