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DAN'S PAPERS, August 27, 2010 Page 61

Twentysomething…By David Lion Rattiner Phone Calls I’m on to it. This is going to be the greatest novel in the history of mankind, I’m going to be, without a doubt, the greatest writer in the world. In my spare time, I do writing projects. It’s sort of a curse. I can’t help myself. My Dad can’t help himself either. It’s who we are. I know so many people that are like this it is crazy. When it comes to painting or writing, for some reason, in our minds, we are onto the greatest piece of work ever created. I’m onto it, I’ve finally got the stock market figured out. This stock is going to the moon! In my spare time, I like to trade stocks online with money that I’ve saved for two reasons. It makes me feel bold and smart, and it makes me think I have a chance at becoming a multimillionaire. I know many people who do this, and we can’t help ourselves. We search miles of data online in “secret” places that are really public, and make bets on stocks. When they go up, as far as I’m concerned, I am the smartest person in the world, when they go down, it’s not my fault, it’s the market’s fault. Eventually, they’ll go back up. Right? Right? I think all of us have these little side dreams, but I’m always curious as to what the guy who has millions upon millions of dollars dreams about. Because in general, that is the reason why I like to dream, in hopes of making millions. But if I already had millions, would I sit there and be really happy and satisfied? I couldn’t tell you, I’m not a millionaire. But I can tell you that once I accomplish something I don’t revel in accomplishing it, I tend to dream about the next thing that I want to do. I like people who are really in the present, as most of my thoughts are spent on thinking about how the future is going to play out which results in a fair amount of wasted time. I got to thinking about this after reading an article in The New York Times headlined, “What’s Wrong With Twentysomethings?” It made me think about this column, so I read it, and the crux of it was that twentysomethings were refusing to grow up and get jobs and get married and have kids. What bothered me about the article is that it didn’t address the reasons why, it just said that it was a fact. Well let me shed some light on it for you. It has to do with the disappearance of the middle class in America. A twentysomething lawyer, doctor, scientist, professional, etc., today, compared to a twentysomething lawyer of a generation ago, cannot buy a decent house in a decent neighborhood on his own without a tremendous amount of risk involved. Thirty years ago, he could, pretty easily. In fact if he really stretched it, he could buy two houses. Today he can’t do that. He can afford to rent a pretty nice apartment, or may inherit a house, but buying one is out of the question for most without a significant amount of help. So where are the wife and kid supposed to go? In the apartment? Come on. In effect, those who have kids are viewed as if they are irresponsible in some way, even when they have careers, by a lot of social pressures. So they wait. That’s the whole thing.

That’s the big difference. Middle class didn’t mean you were rich, like it does today. Middle class used to mean middle class. You worked hard and were able to afford a house and fill it up with kids. It was encouraged, not discouraged, because there was room in the house. To say that twentysomethings don’t work hard is crazy. I know a lot of lawyers and accountants in their late 20s living in the city, working into the wee hours, and they are all nervous about how they are going to pay for a home and a family. Back when their parents were buying houses, the cost was about onefifth of the price. Meanwhile, all across America, we have

tons of empty houses for sale and no families living in them. Immigrants are still having families like Americans used to because where they come from, home ownership is extremely easy to accomplish and they assume it’s just as easy and normal here. The result of this is fewer American children and more immigrant children in America, and more young Americans waiting until it makes sense to get the American dream that, in hindsight, was almost comically shoved down their parents’ throats on a silver platter. When they were our age instead of working late into the night, they were ingesting as much LSD as they could get their hands on.


Dan's Papers Aug. 27, 2010  

Dan's Papers, the 51-year-old bible of the Hamptons, is owned by Manhattan Media, a multi-media publishing company based in New York City,...