Residents of the Emerald City

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Daniel JonesBy Daniel Jones

Sometimes we prefer the man behind the curtain to stay there. We don’t care if the Wizard is really a munchkin as long as the lights stay on, the internet keeps working and our paycheck arrives on time. More than ever, this ignorant mentality is dominating decision making and expectations in our world.

There are many wizards in our lives. Take for example electric cars, which are futuristic, amazingly quick, emission-free, and everybody wants one “because of the wonderful things it does.” While their carbon-heavy manufacturing process is kept behind the curtain, consumers happily thank the wizard as they zip along, not caring where or how the lithium was mined to produce the batteries or where those non-disposable batteries go when we are through with them. As content residents of The Emerald City, decisions are not made based on logic, but rather on expectation.

There was a time not long ago when people understood what they were buying, or at least they wanted to. Maybe one could say times were simpler then, that a horse is easier to understand than a microchip. But the problem isn’t actual understanding, it is the fading desire to understand. We don’t want to know, preferring instead to trust, but not verify. We raise our expectations instead of our standards, relying on social media and the internet which is driven not by information but by emotion.

The world has advanced so quickly that our goal to fully understand it is now miles away, over a canyon, in the back of a cave on the top of a mountain. By the time most of us get there, we will only find the cold remains of a long-extinguished fire. So, we’ve given up and accepted things as they are—content we will never understand. In order to keep some control, we now allow expectations to govern decision making. It doesn’t matter where or how my phone was made, the screen better be crystal clear. Does my insurance company maintain strong financial discipline in maintaining its reserves? Doesn’t matter as long as my premium is low. What am I actually getting when I buy crypto currency? Who cares as long as it is worth more tomorrow.

If you don’t want to read your insurance policy, at least get to know your insurance agent. Are they trustworthy? Can you rely on them to tell you what you need to hear, even if you don’t want to hear it? 2021 has been a hard year for companies and getting harder. Now is the time that a good relationship with your insurance agent or financial advisor pays off, when your policy is being non-renewed after you have done nothing wrong, or when your rate is increasing 20% and you don’t know why.

We all need a Dorothy from time to time, someone to view things from a new perspective and lead us onward. Our area of the panhandle is blessed with the best of those who can help you discern the good from the bad and put you back on the yellow brick road. But beware, there are plenty of winged monkeys lurking.