THE DON JONES INDEX

 

The Don Jones Index... as apart from the Dow Jones Index... is that index detailing the health, wealth and general well-being of Don Jones.

Who is Don Jones?

Don Jones is every American. Don Jones is a salesman, a police officer, a rodeo clown. He toils on farms and factories, making beer and steam and steel beams, beans and beef... works at the paint department at your local Wal-Mart, manages the graveyard shift at the gas station off the Interstate. Don Jones is unemployed; he's also the man behind the counter at the unemployment office, the longshoreman unloading containers of shoddy Halloween and Christmas décor, made in China. He is a soldier and a student and a criminal... Don Jones practices rocket science, brain surgery, Don Jones drives school buses, trucks and taxis, wanders city streets looking for aluminum cans to pick up and sell to recyclers.

Don Jones is white or black or, maybe, a little bit of this and that; perhaps his ancestors came from Asia or Mexico or Russia and changed their names. He attends Catholic masses and Jewish seders, sings in the choir, handles snakes or, maybe, just sits on the couch of a Sunday, watching football and munching pork rinds. Don Jones dropped out of high school, graduated Harvard and has a diploma from a University that exists only on the Internet. He is a nerd or a curmudgeon; married, divorced or widowed, a homosexual or homicidal maniac, locked up in prison for life.

If married, let's call his wife Dawn... she teaches fourth-grade social studies or graduate-level cosmology, practices cosmetology and clips coupons. She's the friendly weathercaster at your local TV station, cleans other people's houses or sits in a cubicle at a corporate office, processing papers whose meaning utterly escapes her.

Dawn Jones worries about her children and grandchildren, or else her cats. She usually votes Democratic, while Don prefers Republicans... except when it's the other way round. Don Jones ran off and left her with the children, the children got on drugs and left her with the grandchildren. Dawn Jones got a job as a meter maid and slaps tickets on the windshield of Don's Nissan (or Cadillac, or truck).

Don (or Dawn) has a pension, trades stocks and bonds... or has nothing, but reads the papers and watches financial news on television, thinking it might help him (or her) get by. The Dow Jones Index tracks the progress of oil companies, high-tech companies, big box stores; Don Jones wonders who cares about him. Who cares to measure his progress (or its lack), his paycheck, mortgage, crime in his neighborhood, the price at the pump?

We do.

Go forth, then! to... the Don Jones Index.

 

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