Not 'That' Goldman

at 12:35 AM

Like everyone else, I've been riveted by the congressional investigation of Goldman Sachs. Watching the highly polished, highly compensated financial executives wilt under withering questioning is pure schadenfreude -- the wonderful word for the very human desire to take pleasure in the pain of others.

But then it struck me -- I'm in the financial services industry. And my name is Goldman.

Now everyone who knows me knows I have no association with Goldman Sachs. Nor did any of my relatives -- brewers in Poland, embroiderers in New York.

Moreover, I do not sell financial products. You couldn't buy a CDO from me, even if you wanted to, even if I understood what the heck they are -- not that understanding CDOs was any barrier to selling, and buying, them like hotcakes.

Still, I wonder if this flimsy reality can overcome a major media assault on my good name in headlines like:

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"Goldman To Blame For Global Financial Meltdown."

"Are There More Cockroaches in Goldman's Kitchen?"

"Feds Launch Criminal Prosecution Against Goldman."

With the non-stop news cycle cycling out constant criticism of 'Goldman,' who could blame a potential client of mine from deciding -- "I don't know why, but I'm feeling a little uneasy about hiring Goldman. Maybe we should talk to O'Malley."

Everyone in America wants their '15 minutes of fame,' but, when we get it, we realize that 15 minutes can be an awfully long and painful time. This doesn't mean I have a lot of love for the bozos at Goldman Sachs, but I am feeling a bit of sympathy for Britney Spears.

I could change my name, but that seems unfair to Goldmans, past, present and future. I could also take the traditional path for public transgressors today -- admit guilt, and go immediately to rehab, but I didn't do anything wrong, and I don't have any addictions, unless you count a constant jonesing for Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey.

Perhaps the best solution is to change the name of my business. After all, who wouldn't want to be a client of Britney Spears Financial Planning?

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With a Perspective, this is Bob Goldman.

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