The Way We Live Now: Looking at the big picture. It lifts our battered spirits to think not just of our own poor circumstances, but of the bigger losses suffered by Jay-Z, and other rich folks. It's economics, or something.

Don't just think of yourself as some poor loser; think of yourself as some poor loser who has been victimized by economic forces beyond your control, like the CEO "Fat Cat hypothesis." Whatever happened, it was probably the fault of some "fat cats," right?

Economists agree with you.

Although that's not saying much. They're just the type of people with "advanced degrees" who are now salivating over their temporary census jobs, which pay better than whatever it is you do with an "advanced degree," besides sell it for crack. And then smoke that crack, and then decide that it's a good time to build a bunch of houses in Vegas, to sell. Theoretically.

The pattern that emerges for all the world to see is that "theory" only gets us one place, a little hotel we call The Poor House. On the other hand, being relentlessly focused on pulling oneself up from the bootstraps gets us...also The Poor House. Just ask Jay-Z, who is practically one of the poors now.

In summary, don't think about the big picture; don't hustle hard, in the real world; and whatever you do, don't go to Vegas. It's already a parched, deserted dust bowl out there. The rest of the country has another three or four years before we get there.

[Pic via]