Listened to a podcast this afternoon from “This American Life” entitled “Return to the Giant Pool of Money”. The series’ first episode contains the best explanation of last fall’s financial meltdown I have heard. The “return” was equally informative. While the podcast contained interviews with many different players, the most interesting character, in my opinion, was Glen.

Glen was a mortgage company sales manager during the boom. He stated in the first part of the series that during the good times he was netting upwards of 75-100K per month in income. Not per year. Per month.

However, within a year, he had lost it all. Glen is open about his fall and recognizes the irony of his situation. The interviewer makes the observation that he “sounds like a man on the verge of a major life change”. In one of the interviews most poignant moments, Glen starts to get emotional and says he is ashamed of what the money did to him. He “should have done more” to help people when he had the money, but he didn’t. Glen only cared about Glen. “I’m driving a car with no paint on it, and I used to think that it mattered….but it doesn’t.”

The moment reminded me of Schindler’s List when Oskar Schindler recognizes at the end of the film, that people, not things, are most important. Sometimes it takes a fall to learn life’s fundamental truths. Take a listen. It’s a good one.