Modest Living

Mod­este Mus­sorgsky. Mod­est Mouse. Modesto, Cal­i­for­nia.

Who would name their kid “Mod­est” today? I always think of the com­pos­er wad­dling through the art exhib­it to the tune of his “Prom­e­nade” motif from “Pic­tures at an Exhi­bi­tion.” Was it meant to be, I don’t know, mean­ing­ful? Or was it just a trendy name at the time, like “Aaron” or “Cody” have been?

I always want­ed to live well enough, in a mod­est way. When we moved from Fres­no back in the Eight­ies, I thought this would be the place where we could live smooth­ly and qui­et­ly, just get­ting along, build­ing equi­ty, look­ing for­ward to the kids leav­ing and the peace of even­tu­al retire­ment. Now, I have had to learn more about the econ­o­my than a den­tist ever should. The house is next to worth­less, which is still more than our 401(k) bal­ances. Miran­da and I don’t know what we are going to do now. These days, it feels like our dreams were dead before the thing even sank.

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