A lesson learned from The Brady Bunch

I’m writing from the Bonneville Hot Springs Resort & Spa in North Bonneville, Washington. Bridget, my significant other and I decided to celebrate the new year with a mini vacation. Its pure, naturally-heated mineral baths, cool crisp, cloud-free skies and dense wooded landscapes  help us forget about earning a living.

The Resort has a rustic feel about it. Spa pools, hot tubs, massage rooms and scantily-clad guests fill the common areas, and each room has its own hot tub on a balcony overlooking the mountains: That’s why we chose it.

Sounds great doesn’t it?

So why am I taking time away from this relaxation? Why am I not reading a book or enjoying the tranquility?

A number of times since arriving here yesterday, Bridget and I both noticed a negative sensation we’ve been experiencing. While our mini-vacation isn’t ruined by the feeling, it sits there in the back of our minds, and it’s a familiar feeling. In fact, nearly everyone living in the existing status-quo feel it from time to time.

I’ve been had.

We considered several options for our mini break. We wanted to get away, but didn’t want to be disconnected. We like checking in with friends and family via Facebook. We’re currently somewhat addicted to the shows Dexter and Game of Thrones. So while booking our stay, we were careful to ask about access to the Internet.

Their online literature boasted of Internet access throughout the facility. Prior to booking Bridget spoke to the reservation specialist, who assured us that we’d have Internet connectivity in our rooms.

Guess what? There isn’t any! Not a single bar. The only access is in the common areas.

Upon arrival we unpacked. Our phones not only had no wifi, but no cell coverage either. Bridget asked why our room had no Internet signal reminding the staff of what their website says. The front desk attendant merely shrugged:

“Well, the building is old and full of concrete so…”

Bridget has rightly accused me of having my standards set too high, but is it the curse of high standards to believe what you’re told? How often have you spent your hard-earned money expecting one thing, only to get another?

While it is true that I’m enjoying this relaxing time with my dear one, there’s that nagging voice in the back of my mind.

“You’ve been had.”

Bridget has felt it too, gnawing at the base of her skull.

I remember watching The Brady Bunch as a child. It was Episode 53 (many thanks to this fabulous website). Mike Brady is teaching one of his three sons about being had by no less than his friend Eddie Haskel. I was going to summarize it, but the website linked above had the entire segment. It’s worth the read:

Greg: Boy, did I ever get stuck with a lemon. “A little elbow grease.”

Mike: Yeah, well I don’t think a little elbow grease is going to cure rigor mortis. [Mike leans against the car]

Greg: Careful, Dad. You’re liable to crush the door. Some friend that Eddie.

Mike: Ah, come on Greg. Forget about Eddie. You made a business deal – he got the best of you. That’s all.

Greg: Business deal. That’s the last time I’m going to do business with a friend.

Mike: I think maybe you learned something about the business world.

Greg: What d’ya mean?

Mike: Well, look. You take sellers. They’ve got something to sell, right?

Greg: Right.

Mike: Naturally they’re going to make it sound as attractive as possible even if they have to exaggerate to do it.

Greg: You mean lie.

Mike: Yes. Quite often they do. Though they might call it “gilding the lily.” But the important thing is that you’re the

buyer. You have to keep your guard up, see? It’s the old principle of caveat emptor.

Greg: Caveat emptor?

Mike: It’s Latin for “let the buyer beware.” Or to put it in the vernacular, “them who don’t look, sometimes gets took.”

Greg: Well, that Eddie really took me.

Mike: Yeah, he did. He had you hog-tied and happy before you knew it. But you let it happen. Okay. The important thing is that you learned something.

Greg: Don’t worry Dad. Have I ever.

Mike: Good boy.

[Peter and Bobby are in the boys’ bedroom. Greg enters]

Peter: What were you talking to Dad about?

Greg: Oh, a few of the facts of life. Like “caveat emptor.”

Bobby: What’s that?

Greg: It means “let the buyer beware,” in Latin.

Peter: Yeah. Don’t you know anything?

Bobby: Oh, I know Latin. Obby-bay Ady-bray. That’s “Bobby Brady” in Latin.

Peter: That’s Pig-Latin, loser!

Greg: Boy, I sure learned my lesson. When I get rid of that old clunker, this time I’m the seller, and it’s the other guy who has to do the caveat emptoring.

Peter: How ya going to get rid of it?

Greg: Just find somebody who’s dumber than I am.

Bobby: Isn’t going to be easy.

[Marcia and Jan jumping rope outside. Mike and Carol enter from the car]

Carol: Hello, girls.

Marcia: Hi.

Jan: Hi.

Carol: Well it looks like Greg must have got his car running.

Mike: Well he must have used artificial respiration. Hey girls, you know where Greg went?

Marcia: He was showing the car to some boy and then they drove off somewhere. He was trying to get us to say how great that old wreck was.

Jan: He kept winking at us, you know like that? [Jan winks] And he even gave Cindy a candy bar.

[Marcia and Jan exit]

Carol: Well I wonder what that’s all about.

Mike: Hmm, so do I.

[Peter and Bobby enter from the house]

Mike: Boys, Greg sell his car?

Bobby: Yeah. He called the guy a pigeon.

Peter: He said he was gonna really cavet the guy’s eruptor.

[Peter and Bobby exit]

Carol: Cavet his eruptor? What?

Mike: I think he means caveat his emptor.

Carol: Caveat emptor? Now where’d they pick that up?

Mike: Well, I had a long talk with Greg about buying and selling, but I’m afraid he learned the wrong lesson.

Such a great episode! Watching The Brady Bunch was the first time I ever heard the Latin phrase “caveat emptor”.

Quite often – though not always consciously – we all get that nagging feeling at some point. We become skeptical of claims made by others, we worry we’re being sold something we don’t want. Even when we’re sold something we do want, the thing we buy sometimes turns out to be different from what we expected. More often than not, we don’t realize we’ve been had until after the fact.

This is one of many problems with status-quo economies.

I began promoting Copiosis for what it offers everyone, and for what it can do for the planet. A Copiosis economy delivers on our societal dreams. The pretty pictures of The Zeitgeist Movement, the spiritual connectedness of Charles Eisenstein’s Spiritual Economies, the claims of The New Earth Project and the promise of post-scarcity civilizations can all be realized effectively through Copiosis. Making these dreams into reality is what got me – and keeps me – on the road to making Copiosis happen.

Even so, just as light is defined by the darkness it dispels, I am inspired by what Copiosis offers and by what Copiosis eliminates. In a post-scarcity Copiosis economy, we can all enjoy something precious we will never be able to achieve with scarcity-based, existing economies: the ability to trust and have faith in every human we meet.

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