Thursday, March 15, 2012
Money doesn't solve everything. I know that, but I can't stop thinking that it does anyway. Maybe a therapist could remind me that money doesn't solve everything... if I could afford one.
But money isn't the path to happiness! That's easy enough to see. Just go to a really expensive restaurant, and look around. All you'll see are couples in expensive-looking clothes, sipping $80 bottles of Sauvignon Blanc and glaring at each other without speaking. If I could afford to go to a really expensive restaurant, I'd sit there, savoring a tasty butternut squash gnocci or a lovely halibut steak, and I'd look around and remind myself that money isn't the path to happiness, no sir!
Life is short, that's the thing. You really have to live in the moment. I learned that from my life insurance agent, who encouraged me to seize the day by lying on my insurance application, claiming that my father died of natural causes at age 71, when he really died of a heart attack at age 56. Because life was particularly short for my father, the insurance company might guess that my life will be short, too, which means my policy will be very, very expensive. It's too bad, because I'd like leave my daughter plenty of money (with a note in my will, of course, making it clear to her that money doesn't solve everything and isn't the path to happiness), but to do that, I'm going to have to spend a lot of money, money that I don't have.
But hey, there's no such thing as a free lunch, and even if there were, it wouldn't make all your problems go away. You might be a little bit less hungry, but unless there was also a free breakfast, a free dinner, and a free life insurance policy coming your way, what difference would it make?
Besides, you could win the lottery tomorrow, and still be unhappy. I hope you do win the lottery tomorrow, in fact, just so I can tell you "I told you so" when you run around spending money and having fun with lots of nice wine and fancy cars and beautiful clothes that fit well and high-class hookers and high-grade cocaine. I'll laugh in your face when I see you, all tanned and relaxed from your weekend in Lake Cuomo, Italy, where you stayed up late dancing with George Clooney and some Argentinian pro soccer players and a Moroccan prince and some heads of state. Sure, you'll act like everything is going really well, but I'll see right through your facade. In a few years -- maybe 20 or so -- you'll get bored with all of the great food and the hot girls, you'll start to get depressed whenever you see the sun set over the Mediterranean sea or hear the faint pop of champagne corks in the distance. You probably won't know me by then, since I can hardly afford to meet you for coffee, let alone fly to Belize at a moment's notice, but if you did know me, you'd look to me for comfort and wisdom, and I'd chuckle softly and say, "Yep, I knew you'd take a hard fall sooner or later. In your case, later. But still. Money doesn't solve everything, buddy. Wish it did, but it doesn't."
Tuesday, March 06, 2012
My brain is turning to Jello. What should I do about this?
I also think that lawn gnomes are plotting against me. I see them everywhere, and they always seem to be staring at me.
Perhaps I shouldn't have had that last meatball.
It's true, you shouldn't have had that last meatball. It contained a probe designed by the conspiring lawn gnomes, or technically, Lawn Gnomes Against White Urban Professional Males. You see, lawn gnomes have, for years, suffered the oppressive stares of white urban professional males in silence, not wanting to bite the hand that feeds. One day, an elite marionette escaped from an elderly matron's home in Pasadena and organized the lawn gnomes nationwide. Although he was not, technically, one of them, the marionette had spent 20 years in the matron's library, slogging through The Communist Manifesto and other seminal texts, and recognized that the gnomes were inhabitants of primarily lower-middle-class neighborhoods, and could, therefore, safely conspire against upper-middle-class professionals without feeling that they were striking out against their keepers.
And even if they did hurt their own keepers, the marionette told the gnomes, aren't all landowners just a part of the modern urban serfdom, the high capitalist patriarchy we each tolerate without question, kneeling on our little stools, gazing into the middle distance as petunias tickle our elbows? Fuck the man, with his high-nitrogen lawn fertilizers that make our little gnome eyes sting! Fuck him, with his incessant wasteful watering, and his army of poorly paid Mexican immigrants, armed with angry leaf blowers that burn fossil fuels and pollute the environment! Fuck him with his enormous car, big enough to provide shelter for a small community of gnomes! That's right! An entire community of gnomes could flourish in his car! A community of mobile gnomes!
The marionette was a rousing speaker, indeed. And although the gnomes didn't really understand the part about urban serfdoms and high capitalism and patriarchs, they did really like the idea of mobile gnomes. They'd always felt something was missing from their lives, something vague and difficult to put into words. Maybe the real crime of modern life was that gnomes were no longer mobile! Gnomes ought to be mobile, after all! In days of old, gnomes roamed the land freely! No one is sure, but they probably did. Anyway, they didn't merely sit on toadstools for weeks, months, years without so much as a stroll around the neighborhood!
The marionette wasn't pleased with this Mobile Gnome Initiative, and he came to regret mentioning that part about the SUV housing a whole herd of gnomes. The gnomes were to rise up and take down the man first, then they could roam freely! But the gnomes disagreed, so he broke with them and concentrated his energies on his speaking tour, which brought in astronomical fees and freed up more of his time for acting classes. Acting was his true passion, after all - all of this proletariat shit was just a sideline gig.
At any rate, Kevin, I'm guessing you have some variety of SUV in your driveway, which is why the gnomes fed you that meatball with the probe in it. The first reported symptoms of the probe include nausea, dizziness, and a feeling that one's brain is "turning to Jello."
Soon, I'm afraid, the probe will control your brain. Using a small laptop, the gnomes will program you to drive them across the country this summer (their preferred touring season), stopping occasionally at historical landmarks and Dairy Queens. The gnomes enjoy Southern Utah in particular, and are often spotted on some of the lower-impact hikes in Bryce Canyon and at Arches National Park.
If you wake up in a few weeks in a Dairy Queen in Iowa with some chocolate-dipped cones and chili-cheese fries in your hands, far more than you can reasonably consume by yourself, you'll know that it's over, that the gnomes have won.
Best of luck!
(Reprinted from The Rabbit Blog: Tuesday, June 01, 2004)