(Disclaimer: This post fueled by Wild Turkey. Wild Turkey, proving that throat pain IS a flavor.)
I hate money, I fucking hate it. It’s become a surrogate for life’s necessities — if that’s the right thing to call it. I mean, there are necessities for life — food, water, shelter, safety, sanitation, etc. But, today in America and in most places on Earth, really, people don’t directly procure these necessities. They procure money, and use that to obtain their necessities. So, there’s a twofold problem with that.
First, if you can’t get enough money…you can’t get your necessities. Necessities, mind you, not niceties like single-malt scotch or cuff-links. No money — no eat. No money — no live indoors. I’m going to put it out there that if you live in a city, you can’t grow or hunt your own food, and you can’t build your own shelter. There aren’t that many people who live in the woods with a big garden, Little House on the Prairie-style. That means you need to use money to live — an abstraction, that’s the word I was looking for. How does one get money? A job, and that’s where things get sticky. Some people can get high-paying jobs and get lots of necessities. Some people can only get crappy jobs, and they go hungry so their kids can eat. How does one get a high-paying job? By spending money. College costs money. No money…no college…no better job…no money.
Second, in America we seem to keep adding things to the list of “necessities.” Food, shelter, water, safety, et al are a good start. What about electricity, gas, sewer, water, phone, cable tv and internet? Okay, now how about a car payment? How about a car payment for a Lexus! Wait, a Mercedes! Sam’s Club membership? Why not? And Costco! And Netflix! Oh, and clothes absolutely must have the right label! That house has to be bigger! With granite countertops. In the right neighborhood. And I haven’t even STARTED on the TV you need to have!
There are so many things that people think they need that they work themselves to death at some job that functionally provides no benefit to Planet Earth, in order to get enough money to grab as many of these ersatz necessities that Madison Avenue, and their suburban neighbors tell them they NEED. People lose sight of what the necessities really are, is what I’m saying, in their pursuit of stuff that’s better than their neighbors, because “beating” your neighbor has become a need.
Which brings me to me. This morning I was given the choice of taking a massive (like 25%) pay cut, or resigning with severance pay, because my position “has been eliminated.” It’s not necessarily an unfair pay cut — it’s in line with what the new position should earn, and it is still more than the median income in the country. It’s just a lot of money to lose — Which shines a spotlight on our life, and raises the question of whether all of the necessities we’ve been enjoying are….really necessary. And if they’re not, to what extent does that mean that we’ve bought into the hype that I’ve just finished ranting about two paragraphs up?
I hate money. The $xx,000 that I’ve been earning hasn’t made us happy, so maybe losing the $xx,000 that we’re going to lose won’t make us unhappy. Maybe this is actually going to be a blessing, and kick us into tightening up as a family, and focusing more on what’s important, and less on all the suburban-style materialistic bullshit.