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Stats & Data

March 13, 2009


(from my blog at whatgives.gainesville.com)

I’ve got a theory about bankers.

A theory and a deep-seeded desire to break their bonds. (I’m not really sure what that means, but it sounds menacing.)

Jay Leno said something recently that got me to thinking: “Remember when bankers were the conservative ones?”

Maybe bankers were never quite like they were portrayed in those old black-and-white movies: Glasses perched on the end of their collective noses, checking their pocket watches like ... well clockwork, generally unhappy in a pre-Prozac way.

But they sure as heck weren’t like this.

Vegas high-rollers, they’ve been. “Come on, Daddy needs a new pair of shoes made of diamonds!”

Back in the day, I doubt any children were saying, “Forget being a baseball player. I want the big bucks and the excitement. I want to be a banker.”

So what happened?

My theory: Somewhere along the line bankers forgot an adage that dates all the way back to Huey Lewis and the News: “It’s hip to be square.” (What exactly was the News by the way? Extra, extra read all about it: We sing cheesy, bore-a-hole-into-your-brain songs?)

See, square pegs don’t treat the economy like a baby does a diaper.

I don’t know why bankers decided they wanted to be cool.

Perhaps they watched the Oliver Stone flick “Wall Street” one too many times and thought of it more as a road map than a cautionary tale.

Maybe it suddenly became like a scene from “Sparticus.”

“I’m Gordon Gecko.”

“I’m Gordon Gecko.”

“I’m Gordon Gecko.”

We all would have been much better off if they’d just bought a tub of lard and slicked their hair back with a pitchfork so they LOOKED like Gordon Gecko. But no dice. They wanted to BE Gordon Gecko.

And Gecko, well, has a lot of stuff. Lives life on the edge. Ladies man, too.

Hmmm ... maybe that’s it.

Is it possible these bankers were trying to make up for not getting the girl in high school?

Is that why they decided to play fast and loose with the loans and the accounting?

Are we paying now because the head cheerleader laughed and ran away back then?


Nothing like a little rejection to drive these guys to overcompensate by spending like they’re starring in their own Bravo reality show. “Real Jerks of Corporate America” anyone?

“You didn’t want me when I had acne and weighed 90 pounds? Well, how do you like these gold-encrusted apples?”

I don’t suppose these bankers are going to end up behind bars for their irresponsible behavior.

But can we at least force them to listen to Huey Lewis and the News?