You know about all the budget cuts that have hit USC and other state institutions, but I was just talking to Caroline Whitson, president of Columbia College, and trying to operation a private college is no bed of roses these days, either. She had called me earlier in the day, and I got her back on her cell while she was walking the dog…
Most of the college's funds come from tuition (I had guessed it was from gifts, but I guessed wrong), and that's not exactly the most dependable funding stream at the moment. With so many families hurting, and student loans harder than ever to get, she said she's "not sure what enrollment is going to look like in the fall." So the college is looking at all sorts of contingencies.
As for gifts, well… whether your name is Pastides or Whitson, you tend to hear from a lot of people that their portfolios are down, and this just isn't the best time…
Me, I find it hard to imagine being in that situation, because I've never had a flippin' portfolio.
Real life anecdote follows: As I was getting off the phone with Caroline, my wife called on my cell to remind me that she'll be home late, so I might want to stop at the grocery on my way home if I want to eat. And I should remember that there is $15 in the checking account until I get paid, so don't go over that. Of course, as I recall she told me the day after I got paid LAST time — after she'd paid the bills — that there was only $11 in the account. I guess the additional $4 is all that's left from her pay after we paid some MORE bills.
You know how they say you should always have two months salary in an accessible account in case you lose your job? That always makes me laugh maniacally, because the only time I ever have two WEEKS pay is for about five seconds after I get paid every two weeks (and of course I never have two weeks gross, just net). And no, I'm not complaining. I know I'm well off. All I have to do is look around me — at work, in the community, among friends and family — to see how well off we are. But how other people build up portfolios, I don't know. Somehow, the world always knows EXACTLY how much is in my paycheck, and all the bills add up to that amount — give or take $15. I don't know how they coordinate it. Actually, I don't think they do. You know what I really think it is?
God doesn't want me to have money — he knows me too well, and doesn't trust me with it or something. I'm not being facetious. I'll explain my theological view on that another time.
Oh, and when they call from our alma mater — Memphis State, which has changed its name — seeking contributions, I do not laugh maniacally, but only because I'm polite.