Dharma, Upheaval and Uhaul Trucks

Howdy folks.  It’s been a while.

There’s a very very good reason for that.  And while I don’t want to say too much yet as things aren’t completely finalized, every aspect of my life is in upheaval now.  Good upheaval.  Great upheaval.

What I can say is that I’ve quit my job of eleven years – if my reader(s) hasn’t(haven’t) given up on me, you might recall that I worked in a warehouse – and am in the middle of a move.  And let me just say, the one redeeming feature of poverty is not having much stuff to move.  And it’s not just that moving sucks, but that my back is roughly the same diameter as those little sticks of lead that mechanical pencils use, so this is doubly important.

Seriously, on my last day of work, there was, coincidentally, a pizza party.  It really was a coincidence, as a merger had just gone through that placed the company in far better management, allowing me to leave feeling like the place was going to be okay.  At this party, no less than five people urged me to eat more pizza because I am too skinny.

This is, of course, exactly like urging an overweight person to, hey, lay off the pizza, it’s not like you couldn’t survive for six weeks on your reserves there, buddy.  Yet I still feel the need to defend myself and say that with my metabolism, working in a 110 degree warehouse for eight hours a day, five days a week is in itself one hell of a weight-loss regimen, however involuntary.  I really think that by next summer it would have become a health concern.  Plus, given the nature of this town, everybody probably thinks that I’m on methamphetamine.

I’m not.  I mean, I think we all know I’m not exactly DEA material here, but drugs are one thing and poison is quite another.

At any rate, I plan to return to regular posting once some sort of equilibrium is established.  Other details I can offer:  my car died.  For good this time.  She and I had a good long run, but all things come to an end.  I traded down for a bicycle, which is a pretty radical shift and helpful for cultivating that eco-green-hippie-hipster image that absolutely no one in Texas is so crazy about.  Hopefully that’s how you can know I’m sincere.  I’ve also done volunteer work for the first time.  Lastly, this place we’re moving to on Monday is a sweet one.  I’ll be back out in the country where the term neighbor only applies very loosely.  Not only that, but it’s like living in a Zen retreat; B-Dog knows what I mean, his place has that vibe too, judging from pictures.  Very, very much looking forward to that.

And as I’ve brought up the eco-hippie thing, check this out.  I believe we’re going to go this route once we’re out there.  And sorry to beat that dead horse, but having grown up in the land of Oil and Smoke, it’s a hell of a revelation.

Let me expand on that revelation part of it for a moment, though.  I mean that almost literally; I’m not religious at all, but I’m spiritual as hell, and all this upheaval feels good and right.  It’s a path of a sort, no different from those followed by monks in monasteries.  Every aspect of the transition, including the new job I’m about to start, has simply fallen into place, only requiring me to not be lazy and shiftless and reach out.  As I believe my posting patterns bear out, that’s a problem with me.  Still, I gave ample notice at work, ample notice to the apartment, planned everything out, budgeted the available monies in such a manner to carry it all off without a hitch.  To a normal person it’s business as usual; for me it’s nothing short of glorious triumph.

The universe, and I literally, honestly believe this, made a way for me, and it seemed to me nothing short of blasphemous to shirk the walking.  I know it sounds corny, and perhaps even narcissistic, but think back on your own life when you were pursuing something that you knew at the deepest core of your being was the Right Thing To Do, and see if you can remember the world opening up.  Not so much the things you had power over, but the things that you didn’t.  It’s when the outside forces align with you that you know you’re onto something.  Luck, sort of.  Roughly.

And given the job that I’ve accepted, that all this is for, literally a childhood dream job, it only strengthens my conviction that this is all in accordance with…something.  Will, Tao, Dharma, call it what you will.  It’s there for everyone, and I’m certainly not special in the least that it’s playing out for me, particularly in that what it’s leading me to is ultimately a humble, quiet thing.  The reason it doesn’t make me special because it’s actually inescapable, for all of us, and if life disrobing before you isn’t enough to get you aroused, life can and will progress, sometimes rapidly, to beating you upside the head and in the face in order to get your attention.

Don’t think life is into S&M?  Read up on yogic or otherwise mystic philosophy sometime.  The real stuff, the old school stuff.  Life is kinky as fuck.  They not only actually believe that existence is basically Divine Masturbation, but it kind of makes sense the way they explain it.

That latter (the beating about the head, not the Divine Masturbation, although that’s a beating about the head of another sort) has been how it’s had to play out with me in the past.  Let’s hope it’s different this time, because as essentially my entire life is changing, there’s a lot to lose.  When you’ve quit your job that you’ve had for a third of your life, given notice on the only place you’ve lived outside of your childhood home and let go of the concept of automobiles, it’s hard not to feel a bit apprehensive, however otherwise hopeful you might be.

Serious shit, y’all.  Can’t wait until I can tell the whole story.

Misanthropy Fuel

Allow me now to share my early morning aneurysm with you fine people.

Aww. It’s so cute when I pretend that I have readers like that.

My brother just brought my attention to an article on Gawker, and Christ I wish he hadn’t. No, I won’t source the article: am I writing a term paper for college here? No.

No, I am not.

Anyway, in this article, the results of a poll conducted among upper middle class people were reported. Said poll inquired how much income some of these families were bringing in, and then it asked whether or not they felt “poor”. Did you ever think someone who brings in three quarter of a million dollars a year could feel poor? WHY YES THEY CAN, ACTUALLY. “So, so poor,” actually. Allow me now to bring your attention to those little marks before the first ‘So’ and after the word ‘poor’? That means it’s a quote. That means it’s their own words.

THEIR OWN MOTHERFUCKING WORDS. THEIR. OWN. WORDS. I don’t mean to treat my readers as stupid by getting this point across with a blunt object to the head, but the idea that a person bringing in such an income could be mistaken as to their own prosperity, that a full grown and university educated adult could not know what poor actually means, that they would be so ignorant as to declare it publically…all of this requires that I relay this to you with as much clarity as possible, else it would seem like hyperbole on my part rather than on theirs. That would be the natural conclusion, wouldn’t it? Nobody could be that ignorant, right?

Ah, but one of them anticipated that us in the unwashed masses would react with a confused mix of disbelief, mirth and rage, and so they kindly broke down their monthly income for us: you see, when you take a closer look, you’ll clearly see that they’re really only making a measly $11k a month, and that after expenses against that $11k, there’s only a paltry $4k or so left as disposable income. What’s more, they referred to us naysayers as “haters”, effectively rendering their breakdown of their finances into a mathematical variant of the white trash standard: “YOU DON’T KNOW ME!!!”

See, the problem lies in the fact that their woeful inability to buy a new private island every month doesn’t exactly get at my heartstrings, being that their disposable income per month is more than double my ENTIRE income in a month. That is, on its face, blatantly, nakedly NOT poverty. It isn’t. How they feel is immaterial, this is nothing to do with emotion; there has been delineated both by formal government legislation and informal societal consensus a state known as poverty. There are qualifiers to said state, and anyone lacking those qualifiers does not live in said state. That’s it. And no, absurd senses of entitlement are not a qualifier.

It’s a classic case of rationalization: despite what they say, they don’t feel “poor”. They think they do, but they do not. So what is it? Well, it’s that they know people – a boss, a neighbor, a relative, perhaps – that make significantly more money than them, and being shallow and materialistic, they are consumed by jealousy and feelings of inferiority because those guys own twelve summer houses on four continents while they must content themselves with only having three on two. In short, they feel GREEDY, not poor. Absurd senses of entitlement are not a qualifier.

This paragraph is a late edit, as this just came to me a minute ago, but there’s also a pervasive and widespread victim mentality involved here.  Their sentiment, honestly expressed, would be:  yes, I am so cash that my blue blood has turned green, but I’d sure like some more money.  It wasn’t honestly expressed, however.  They are objectively not poor, and yet they claimed they felt this way.  Your loving author/father figure has labored in a Herculean fashion through the embolisms and broken monitors and cognitive dissonance and discovered that in this case, what they mean by “poor” is more like “poor me”.

Remember how I said how my gross monthly income is less than their net? Now, do you want to ask me if I myself feel poor? I mean, I must, right? Here, I’ll do it for you:

Hey, do you feel poor? I mean, you don’t drive a Rolls, your apartment isn’t carpeted with the soft, pliant skin of slain Union workers, and hell, I bet you never, ever have enough money to afford that new high-end champagne that’s made from the blood of Southeastern Asian slave girlboys who turned 18 and were rendered useless to their clients! It’s quite piquant. Why, if I couldn’t afford it, I’d be quite vexed. Could you imagine? Quelle embarras! Je cacher sous un rock*!

No, I don’t feel poor. That guy who rides up and down my street on a bicycle that asks me for change now and then and clearly has nowhere to lay his head? That guy’s poor. Yes. That guy’s poor, and we need to rise up and kill our upper middle classes with fucking nuclear winter Wrath of God fucking globally cataclysmic apocalype hellfire, apparently.

But really, what does this say about our society? Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems from where I’m at that a person laboring under such unfathomable ignorance and greed and selfishness is literally and objectively useless on any level deeper than the superficial. Such a person cannot be a good spouse. Such a person cannot be a good parent, citizen or friend. It’s not possible. They have absolutely no perspective on themselves as people, nor their place in society, and likewise they entirely lack an appreciation of their good fortune; it may actually be literally impossible to be more ungrateful. Everything such a person does comes from a state of thorough selfishness and delusion, and thus everything they do, everything that comes from them, is tainted from the start. What passes for their love is surely conditional and subservient to not being defied or put out by its object. The wisdom they pass onto their children is the worst, deepest, most pernicious kind of lie: the kind that comes from such blindness to reality that it’s mistaken as truth. Ultimately, a person so lacking in any kind of knowledge of themselves cannot offer anything to anyone, because they cannot know themselves at all, much less what they might have to offer.

There is, basically, no feasible way that such people can do anything but make the worlds they move in worse and worse, eventually dying and leaving nothing behind but damage that they literally are incapable of taking responsibility for. Their children will come up even worse, too. They, like their parents, will mistake “respectability” for good, greed for need, and they will forever be ungrateful for the security they take for granted and that so many others will never know in their lifetimes.

The Hindus believe that humanity is now living through the Kali Yuga, the end of their cyclical model of time, as well as its darkest point. During this Yuga, the world’s depravity and perversity grows and grows until it collapses on itself, leveling the field for the subsequent golden age that will replace it. From my understanding – which is admittedly not perfect, I am not an expert by any stretch of that word, much as these people are not poor – they meant exactly this. That’s not to say I’m vouching for the absolute truth of the existence of the Yugas, but reading shit like this does kind of make you wish it were true, if only because it would mean this idiocy is on a clock.

That’s a good point to close on: these people, at least to me, are so repugnant, so degenerated, so deeply and irretrievably wrong-headed that it actually seems like we do need some sort of apocalypse to fix it. What else could suffice? Once we as a people are this far gone, nothing’s left but to swipe all the pieces from the board in a fit of godly outrage, go back into monkey mode for a while, and start the fuck over.

And okay, I relent.  Here’s the source.

Please take note of Gawker’s use of the phrase ‘class rage’. No other response to this essay or their article is appropriate. Coming as I do from such a background that even making a quarter million a year rather than the three quarter reported above would be thoroughly life-changing down to the very core of my being, Gawker’s excellent article rendered me pretty much blind with it.

Sorry for ruining your day. Thank you for reading.

*:  A study that I and a friend of mine read a few years ago (the source of which is long lost) found that actual rich people, like reeeeeally rich people, don’t act like this.  Actual rich people, in their habits and ideas, have much more in common with the working class, and it’s only milquetoast douchebag upper middle class wannabe rich people that model their social behavior on Thurston and Eunice “Lovey” Howell.  It makes a lot of sense when you consider how essential utilitarianism is to both lifestyles.  Think about it:  while you spent three hours in the wine aisle googling wine on your iPhone to find the perfect bottle of merlot for your swank dinner party because you think somebody in a movie once said merlot is really good, Steve Jobs was building a sprawling dungeon in China in order to make as many of his employees commit suicide as possible.  Would you do that?  No, you would not, you’d fall back onto your fainting couch and opine on how terrible that is.  In fact, once your feeble, quailing heart had recovered, you’d twitter from your iPhone about how terrible it is, congenitally oblivious to irony as you are.  As you can see, there’s a lot to say on this, and it deserves its own essay eventually.