The best things in life are free

By Josh Albrecht

Asst. Campus Editor

It’s where the power lies. It’s about six inches, and it features dead presidents and one Benjamin Franklin.

No, it’s not the purple stuff featured in many Sunny Delight commercials, rather it is the almighty dollar, buck, green back, dinero or cash money, if you will.

And unfortunately, money rules the lives of millions of people worldwide. Year after year, people slave away their lives trying to get by. Often, people have to live pay check to pay check in an effort to make ends meet, and even more unfortunate, many are left jobless and homeless.

During the past two months, there have been rumors of a slowing economy and company after company has laid off workers galore, which could be seen as good or bad.

USA Today reported that hotel rates are going down, cars are cheaper, homes are cheaper and contractors are seeing an influx of job opportunities, but the bad part is that while things are cheaper, there are more people without jobs and those with limited incomes still can’t afford a new car.

What we have to remember is that if there is a recession or not, those of us who don’t make an above-comfortable income, won’t make an above-comfortable income either way.

Is it easier for the average person to make major purchases when the economy is booming than when it is slumping? Either way that video camera is too

expensive to buy, and I still have to buy generic macaroni and cheese.

That is why people like Frank Thomas and Sammy Sosa need to stop their whining. Now that Alex Rodriguez is set to make $21 million a year, other athletes are crying for their fair share, citing such reasons as, “It’s not about the money, it’s about respect.”

Athletes need to take a look at Mark Grace. Here is a man who took a pay cut to play the game he loves. He was disrespected by the Cubs but remains happy because he gets to play baseball.

And I am sure that the Diamondbacks will respect him when he turns out another quality year at first base.

In the Feb. 25 addition of Parade magazine, the salaries of random people from across the United States were printed side by side with a picture of each


Darra Bonner, an assistant manager, who lives in Middletown, Ohio, makes $18,200 per year.

Pictured below her is Julia Roberts, an actress, who lives in New York, N.Y., and makes $50 million per year.

Now, hypothetically speaking, both of these women work for eight hours a day, every day of the year. That would mean that their salaries would break down as follows:

Julia per day: $136,982.30.

Darra per day: $49.86.

Julia per hour: $17,123.29.

Darra per hour: $6.23.

Julia per second: $285.39.

Darra per second: $.10.

These figures are ludicrous, and while it is easy to say that this is unfair and unjust and that an actor shouldn’t or doesn’t need to make that much money, we can’t say that.

If I could make $285.39 per second, I would jump at the chance. And I would love it. That is why it is unfair for me to criticize those, like Julia Roberts, who rake in more dough in one second than I do in two weeks. After all, I want their money, and honestly, who doesn’t?

The catch, however, is that while we may often measure success in terms of money, happiness is not measured on the same scale. We can be happy making $6 an hour, and we can afford the luxuries that we seek. And there is something about hard-earned money that makes it that much sweeter.

Sure, it is not always pleasant and sometimes hard to know that others have things seemingly handed to them because they have money & things like a brand new car and caviar.

But, a used car that has 150,000 miles or more can take you to the supermarket just the same as that fresh-off-the-lot sports utility vehicle, and caviar doesn’t taste as good as a salami sandwich. Plus, it is interesting to note that Darra’s smile looks real in her picture, and Julia’s looks fake.

Thus, money isn’t as powerful as we would like to think. An economic downturn only can lead to an economic upturn, and no matter what Alan Greenspan or Frank Thomas says, I like to think that $18,200 a year is a respectable salary.

But if I made as much as Julia Roberts, I could buy Kraft macaroni and cheese instead of the generic brand.

Then again, I have grown pretty fond of the generic brand.