I sit down to write with little focus, my digital tunes on random shuffle to provide inspiration, Sonic Youth crashing together on “Kool Thing,” its “K” representing the oppressive rampancy of racism and illiteracy and who knows what else in Gordon and Kim’s collective mind.
Let’s quickly recap the evolution of my political leanings, which are inextricably linked with my evolving personal financial situation. Slayer’s “Born of Fire.”
In high school, my family was rather poor. Sometimes we were OK, and sometimes we were broke. I wanted more money without actually working for it, like most Americans. However, I had an understanding that working brought income and the ability to buy the Polo shirts and Guess jeans that girls seemed to like. So I worked, delivering pizza and doing other odd jobs, and I registered as a Republican at age 18.
It would take me years to officially undo this gem of teenage naïveté. We didn’t always have the Internet, you know.
Ralph Tresvant’s “Sensitivity.” Don’t need a man that’ll give you money. Not my experience, Ralph. Sounds like something a poor guy would say.
In college, under the influence of the liberal cooing metastasized by old brick buildings and leafy walkways, I scorned all things flashy and capitalistic. I wrote poems and traded Dead tapes, as if to prove the barter system could yet replace the gnashing economic gears of our modern times. I was too jaded to become a Democrat, too lazy to denounce my Republican status, too wary of Labels to align myself with the motley unwashed Independents. I hated money, because I assumed I would never be rich. And, of course, because the rich guys always got the girl I wanted.
In hindsight, my perception was clouded. Money has less to do with everything than people think, which is what every grown-up tries to tell us as we’re growing up. But let us not forget how tightly interwoven are the concepts of financial and romantic (and political) desire. Jane’s Addiction, “Been Caught Stealing.”
I floundered early in my career, but my disdain for the wealthy abated the more I realized that I wanted the comforts they so haphazardly possessed. “Love Is All Around” by Hüsker Dü. My Nespresso machine is the crowning achievement of my pre-kids life; it brings me great happiness. It wasn’t even that expensive. Judge away, my tiny readership.
I’m working on my taxes. We pay taxes when we make money, and we live in a society that, despite all our grumbling, does a pretty good job of taking care of us. I like roads and services and public schools (even if they suck, it’s better to have them than not to), so I’ve got no beef with paying taxes. Maybe I’m just trying to break a stereotype. Maybe I’m just getting soft in my middle age.
Or maybe I’ve simply fumbled my way into the truth, that it’s easy not to worry about money when you have a little. Yet money truly doesn’t matter. Says the guy with a little money. So money matters. But don’t let it rule your life. Unless your life is miserable because you don’t have any money. Just make a little bit more money than your neighbor. But don’t talk about it.
Never, ever talk about money. Especially on the Internet.