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The Seat of Solvency

The Seat of Solvency

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The young woman at the counter handed me her credit card, and pushed another of Oprah's book gems, The Seat of the Soul,* across the counter. I was working at New York City's Strand Bookstore, where cashiers stood on a platform, allowing me to look down at customers (something I really, really enjoyed). The credit card read "Steven Smith."** "Um...," I said, "Are you Steven?"
"No," she said. "That's my dad's."
"Oh," I said. "Is this for school?"
"Uh-uh," she chirped. "I'm out of college."
Reader, I judged her. She was that cheerily subsidized college grad that I encountered often in the city — cheery, I assumed, because they rarely paid their own New York rent, or were running around buying self-help books and silk cargo pants.*** This was X**** years ago, of course, and now that the economy has turned into a craponomy, the urge to subsidize kids post college is even stronger. Writing in Newsweek, Melody Serafino objects, suggesting that her peers' withdrawals from the parental bank is causing a raft of debt — character debt. It's tough to say when your safety net becomes a safety hammock — but I think we can assume that the seat of one's soul is probably not in your parent's credit card. Too judgy? You decide.

*Dated myself, big time, huh.
**Not the name, because I am too old, now, to remember.
***Triple point if you can pinpoint the year to which I am dating myself.
****A long time.

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