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Too Smart To Be Rich?

BALLAD OF A THIN MAN

You walk into the room with your pencil in your hand
You see somebody naked and you say ‘Who is that man?’
You try so hard but you don’t understand
just what you will say when you get home
because something is happening here but you don’t know what it is
do you, Mr. Jones
?

I’ve always loved those lyrics by Bob Dylan from “Highway 61 Revisited.”

Mr. Jones is a white collar guy. Educated. Employed. Respected. He’s a “reasonable man.” Problem is that he finds himself in a world he doesn’t understand. The ground is moving under him. Everything looks topsy turvy. Reason can’t help him in this place.

I was brought up and educated to be a Mr. Jones. I never bought the program. Thank God I didn’t. I bailed out when I withdrew from a PhD program that I would have excelled in.

Some of you think I gave up something good. What I gave up was believing that a higher degree leads to a great life. No! It leads to a very respectable mediocre income and a safe lifestyle. In my book, that spells death.

Now, if I were a Mr. Jones, I’d love a string of letters after my name. But those letters come with a set of deadly beliefs. Like a belief in security. A job with a title. A BMW and a house in the burbs. A belief in government bailouts. And, here’s a killer. A belief that we’re in a bad economy. We must be. All the suits and pundits say so.

After all, they are smart people like Mr. Jones.

Poor Mr. Jones. He’s too blind to see that respectability keeps him just over broke. Oh yeah, he escapes to Turks and Caicos, Barbados, and Waikiki. But he does it on a budget. And he doesn’t order his food from the left side of the menu without glancing at the prices on the right.

Mr. Jones is the first one to explain in detail why Network Marketing doesn’t work. That’s because he’s a smart man. He’s too smart to be really rich.

Bob Dylan had his number more than four decades ago when he wrote these words in “Ballad of a Thin Man.”

Ah you’ve been with the professors and they’ve all liked your looks
With great lawyers you have discussed lepers and crooks
You’ve been through all of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s books
You’re very well read, it’s well known
But something is happening here and you don’t know what it is
do you, Mr. Jones
?