• 05.13.08

Work/Life: Dennis Hopper Hawking Financial Planning…A Sign Of The Coming Apocalypse Now?



  • I was all set to write something satirical about JennaBush’s wedding over the weekend, certain that the President of the UnitedStates–a guy with one of the most overcommitted schedules in the freeworld—would fail to attend the ceremony, allowing me to launch into a diatribeabout work/life priorities and indulge in a little political lampooning toboot.  Well, the guy shows up athis daughter’s wedding after all, and so I had nothing to complain about, eventhough if he had any humility he would have ditched the nuptials and spent sometime trying to get gasoline back to a buck-eighty a gallon.  See?  Maybe his priorities are a little skewed after all. 
  • Anyway, while getting over the notion that even a busypresident makes time for his family, I began to channel surf in search ofwriterly inspiration.  Before long,I hit one of those ads for Ameriprise Financial, wherein Dennis Hopper—he of“Easy Rider”/terminally-stoned slacker from “Apocalypse Now” fame—is urging hisown rapidly aging demographic to plan for their financial futures.  
  • Of course, everyone who works too much sets their sights ontheir retirement.  Those goldenyears when the forty years of stressed-out imbalance to which you’ve succumbedis finally righted by a non-specified amount of time engaging in leisureactivities (golf seems to figure heavily) or perhaps even doing virtuallynothing.  Unfortunately, however,we will never live long enough to have as many years at last relaxing as we diddigging ourselves an early grave. Of course, it’s obvious that Hopper was chosen to ease the boomers intotheir golden years because he represents the wild man we all wish we were priorto settling into a life of chasing paper. “Yeah, that’s right,” his ads seems to say to us, “I lived on the edgejust like Dennis, and if being boring is good enough for him now, then it’sdamn sure good enough for me.”  Inreality, of course, most of us very quickly settled into a life far moreordinary than that of a movie star, and we certainly didn’t get to make ourmoney while also waiting outside the bedroom for Jack Nicholson to be through. 
  • Still, the message seems to be that it’s never too late tocalm down and realize what’s really important.  Unfortunately, the messenger chosen to deliver this wisdomis a bit off-kilter. When it comes to sage and solemn financial wisdom, I’lltake a John Houseman or a Sam Waterston. At least you get the sense that they are not currently in need of goodinvestment advice because for a while there most of what they made was going uptheir nose.