Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Relative Values

My two-year old grandson is still learning to talk. Although we are still scratching our heads about some of the things he tries to say, his vocabulary is growing daily. One thing he clearly shouts as he plays around the house is “Iron Man…Pow!” while rigidly holding one of his arms out, releasing an imaginary repulsor ray. 

Marvel Comics has been on a roll lately with non-stop big budget films of their super-hero characters. The Avengers…Captain America, Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, and a few other lesser known costumed crusaders, regularly race across the screen defeating evil villains, invading aliens and other baddies. Opening week box office receipts are in the hundred-million dollar range, and overall gross is in the billions. I’m pretty sure that, if you add in the merchandising, the final figure would probably double or triple.

As I was growing up I was a rabid fan of comic books. While DC Comics was my favorite publisher, I did read an occasional Marvel as well. Iron Man was a particular favorite of mine. I vaguely recall holding Tales of Suspense #39, hot off the press, in my teen-aged hands. Had I known that a mint copy of the rag would someday sell for $375,000.00, I probably would have taken better care of it. I don’t know what ever happened to it, I suspect it was sold for much less than cover price in one of mom’s annual garage sales.

Where am I going with this? I guess I’m just amazed at how much people sometimes pay for things. For example, Rolex watches (depending on the model) routinely sell for thousands, or even hundreds of thousands. There are a few people that would wear nothing less. Me, I’m satisfied with a ten dollar digital from Walmart. Sure, the Rolex looks a lot more impressive, but the Walmart special tells time just as well. I guess looks don’t impress me much. In fact, I have a bit of disdain for that kind of ostentation.

I recently started taking some medicine that retails for over ten thousand dollars a bottle. Thankfully my insurance covers about 99% of the cost, but I can’t help being a bit disturbed by the fact that I gulp down about $340 worth of pills every morning. Is it worth it? It’s supposed to be keeping me alive, so the answer is yes. Would I pay $10,200.00 a month for it? If I had the money, the answer would still be yes. As it is, I can barely afford the $100 a month it costs me. Would I pay $375,000.00 for a comic book? Nope. I had a bit of trouble getting mom to pay 12 cents for it originally.

What do you value?

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