May 07, 2011

The Accounting Equation: Assets - Owner's Equity = Liability

The Accounting Equation, a post in the Melancholy series.

I'm sure that you all may have come across this handy little thing at least once in your lives. Some like to see it as Assets = Owner's Equity + Liability, but for today, I'll be looking at it as Liability = Assets - Owner's Equity.

This seemingly dull little nugget struck me today as I was listening to a conversation being had by two of my classmates. I payed the topic(s) (reserved word, here) very little attention, having felt to devote more of it to the context at hand. Some, and one in particular, would be of the opinion that I tried to read in on the situation a bit too much. Perhaps I did, but, really, it's all about squeezing out every last bit of knowledge from an encounter that I am able to. If you are of the opinion that one should endeavour to learn something from every (social) interaction, then this would be my take on it.

Like I said before, the topic wasn't of much importance, but what was being hinted as certainly was. To call a spade a spade, I'd say that it was about people having to know their place in a social circle.

I digress: over my years at campus, I've perhaps "learned" one thing one too many times: once people have painted a particular picture of you, they'll never let it go, no matter where you go in life. For this, I have one particular acquaintance to thank, as their mouth never ceases to stop overflowing with these types of remarks. Sometimes I just sit back and listen to the various things I'm told: "Oh, I wasn't paying attention...", "...well, he's great and all that, but, not always the best person...", "...definitely not the brightest bulb in the box." and, one of my all-time favourites, "You didn't tell me that... oh, it probably went in one ear and out the other.". These are just some of the things I've gleaned. And this is only the tip of the iceberg. Now I can go on all night, regurgitating all of these precious little tidbits, but perhaps that would be a tad childish if not utterly boring.

I press on. After I had established the context of people having to know their place in a social circle, I honestly felt rather bad about this pass at, most likely, myself. Much thought of it afterward brought to mind the Accounting Equation. If we let Assets be your friends, or "friends" if you're smart, Owner's Equity be your knowledge and/or current (social) standing (I'll refer to this as Yourself) and Liability be all those things, or people, you really don't like, or, that you feel are below you (I'll just call this the Residual), then the result is, not really, quite surprising:

Friends = Yourself - Residual, or, {Friends} = {Yourself}\{Residual} if you prefer a set theory-type approach.

Had I brought this up in a conversation, I'd most probably get one, or all of: a strange glance, a false laugh, silence or an uncomfortable response. At least here, the reader may be free to express their honest opinion freely to their company.

Cunningly hidden in this little nugget is the following tenet of society: know your place. Using this, someone can easily convey to others their opinion of you, albeit (un)knowingly and in an inelegant manner at times.

But I guess that that's just how everyday life goes. You can't get absolutely everyone to like you and you certainly won't worm your way into certain social circles (the "polite" company, as it's called by one of the insiders I'd spoken to). A friendly greeting would simply convey an implicit territory-marker and deterrent, a smirk, condescending stare and smug look all means of gloating openly, advice being "taken" or a conversation being had, only means of conveying that you and your knowledge are, in fact, not welcome.

The last thing I'm going to do is say that you shouldn't worry about such things. This is the real world --  things go wrong and south on a daily basis.

But that doesn't mean that such people are not below a good kick in the backside. They'll still run to the toilet sometime during the day.

I remain, your faithful lover, housekeeper and friend.


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