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Common Sense and A Car Lot Could Have Seen The Economic Crash
Candie Leigh White

In light of the recent bailout discussion of our financial giants and discussion about “who is to blame” it may be a good time for me to introduce my reasoning behind my book- The Green Pea.  I am 46 and I grew up in the heart of Silicon Valley, raised by a single mom with six kids. Mom wasn’t always single but after my father left her alone in 1967 she had to raise us six kids on a waitress salary. Talk about learning early that you can’t buy something you can’t afford.  I saw this economic demise coming when I was five...it’s true..  I was a very aware little kid.   While the world was becoming technologically savvy and society began its decent into materialistic madness mom kept us in reality check through responsible parenting. My school friends were taking skiing trips to Yosemite and their parents were buying them BMW’s just because they could, and we had to come home from school and clean the house before we could even play; you give something, you get something, no freebies here. I thought my best friend of twelve years had it all together. Her dad was a commercial artist for Atari and they had the nice home that never moved, like ours did every three months; but when we went to college together, I realized how very little she knew about life. Needless to say our lives took drastically different directions after that. I’ll spare you the details but, let’s say I like where mine is.  I watched the greed and irresponsibility of Silicon Valley, my friends and parents around me and my gut said that this was not going to make us a better nation. I was not raised with religion but mom’s instilled sense of God and spirit and The Golden Rule. My heart said, “I don’t think God cares if we have bigger homes and faster cars”.  Then, after I began selling cars in Sacramento in 1996, it became like a crystal ball, that because of technologies financial gains adults were acting more like children than anytime in history and if someone didn’t wake up, our economy was going to fall flat on its face.  And it has. I saw my coworkers who sold sub-prime loans to car buyers, race into the mortgage arena to sell sub-prime loans to home buyers.  Oh, God, it was like a B movie with an obvious bad ending..  I wondered, how, without sounding like I have the arrogant answer but just offering a by-standers view of the impending, ominous economic mess, how could I relay that message?  Like an Aesop’s fable.  So, I wrote a fictional story about, well, God.. who realizes that he needs to reconnect with people and brush up on his communication skills, so he disguises himself as an out of work CEO named Tom and goes to work at a car dealership.  My intent was to subtly, and with philosophical humor, point out this negative turn in personal responsibility by showcasing some of the obvious issues through little stories that take place while purchasing cars.  An auto dealership truly is a theatre of the best and worst of human behavior. But, supposing there is a God, and I believe there is one but let’s say other people don’t;  imagine anyone who has achieved a higher status in life- we all need to reinvent ourselves on occasion for the greater good, for our own good, to be better people.  Today’s CEO’s have made so much money they have become spoiled children and they don’t want to share, so they hide away in their money while the rest of us are left to clean up the mess.  But that doesn’t absolve us of our own responsibility.  Just because someone dangles that latest, shiny toy in front of you does not mean you have to buy it. It is common sense, isn’t it? I say that tongue in cheek because I know people who are brilliant, PhD educations that don’t get simple jokes.  So, is it that we have lost our common sense, or that the spoiled child in us that wants what it wants, does not want to accept the obvious “no” answer?