I’m not ashamed of being broke. Let me give you a few examples of the type of ignorance I have about money, and what it buys and what it means to have money. I tried to lock my car and it would lock, but then it would unlock itself. I tried it again and then a third time. I checked my pockets and realized that my keys were in the car, when I took the keys out of the ignition I was able to lock my car. We also have an old Ford Taurus, now it has an electronic readout that says 200 miles until E. So we simply figured that it was not working right and that could not possibly be as many miles until the next oil change because that number always went up when we put gas in the tank.
I’ll let that sink in for a minute. Okay if you have not put it together yet that has nothing at all to do with oil changes that tells you how many miles you can drive until you run out of gas. I’ll use the Ford Taurus as a search term and perhaps someone searching on it who was as clueless as I was will come across this article. See I never had much in life, and I never wanted much. My old man worked two and a half jobs so he could have three Cadillacs that were not very reliable. The transmission went out precisely at 70,000 miles as it did for any other automobile that was built in the early eighties. The ride was smooth but the embarrassment was not the Cadillacs or what he had to do to get those cars.
The embarrassment was when the other kids in school were able to go to France and I could not go because we did not have the money to pay tuition for that school anyway. I was there because of scholarships and grants. I am talking about a junior high school. I ran around, or tried to run around, with kids that were upper middle class and we were barely out of poverty. I always thought that we were doing okay until I would visit someone’s farm or see someone’s mansion with 20 rooms, a third of which were never used. I always thought that we were okay until I saw someone’s circular driveway, and when I got into fashion, realized that someone was wearing Ralph Lauren before anyone in the ‘hood ever knew what it was.
I lost focus on what was important in life. So I ran up charges on credit cards and spent entirely too much time at Factory Outlet stores. I ended up with a lot of friends that wore the same clothes but they did not to do the same thing that I was doing. We had nothing in common but we looked the same because we had the same uniform. They were chasing an image I grew up with before I was a teenager and had any realization of what it meant. My Polo was old and faded, frayed, collars and seams undone. Theirs was in pristine condition because they were afraid to wash it and one even took his to the dry cleaner and put holes in the material.
It was nothing but expensive cotton, but at the time you could not tell me that. Then I think back on my life. I could not even stay in a psychiatric ward but for a season because of the money. People commit suicide because of the money, they kill their brother because of the money, their girl sells them out for some other dude because they do not have enough money. It is all ridiculous to me, money comes and goes, I try to do the best that I can with it but I always know that there is more where it came from. I do not necessarily know where it is going to come from, or even if I am in the right state of mind to go after it, but it is always there. These were the messages I was always left with, “well you have made a fine mess for yourself, now you will never have any money”, “why would you want to do this that costs money”, “how much money is that again, I would not take that chance if I were you”, I paraphrase of course as that is what I took away from the remarks. Playing it safe, never taking any risks, never taking any losses because you were afraid of the risks. So I do not know how to go in full throttle, I am afraid to embarrass myself, afraid to expose myself and afraid of, well, my own frailty. Yet in being safe I feel as though I have never truly lived.
There is always something that you can do. There are always more hours that you can work, expenses that you can cut back on, a second job that you can pick up, grants and scholarships so that you can go to school, tax incentives, opportunities to open up businesses or opportunities to exceed at familiar paths that have worked for everyone before if money really means that much to you. There are other, unethical, unsavory means to go about getting money as well that you will need the fortitude to be able to live with yourself and the self control to turn your conscious off if you are interested in that as well. People who never had any money do not want to know how much money people run through popping pills and paying for stuff they have no business paying for. Your kids are hellions and lost, and they are expecting for you to pay for them to go to a nice school. They throw away everything you thought you instilled in them by dealing with someone who does not have anything going for them at all in their life.
In life there is always someone making that sacrifice so that someone else does not have to go through what they went through. Yet everyone needs to go through something in order to say that they have lived and that they know what it means to be at the bottom. That humility is what will keep you alive, and what will prevent you from committing suicide and killing everyone in your household because you are afraid of doing time in federal prison because you cannot pay your taxes to the IRS, or whatever the case may be. Money is not there for anyone to keep and hoard, not there for anyone to be stingy and refuse to give out to someone else. If you were able to get it one time, you will be able to get it again. You do not have to be smart to come across money, you do not need any special skills, though skills may prevent you from loosing money in the future. Money is a fact of life, the way that it is, what will always be with us whether it is an RFID chip implanted inside of us, that green stuff we are familiar with or some electronic card that may as well be that RFID chip.
Is money your God, well a lot of what influences you and the media that you take in seems to suggest that it should be. I have heard artists talk about money, how they worship it, what they will do to get it, how they were a nobody when they did not have it, and so on and so forth that I am immune to such talk. I do not even recognize it anymore, and it does not “phase” me. Well then yes, if money is your God I guess I would kill myself without it because technically that would suggest that I have sinned if I am without. That would tell me that I am worthless, and of no worth to the God that I serve, and I may as well be dead without it. I have never known such a God; I have heard people that claim to know God get upset when they talk about money because they do not want to give it away but I have never heard such a thing.
When you do not have any money you are closer to the evil. You have to do things that no man should do in order to get it. When you have money you can hire someone else to do those nasty things for you in that your hands may remain clean. You can hide behind a corporation and well paid lawyers and let them explain why the people who work for you are doing what they do. I know what people who have money really think about the rest of us. I know what their attitudes towards us are, what things they would never do. I know how they “get down”.
For those who still think it is a Black thing or a White thing keep in mind that is all a bunch of rhetoric put in front of you in that you may never realize what life is really about. We can talk about what happened and about glass ceilings and what someone else will allow you to have but at some point in time we need to talk about what we can with what we do have. There isn’t anything we can do about the glass ceilings, and quite honestly, why are you looking through that ceiling in the first place if you aren’t helping out those that are around you. Can you honestly say that you want that money to help someone else out, or do you want it to say that you have as much money as they do? What are we really talking about here? Those who claim it is a Jewish, Christian or Muslim thing see what they want to see, money corrupts everyone when they put it before what they claim to believe in. Everyone treats this money the same and everyone is affected the same way when they come into this money. We already had a deep mistrust of each other and money just brings that out of us, it amplifies it. But we should not be so naive to think that everything is roses with everyone else because they seem to be more “well off” than we are. For the rest of us at the bottom, we will never get past those major sins and that is what will continue to oppress us, because we cannot keep ourselves in check. But do not think that those who already have money are not enjoying what you wish you could afford to do in a greater capacity.
Popular culture is not some invention in the sky in a dark closet in a high place somewhere. It is how you get money, and more precisely, how you keep it. If popular culture becomes too intelligent, and asks too much of people all of the money will be lost because people will finally comes to their senses and realize that they do not need all of this in order to be happy. I used to be angry because corporations and individuals exploited popular culture for money, but then I realized, that you would stupid to be around it and not try to make a few bucks for yourself. After all it is hard enough as it is in this world to allow opportunities to pass you by. See how easy it is to become unethical I was onto something good but then my mind changed gears that quickly. This is how people that have money think and why some always seem to have more than enough while others are barely getting by. This is a country that does not have any respect for your culture and your way of life because they want to use an elaborate marketing campaign to sell your culture and lifestyle to someone else. If Ralph Lauren’s clothes were just clothes you would not pay money to enjoy them. You need to think that you are being transported to some fabulous place because you need to have entry, you need for someone to unlock the door. If a Polo shirt is the key, then you will pay the price in order to get that key. You do not care that a million other people have the same key that you do, all you care about is yourself. This is why you see his models enjoying those fine activities that people with old money do.
We have short memories, now that we can give our money away we are more than happy to do so to those that never had to live amongst us when we were in separate neighborhoods and the bank would not give you a loan to stay where you really wanted to live at. That is why those that are just now getting money that were at the bottom are just making it up as they go along. No one taught them anything so they are just trying to fit in wherever they can fit in at. So in the end they end up representing ideas that used to belong to people that would never have anything to do with them back in the day. Yet everyone is free now because people are sick of selling to their peers and want to put out something that everyone can enjoy, not just the rich and the upper middle class. So you get bridge lines and cheap and chic labels.
This is a culture where people tell you how to live, what to expect out of life and what to think of those who cannot make it. A society that for the most part, sees anyone who cannot get money through the lens of euthanasia. Those that are struggling should be assisted, because they are never going to get it right to begin with. So we will build prisons to contain these individuals and throw money at government programs that do not help anyone at the end of the day, just enable people to put off getting ahead until the next day. Now we are in a situation where we do not know how to function as a society without those programs. States said that they were going to reform themselves and force people off of the programs in three years, five years, ten years; train them how to make a decent wage and reenter the workforce. Those programs have all failed as there aren’t any jobs to send those people to because we give them out to those that are here illegally for a pittance and send the rest of the labor overseas. Jobs that used to be respectable are now a cheap commodity, and even though you are doing something the average person does not know how to do we can hire anyone else to do it. It humors me that people think that we make as much as they do because of the problems that we know how to solve.
I could go on but this has become enough of a rant and most of you probably are not even reading this sentence. The average attention span of someone for an article online is probably two pages. The bottom line is, don’t stress over money so much. If you have enough for yourself and a little for someone else don’t worry about it. If you do not have it now you will. If you let it define you, well quite honestly, you probably never knew who you were to begin with …