A reader writes:

Your post of the website developer's story and subsequent comments hit a nerve for me this morning.  This evening my beloved, brilliant, sweet-natured, marvelously entertaining favourite cousin will come to my house hoping to borrow money.  He is defeated by this crisis and trying to find the strength to fight for his very life.  About a year and a half ago he borrowed money and started a small business, and everything has gone south. This past weekend he came over and I lit a fire.  We sat and talked and he held his head in his hands and told me he hadn't enough money for food.

He refused a meal when I offered one, but of course I went ahead and made him something anyway and put it on a little table in front of him by the fire, and he wolfed it down.  I went to the closet and slipped some cash into his pocket.

Together we played out a Dickensian scene that we must each have been aware of, and stuck to our assigned roles.  I am the "wealthy relative", female of course, and my cousin, a crushed man, is begging for hope.  He says he fell in love with the future, and it broke his heart.

I cannot be as apathetic as your website developer.  I love my cousin, and to see this superb and extraordinary man stripped naked of his pride and dignity hurts my bones.  And yet, I have not decided yet if I will lend him the money he needs, and which I do have.

I am afraid.  I am afraid for my own future--having lost so much that I no longer am sure that I have enough to last if things continue to get very bad.  And I am afraid of who else will come to sit by my fire, and how much they will need.  I have nieces and nephews, a mother, and friends.  One by one, some of them will come.  How do I rank them--who do I help, and how much?  How do I balance their terrible need  with my need to save and prepare for a long severe economic storm?

I keep in mind the pharoah's dream of the seven fat cows that were eaten by the seven lean cows. Somehow we must all find our way through this maelstrom--but I really don't know how.

I only know one thing: Rick Santelli can go to hell!

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