Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Thank You Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin
Look, there's no good way for me to say this, so I'll just say it. I'm poor.
Not "Internet" poor. Every blogger has a tipjar. They make six figures and have a sinecure and still beg for money. It's unseemly. I'm poorer than people on welfare.
My wife and I often say that we are the only people in the United States that have only one problem: We have no money. Everyone else thinks that if they had more money they'd be happy. They're wrong. There is only one problem money solves, and that is a lack of money. If you have lots of problems and then get lots of money, you just end up with a bigger budget to fund your problems.
I read a comment at another site that had linked to one of my essays, and someone remarked that I was a great writer and should "bite the bullet" and write full time. They meant it as a compliment, and that's the way I took it. But I can't help but notice that it would never occur to people that I have a mouth full of bullets already. I poop bullets. People just can't imagine that you could work hard and be intelligent at the same time and still have no money. It's very strange sometimes for my wife and I to be told that we do not -- we could not -- exist.
Everyone is poor where we live. You could walk up to any address in town with a suitcase with $75 grand or so and tell the occupants to scram and they'd leave the dinner on the table. We are only conspicuous here because we do not live in squalor. We're married to each other, my wife takes care of our kids, and I work. That makes us a freakshow. We do not take methadone and have four children with three last names and we don't call 911 every other day to sort out our arguments and we don't crash into trees and die while texting on bath salts. That puts us in Bigfoot and Nessie territory.
It hurts me to admit all this because there's a fetish for the obverse of Thorstein Veblen's conspicuous consumption abroad in the land. Everyone's all Four Yorkshiremen now. We have it rough. I do not wish to be conspicuously poor. I am trying to make our current state of affairs nothing more than an amusing anecdote for my memoirs. But I have to provide context, or no one's going to understand what I'm about to say.
My wife and I walk together most every day. Just a turn around the neighborhood, maybe a mile or so. We talk about things then. Well, we were counting our last pesos aloud during one of our walks last week. Things seemed peculiarly pecuniarily pungent. We were at a loss as to what to do, as we sometimes are. When we returned from our walk, there was an extra fifty bucks in my Amazon account. Fifty bucks is like five thousand bucks to us.
I have an Amazon box on the sidebar, and feature Amazon links on the page here and there. If you enter Amazon through any of those links, and then you buy anything, I get a small referral fee. It doesn't cost the buyer anything. There is no way for me to know who is buying things through my Amazon box. In a way, it's more pleasant that I don't know, so that I can imagine it might be anyone and everyone that visits here. It's always welcome when it turns up, but right there, it was like a sign. It was a sign that the universe wasn't malignant. It was a sign that someone was trying to help us.
I have to admit I'm poor, so that everyone that buys a copy of my book, or a piece of furniture, or buys something on Amazon through my links understands how very profoundly grateful I am for every last penny of it.