Sunday, January 27, 2008

RANT: Money

So I'm staring at my w2. It's the document that summarizes the last year of your life into five or six orderly line items. There's your social security number, your gross income, your net income, and how much you've paid in taxes. Sure, there's some other data about your employer and the like, but those four lines pretty much define your value as a barcode citizen.

After selling back two weeks of vacation, getting a decent bonus, and working my ass off for a whole year, I did pretty well for myself. I have a decent place with a cool roomie, my personal life is as shitty as can be expected, I work too much, I bought another car to replace the one I lost in an accident without really breaking a sweat, and I didn't have to fob off any bills when my income was reduced for legal reasons.

So, why is this a rant? Well, money isn't everything. I'm pretty certain that four line items can't summarize a whole year's worth of life. Matter of fact, I'm absolutely certain that they can't. I've grown, my friends have grown, I've survived things that would've killed me in those fanciful years of old, I changed the first digit of my age, I found my stride as a single white male, and I'm better for all of it. Money was helpful and harmful to my progress, but the acquisition of wealth can't be what it's all about. Surely our worth as human beings with real thoughts can't just be a matter of numbers.

If I'm going to spend the next year of my life relaxing while they ease it in, I at least want my form to have a comment section that reads "Thanks for being a cog in our great economic machine."

Saturday, January 26, 2008

RANT: Desperate...powerless

There are days when I feel perfectly in control of everything. I like those days the best. I know it's an illusion, that nobody can control each individual variable in the equation of life, but sometimes just the feeling is enough to keep me happy... sane even.

The days when I don't have that illusion are coming more frequently as of late. I've let control of things slip away, decisions that were once solely mine fall to others, and I have to tell you that it's pissing me right the hell off. If I hear one more person talk about personal growth at my expense or in my absence, I'm going to fucking stab them.

In these situations, some folks ask "What would Jesus do?" but I can't. The wisdom of the carpenter doesn't hold a lot of weight with me. Instead, I have to ask "What would I do?" Were I free of emotion, feeling, outside influence, what action would I take. If there were no consequences, what course would I plot for myself. Part of the peril of metheism is that you can only turn to yourself at the end of the day. When I look to others for answers, I wind up with that many more questions. I have to say "Fuck them!" and figure shit out on my own.

You should try it sometime. I'm usually amazed at how well it works. The only problem for me is that I'd just do a bunch of coke, hang out at strip clubs, and make sure my cat gets fed if I were free from all external stimuli. I can't do that, because there's other things to consider, but it's a fun mental exercise. The fun part is, it really makes me feel better.

Thanks for reading. I'll kvetch about something with a bit more social context next time.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

RAVE: Slacking

So payday Friday has come and gone. I've been to the bar and found my way home. I got some good sleep and woke up in time to catch Legion of Super Heroes on WB. (Watch the show. It is the goodness.) It's Saturday now, and you know what I'm doing?

Nothing. That's right. Not a damned thing. And I'm not going to do anything unless I decide that I want to.

You see, sometimes we get caught up in all of this shit that we have to do. We forget that the only things we really have to do are eat, sleep, breathe, pay taxes, and feed the cat/kid/sig-o/whatever. Pretty much everything else is a want to do or a choose to do. Today I'm choosing to do nothing, and that's okay. Slacking is not some cardinal offense, some mortal sin. (Well, okay, it may be sloth, but who cares? God hasn't done anything for the better part of 2000 years and I don't see her starting now.) You won't go to hell for taking a day off and you can only really store up so much sick time before you become a zombie.

So hang up the club, stop dragging the cavewoman around by her hair, pull up a boulder, and take a load off. Take a break from the relentless pursuit of bitches and money (or dudes and money - depending on which team you're batting for). You've earned it, dear reader. You've earned it.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

RAVE: In Defense of Strippers

Now I've been all around this great big world (okay, just a few states, but life lived beats out geographic range any day of the week) and I've seen all kinds of girls (not an overstatement like the last one). By far, some of my favorite ladies have been those that take their clothes off for money to my favorite classic rock hits.

I've heard them called all manner of things: whores, sluts, exhibitionists, whores, prostitutes, call-girls, etc. But I'm here to tell you that female empowerment as we know it wouldn't exist without the burlesque. Since the Crusades, women have been shaking it for their men on the homefront to compete with the exotic ladies from afar. Throughout history, flashing a little skin has stopped wars, prevented murders, and kept the world safe for the occasional glimpse of nipple and the shallow hope that one of them might take you home.

They won't, but that's a subject for another blog. Today I'm here to speak up on behalf of one of my favorite segments of femme-kind. These girls are out there night after night shaking what their mamas gave 'em for a wad of sweaty bills. Their hard work and dedication keeps men from cheating, women from getting bored with the same old same old, and young boys hoping that they can one day sacrifice their dollars on the altar of stripper flesh. For the most part, they don't get much dirtier than a lap dance and they're usually working their job because the money is better than they could make elsewhere. In my brief career as a bouncer, I met women working to keep their kids fed, to pay their way through college, and some who just did it 'cause it got them off.

Much like smoking marijuana, nobody ever got hurt that didn't get frisky when they shouldn't have.

So go out and support your local strip club this weekend. Take your girl with you (if you have one), give her a stack of bills, and watch from afar. If you go solo, save some of that cash for a lap dance. Having it ground on your lap and slapped on your face might bolster your confidence enough to go out and find a girl you don't have to pay for. Just remember that strippers are people too, and be sure to tip your waitress (she'll be the one with her clothes on).