Money Where My Mouth Is

I’m experiencing something of a tight cash flow situation at the moment. Hopefully it’s only temporary and I’ll be back on my feet soon, but at the moment I’m decidedly short-wadded. I’m not sure if I’m going to make rent. I definitely won’t be going grocery shopping any time soon, a sad fact that led me to – I shit you not – eat a large chunk of cheddar cheese earlier today like t’were an apple. Money doesn’t live here anymore.

It’s not the first time I’ve been in this situation and it likely won’t be the last. It’s easy to look at the comparative emptiness of one’s wallet and conclude that, yeah, money is bullshit, but the more I think about it the more I’m glad money exists, as a premise. If we had an old-fashioned bartering system, such as might have been employed in medieval England, I’d be fucked. I have no skills to offer, no trade to ply. I’d end up giving out blowjobs.

You might imagine that, were we to return to a simpler means of keeping a roof over one’s head and food in one’s belly, I might actually do well. I’m a writer, after all. Well, guess again – in this day and age, everybody can write. It’s not like ancient Egypt where you had to walk to the local writing pyramid and ask a guy to write your shopping list for you. People can get that shit done themselves these days. What’s more, people are talented liars. They don’t need the likes of me to make shit up and write it down for them.

So, regrettably, I’d have to make my way through life by sucking cock. I acknowledge this, and I’ve made peace with it. Fortunately we haven’t arrived at that point as a society, and we’re unlikely to reinstate such a barter system unless something catastrophic were to happen, such as a Fallout-style nuclear apocalypse. But I know my value as a person. I know how much I contribute to society.

You always hear about people “failing upwards” – people who are woefully inept at their jobs, but who inexplicably get promoted into executive-level jobs. I always wanted to be one of those people. I worked tirelessly to become the sort of person who does just enough to keep him from getting fired, but not enough to actively contribute to a work environment. When I was made Project Coordinator at Disney I thought, “Yes, Ben. This is where the dream will come true.” It was fitting, in a way. Then the 2008 market crash happened, and suddenly I’m out on the street again. Back to square one, where I’ve been ever since.

I still believe people can fail upwards. Mitt Romney is living proof of that – a man with the business sense of a meringue, who is now a Presidential nominee. If he can become a viable candidate for the most powerful position in the world, then surely I can become an ineffectual executive for a large multi-national corporation. Surely I can hold the sort of job with an important-sounding title, but in which nobody actually knows what, if anything, I actually do (which is nothing).

That is the American dream. It’s what brought me to this country. It’s what’s kept me afloat during these rocky times. Some day, I will make my dream come true.

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