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Marc Dion
Marc Dion
8 Feb 2016
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Are You Upside Down in Your Home?


Are you upside down in your home?

That's what the fast-buck mortgage commercials ask.

Are you standing on your head in the living room, watching the change fall out of your pocket, feeling a nosebleed coming on?

Looks like you just missed your fumbling grab at the American Dream, which, as we all know, is purchase-able, finance-able, package-able, advertise-able and define-able by someone other than your sad, sorry bill-paying ass.

Newspaper stories written in a tone suitable to the Siege of Leningrad tell us that home sales have fallen for another month, that prices are dropping faster than the needle on a Hummer's gas gauge.

And your kids — my God, your kids. They may have to grow up in, sob, RENTAL PROPERTY!

Which isn't so bad.

I did it.

My father moved a lot for his job, in addition to which he was not a lawn-mowing, backyard barbecue kind of guy. He was a French cuff shirt, "Let's go out to dinner" kind of guy. We lived in an apartment, then another one, then a rented house, then we owned a house for three years, then we lived in some more apartments and rented houses.

I understand that fewer houses bought and fewer houses built means fewer jobs building houses, and that is bad for the economy.

The carpenter who can't get work moves me. The guy who thinks he's been somehow cheated because he can't buy a $300,000 house does not.

There are times and places in history when you can't have what you want. Ask the Libyans.

And what you have to do in those times is realize that your life is you, that you are the shelter for your children,

We'd move when I was a kid, and my folks would enroll me in school, and the movers would bring the furniture, and Ma would go to the grocery store and buy hamburger, sliced ham, milk, maybe some broccoli and Twinkies, and we'd be fine.

It was tough going to new schools every couple years, but at least I learned how to fistfight well, and it wasn't tough living in rented property.

I knew other people owned the places where they lived, and I knew we didn't — just like I knew some people were Methodists, but we were Catholics.

There wasn't any hunger in my childhood, or divorce, or restraining orders, or parental heroin use.

My parents made a home wherever we went because my parents were our home. They were the strong roof that arched over me. They were the protecting walls. They were security.

You may not be able to buy a house this year. Or next. You may lose the house you have.

Some people say we are living in a recession. I don't think we are. I think this is an across-the-board "push back." America can't always be the most powerful, richest country in the world. No country has ever been the most powerful and richest country FOREVER. Argue the reasons all you like, but history won't allow anyone to stay on top forever. That's not arguable.

You may never be able to buy a house, and if you think of yourself as middle class, that hurts you.

But remember, a house is a box, like a cereal box but bigger.

A cereal box full of diamonds is worth more than a cereal box full of cornflakes.

If you ask me where we were living when I was, say, 12, I might have to think a little bit, but I remember my parents calm love and pork chop dinners and church and walks with my father.

My parents filled their box with diamonds.

So, if you gotta pay rent for a while or forever, don't worry too much.

Twenty-four years ago, I bought my father a house. It was long and narrow and made out of mahogany, and we put him and his house in the ground.

And I wish he were still paying rent somewhere.

To learn more about Marc Munroe Dion and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit



2 Comments | Post Comment
Another great article. The end is poignant, but it sneaks up on you quietly. Others beat a loud drum: "This will be my sob-story, gut wrenching, slice of humanity article" Dion is too honest for such displays.

I know liberals want to reconfigure the "American Dream", but it seems that people who schlep their sorry bill-paying butts to work every day for thirty years should be able to afford a home if they so desire. Not a mansion, or even a mcmansion, but a nice 2500 square feet you can call your own. Some people do like to mow the lawn and have backyard cookouts. Are they bad for those reasons? They are not asking for a home like Al Gore's. Jump on his sorry carbon crediting living the real high life while self righteously sermonizing to everybody else for his own profit butt. I'm glad Dion grew up in a house of diamonds, it is more prevalent than one might suspect from reading the papers. People should be able to purchase the case those diamonds are stored in.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Tom
Fri Aug 26, 2011 10:58 AM
I don't get this article. People who are losing their homes are not so much worried that their kids will be growing up in rental properties as they are worried that their kids will be growing up in *poverty.* They are also worried about having a place to live when they themselves are old. My husband and I bought a house not because we have some idiotically pastoral ideal about backyard BBQs and lawn-mowing, but because when we are old and can no longer work and bring in a paycheck, we still would like a place to live that is not a park bench. Paying mortgage now will allow us to have such a place (as the previous poster mentioned - not a mansion, just a small comfortable place that no landlord can evict us from). Renting a place means we would spend the same amount of money month in and month out and have nothing to show for it 30 years down the road. The U.S., with all its advantages, has an abominable support system for the elderly and the poor, so don't blame the people who, by working hard and trying to buy a house when they are able-bodied and employed, invest in their secure (=non-homeless) retirement.

As for people losing homes and having to rent...Is Mr. Dion aware what a foreclosure does to your credit? And is he aware that landlords run your credit report? And that is is perfectly legal to deny somebody a lease if their credit report is bad? And that there are not that many properties out there that can *legally* accommodate a family of 5 or 6? And where they are available, the rents are often more than the mortgage because the owner has to cover his/her mortgage, taxes, and insurance and try to make profit?
Comment: #2
Posted by: Ariana
Mon Aug 29, 2011 10:08 PM
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