I was raised to want money. I don’t say that as a bad thing—most people are raised to want money—and though almost my every life’s pursuit runs counter to that impulse, from the near-constant CD shopping to the meals I take, my choice of career and the beer I drink. I work two jobs, one part-time, this one full-time, my wife works her ass off, and we’re still broke as hell.
That’s a terrible thing, right? To be broke? I always thought it was. I always thought that the more money you had, the more secure you were, the better off you were and the more likely you were to be able to live how you wanted. “Mo’ money, less problems” seemed like a simple equation, but as I sat this past weekend and read the news that Standard And Poor’s dropped the U.S. credit rating from AAA to AA+ and the whole world seemed to shit its pants in response, I was never so happy to be broke in my life.
The only investment I have is a Roth IRA that I started when I was 18 years old, working at KB Toys, because I didn’t like the job and figured I was never going to like whatever “the job” was and so I’d better put some money away. According to my wife, that account was just about back to where it was when the economy collapsed the last time in 2008, and though I anticipate that it’ll take another hit, it doesn’t really matter to me. It’s completely abstract. If it goes away forever, well, I wasn’t ever going to be able to retire on it anyhow, so screw it.
I own no property, and aside from the aforementioned, have no real stake. Last time, the place I was working was held up by stock market investments, so when that went, the whole foundation went and I lost my job. If The Aquarian goes out of business because Wall Street takes a shit, well, I’ll be surprised to say the least. Here I always thought it would’ve been Jim Campion’s gambling problem that did it (just kidding).
So while I have sympathy for people who have some concern for interest rates, market status, debt ceilings or whatever, the selfish part of me—which, rest assured, is the majority of who I am—couldn’t care less. Let it all come tumbling down. Let a few of these entitled motherfuckers move back in with their mothers-in-law and see how they do for a while. Let them spend their whole weekend dealing with the mysterious, nigh-on-Biblical swarm of flies in the kitchen, origins unknown and growing ceaselessly in number. If the economy takes another real dive and we have no choice but to call it the depression it’s been all along (because the recovery was a farce and we all know it), at least life will be interesting.
After the stupidity that was the debt ceiling debacle and this “crisis,” the three forgotten wars, the greed, the hate, the same disheartening shit I bitch about in this column every single week, who’s to say being completely fucked isn’t exactly what we deserve? What we’ve earned? The hippie in me doesn’t want to wish hard times on anyone, but what other way is there to get our heads around our complicity in the horrors perpetrated by those we perceive to be outside of ourselves (governments, corporations, etc.) but absolutely aren’t? Because we’re all part of it. Me, right now, typing on a Dell computer made with silicone chips assembled in sweatshops, in my sweatshop t-shirt and my sweatshop boxers, blasting my A/C to stave off the Jersey humidity and killing the planet in the process, watching braindead television with even more braindeadening advertising. I’m part of it. We all are.
I don’t care if you ride a bike to work every day at the vegan bakery, you’re in it somehow. If you breathe, you’re in it. If you use electricity, you’re in it. And maybe all this turmoil, the forecasted terribleness, maybe they’re ultimately the other end. Maybe they’re the way out. If they were, and we had to push ourselves through to come out better on the other side, wouldn’t it be worth whatever came between the one side and the other?
So yeah, bring it on down.
Standing in the doorway,