The Third Shoe

Although I don’t use it exactly as it is meant to be used, I like the expression ‘…waiting for the other shoe to drop”. While it really refers to nervous anticipation, I use the saying when talking about “Eureka” moments – when an idea comes to me that changes the way I look at the world in a fundamental way.

For example, in the late eighties I took an afternoon and did some major number-crunching involving the amount of time I spent working. I was surprise to find that I was putting in between 45 and 50 hours a week at the drawing board. I hadn’t realized I was spending so much time with my free-lancing; because I was working out of my house and my family spent most of their free-time in the studio the time passed quickly and enjoyably.

The next major shoe drop was in the mid-nineties. This time I was crunching dollars and cents collected in relation to time expended on work.  This time I was not-so pleasantly surprised to find that I was losing close to 30% of my income to dishonesty – such clients re-using art that was commissioned under first-rights only contracts, clients taking an early payment-discount on a bill paid late and sometimes clients just not paying an invoice at all. Whatever the shape the greed came in it all meant that was making a third less than I by rights should be …

The third shoe has just dropped for me (which in most ways makes no sense unless you’ve read The Mote in God’s Eye”).  As I’ve been struggling with my bank (see my note “Fun With Banking”) the bank personnel involved keep urging me to “monitor my account on-line”.  I am the most left-brained artist you’ll ever meet and my accounts are meticulously maintained. The printing my check-book register looks like it has been type-set and I balance it to the penny each month. I’ve looked at  my  accounts on-line  occasionally but since I keep meticulous records I haven’t made a regular habit of it….until the third shoe dropped.

The bankers are right in urging us to check our accounts regularly – but not for the reasons they give us. We DO need to go on line and closely monitor our accounts …but not to watch for indications of identity theft. We don’t need to check our accounts on line to double-check our own book-keeping. The reason we need to constantly monitor our accounts on line to protect ourselves from the bankers themselves.  Fees are levied, policies are imposed and procedures are changes at a lightening pace – not to insure better banking but to confuse us while we’re being relieved of our money, like a crying child creating a distraction while a pick-pocket is at work.

The third shoe is dropping,. …and what it a shoe it is.  A huge conservative businessman’s wing-tip with its toe aimed right at our collective butts.

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