Consider a football coach in Texas that makes 5 million in one year, if I make 40,000 per year (about how much I will hopefully be making once I graduate from college) on my own for the next 60 years it only comes up to 2,400,000. (I am 23 and according to Wikipedia, the average lifespan for an american woman is 81, so I’m even planning on living longer than average) 40k per year isn’t much, but it would be enough to rent myself a small apartment, afford a cell phone, TV, internet, go on a vacation once a year, have a decent car, wear clothes from Kohl’s or department store sales, and take care of other miscellaneous expenses. Of course I’m not taking in to account more than my own expenses, for example expenses like getting married or having children, but one human life for 60 years costs less than one man makes in six months. 81 years costs 3,240,000, about 65% of what that man makes in 1 year. 237 Days and 10 Hours to make the money that will keep someone alive for 29,584 Days and 14 hours (I’m not a mathematician, so if I’ve miscalculated, please let me know).
You know it’s really just people fueling these kind of indulgences. Even thought this coach works for a state college, most of his wages come out of the revenue that the team receives from merchandising and ticket sales.
I’m not even going to get started on professional sports teams or actors. (LeBron James, for example, made 19.07 million this year, almost 6 “lifetimes worth.”)
The real problem isn’t these individuals. The real problem lies in where the masses find value.
If people gave their money to institutions that research medicines, diseases, food, or to schools math or reading programs as readily as they give their money to college football, professional basketball, or entertainment, what kind of lives could we all be living?
I’m including myself in this. I’m utterly disgusted at my own indulgences. I need to take a step back and realize that what is most important in my life is what I can get for free (love, friendship, compassion), or what I can use my money on that will benefit myself and others physically, spiritually, mentally.
Sometimes that will mean a movie, or a sports game. I won’t get in to the theory of it, but sometimes we need heroes—especially ones that are human and can fail, and movies can teach us important things about ourselves.
I’m not saying we should get rid of sports, fashion, or movie stars.
Heaven knows I love the entertainment industry. One of my dreams is writing a screenplay that people will be able to see and learn from in the way that Inception tries to teach you. And it is trying to teach you.
I’m just saying that I’m going to think twice next time before buying a full price sweater or a ten dollar movie ticket. Maybe I’ll even put that money aside to donate to a local school or charity.
The movie can wait. There will be other sweaters. But maybe there is someone dying who only needs a little more research on a vaccine or some kid who could be a great engineer, but he doesn’t think math is important because the teacher can’t spend enough time with him in his crowded classroom and he just doesn’t understand it.
I see people making a difference in the world by changing their own lives, and I want to change mine.