Ok, so now I have to give the shoeshine guy at the courthouse a ten spot to get my shoes shined, the price of the remaining bottles of Malaccan gin is on the rise, and it's impossible for two to get out of La Loggia at lunchtime for under 50 bucks.
I can accept all that.
But now they've gone too far -- even the price of crack is going up:
Decisions, decisions. What to do? I found this article about how to deal with economic anxiety pretty interesting. Basically, the author argues that you feel better by helping others:
A rage over a recent price hike in crack cocaine is what landed a man in jail on Tuesday night after he allegedly smashed a convenience store display in protest.
Gus Young Jr. told police he broke a Plexiglas counter partition and a DVD case at Dixon's Food Mart because the price of crack had gone up two-fold, according to a police report. He said he had $10 to spend on the drugs but was told the amount had hiked up to $20.
Of course as lawyers we have many ways to give back, and we should and must. That's one of the obligations of our profession, and it extends beyond the $350 check you cut every year. It's pro bono, it's service hours, it's giving back to those less fortunate (and we know you machers all are very fortunate, and probably could even afford the crack cocaine price hike).
For many people, however, the problem with subprime mortgages and the financial crisis won't push them into true poverty, but it will make them feel much poorer - and as a consequence, make them feel anxious and powerless.
If you're one of those people, there is a way that you can both help people living in poverty and help yourself feel happier: Give to other people.
One of the most important principles I've learned from my happiness research is that although we assume that we act because of the way we feel, often we feel because of the way we act.
Therefore, if you don't like the way you're feeling, take action in the opposite direction -- it sounds simplistic, but it's almost uncannily effective. If you're feeling poor, give something away. If you're feeling powerless, take control of something. Also, one of the quickest ways to make yourself feel better is to be GRATEFUL. It's hard to feel grateful when you're thinking about your 401K's drop in value; thinking about giving to people who are worse off will remind you of how much you have to be grateful for.
When we think of doing something to help people living in poverty, it's easy to think about donating money -- and to say, "Look, I'd like to help, but I can't afford to give right now." Or to think about donating time - and to say, "I'd love to volunteer, but I've got to focus on my job hunt."
When you tell yourself that you can't afford to give, you increase your feelings of panic and danger. If you find ways to give, you will show yourself that you have enough and more, that you can be generous, that you recognize that others have needs more pressing than your own - and that will make you feel better. This act doesn't have to be huge. I have a friend who puts all her loose change in a jar at the end of the day, and when the jar is full, she gives it to her church. It's not much money, but it's constant. She's done it for years, and by now, she's probably given away a fair bit.
Maybe you can't give money or time. But that doesn't mean you can't give.
So find that angry WPB crack user, and give him the ten spot he so desperately needs to cover that unconscionable price jump -- you'll not only make his evening (assuming he remembers any of it), but you'll feel a lot better about yourself in the process.
Or I guess you could volunteer to take a pro bono case. Either way it's the thought that counts.