The Proof is in The Pudding. There’s a Dollar on My Debit

I hate being poor. No. . . that’s not entirely true. . . I LOATHE being poor. . . In all the time I’ve been wandering around the face of our earth, I have done so with very little to “line my pockets”. STILL not entirely true (I should have actually thought this intro out a little before writing it) There have been “moments” in which I was able to “stay on top” of my finances. There was that one time in ’98, when I had 3 jobs. But I don’t remember much about that period in my life. Seems Sleep Deprivation and “Insanely Large Quantities of Alcohol” can play “little games” with your memory. I do kind of remember being an empty shell of a human being (as opposed to the robust and vibrant existence I now enjoy. *cough -cough* excuse me) So one would naturally assume, (c’mon. . . TRY) NOW that I am a little more “on top of my GAME“, things should naturally “Fall Into Place”. . . right?
. . . I mean. . . It’s been around 10 years. . .  I have a FAMILY. . . I’ve got a JOB. . . I finally MADE IT to California (woo-flippin’-hoo) . . . the AMERICAN DREAM! . . . RIGHT?. . . (have you read me before?) I’m gonna’ need to backtrack a bit to something I wrote a couple weeks ago. When “I” find myself guiltiest of repeating behaviors that ultimately net a result landing it in the “What Were You Thinking?” Department it is, more often than not, because of a decision I made about. . . MONEY. Never being one that ever HAS any, doesn’t seem to stop me from making monumentally HUGE mistakes with it, when I “Have a couple bucks”. There are people out there that say:
“Live Every Day As If It Were Your Last”. . .

“WOW”,  I say to the person offering this bit of advice to me, “. . . That is probably the most PROFOUNDLY RETARDED ‘bit of advice’ I’ve EVER heard in my LIFE. . . and you might want to check your fly, Kumquat“.

You see, I USED to live that way. . . When I was single. . . Can’t really subscribe to that school of thought when you have a wife and kids to think about. You see; Criminals, Gamblers, Alcoholics, Drug Addicts, Politicians, CELEBRITIES, People with NO SOULS. . .
  and people that write checks at PAYDAY ADVANCE places think that way. They don’t think about the CONSEQUENCES of their actions. They very rarely seem to think what the repercussions of their decisions will entail to those around them. . . I’m actually doing it right now as I write this. . . If I don’t start “Making With The Funny”, you will more than likely find some MINDLESS DRIVEL to read. . . So let me share a recent conversation with you. . .
The Setting:
My Kitchen last weekend. . .

“Do you want anything for Breakfast?” I asked my youngest. (before actually perusing the contents of our kitchen cabinets to see if I REALLY had anything to offer her)
“What is there?” she asked innocently, looking to me with her big blue eyes -piercing my heart (which was sinking fast, as I realized I might have enjoyed the last “Toaster Strudel” the night before)
“Uhm. . ,” I replied, now turning to rifle through the cabinets. Frantically looking for anything that might resemble “Breakfast Food Stuffs”. (why do people say Food Stuffs? What does that even MEAN?)
My daughter stood there, arms “semi-patiently” crossed, and peered around my legs. She could notice my obvious frustration mounting, as she dodged empty cereal boxes and wrappers being hurled over my shoulders amid my fruitless search. (we also had no fruit)
After giving me about a minute, my 5 year old asked, “Did you check the fridge?”
. . . The FRIDGE! Of Course. I was sure there was SOMETHING edible in THERE. . .
I now refocused my efforts on the refrigerator. Looking in every drawer, behind every container of “week-old leftovers”, in the butter and egg compartments. . . finally. . . the CRISPER yielded the lone suitable sustenance that I could offer her. . . A cup of pudding. . . and LUCKY US. . . it hadn’t “expired”. (The FDA doesn’t tell you, those expiration dates are merely “consumption guidelines”. More of a “suggestion”, really). . .

So what “Mistakes” have I been making with my money?. . . That’s the FUNNY part. . . NONE. . .
(couldn’t find Barry & Levon on Youtube)

. . . There just isn’t ENOUGH of it to go around.  (Money, not pudding) But I CAN point to a couple things that might land me in the “Questionable Call” Department. (Which is the second door on the left and down the hall from the “What Were You Thinking?” Department)

  1. “Rent-to-Own Appliances” Billed as “One Stop Shopping” to those with “less than stellar” credit, I recently PAID OFF the very refrigerator I was just referring to. The practice of “leasing” home furnishings may sound inviting to those that can’t plunk down a thousand dollars on an item that should have already come with the “Luxury Home” that they are ALSO renting. I mean, a hundred dollars a month isn’t much. . . right? That may be true, but when you extend that hundred dollars a month over the entire length of your RENTAL AGREEMENT. . . well, let’s just say you’ve just paid roughly FIFTY-EIGHT THOUSAND DOLLARS (plus all applicable taxes and surcharges) for a refrigerator now in desperate need of repair. It was funny. When I made the final payment on the fridge, the “Associate” ringing up the payment scared the crap out of me. Upon handing me my receipt and the OFFICIAL DOCUMENTATION stating I was now to consider myself the PROUD OWNER of a refrigerator I didn’t want anymore, he turned around and RANG A BELL. . . A LARGE Dinner-type bell (like from old westerns, ya’ know? . . . COME AND GET IT!) Immediately upon him doing so, EVERYONE in the store turned to see what was going on. People ‘sharing’ the managerial office immediately came out and offered me a round of applause. Visibly shaken by this, I waited for confetti and balloons to fall from the ceiling. . . It creeped me out. . . I’m STILL paying off our washer and dryer. . .
  2. “Cable Television/Telephone/Internet” They like to offer these services in a “Bundle”.  “It seems enticing at first glance. One Bill. One Payment. When you initially sign up, they even give you a “Special Offer” – a Reduced Rate for signing a One Year Contract. . . the rate is “Subject to Change at ANY TIME WITHOUT ADVANCED WARNING“, but you needn’t concern yourself with that minor detail, until your bill drops the following month. Then you realize the “Bundle” will now COST you a BUNDLE. At which point, they also inform you that you are to pay 2 months in advance to stay “CURRENT” and avoid “SERVICE DISRUPTION”. Now you are “locked into” a contract with SATAN. . . you cannot go back to your previous services, because when you cancelled them you “Burned Bridges” by telling them to, “Shove it up their Collective Butts”. . . and you may have also “accidentally” forgotten to pay the bills left OUTSTANDING with their “Collective Butts”. (not so outstanding anymore, huh?)
  3. “Student Loans” A DIABOLICAL SCAM perpetrated by those, who have NO desire for you to “SUCCEED in LIFE”. I signed up for my first “set” of these at the tender age of 18. At the age of 18 they can get you to sign just about anything. I think I signed something stating the government could also KILL ME during a “TIME of WAR” at that age as well. But at age 18, I was in a REAL hurry to “Become an Adult”. What says “Adult” more than amassing a UNPAYABLE DEBT? What did “I” care? I was going to be making Eighty Thousand Dollars a year upon graduation. . . It would be fine. I have NEVER made Eighty Thousand Dollars a year. . . I’m not sure I’ve made that much since college. I would have been better off living off of my parents for a few more years. . . I said “I” would have been better off, not THEM. I recently paid off those debts. (I’m 39 years old) But, having fallen for it again in my Early Thirties, I decided to go back to school and make myself MORE MARKETABLE. . . (I’ll remind you, I am a Public School Bus Driver)I will more than likely pass those NEW student loan payments on to my children when I DIE. . .  I think there needs to be a MASS OVERHAUL to the Financial Aid and Student Loan Institutions. If you don’t get the job you want upon graduation (or at least within the first year) the Federal Government should incur the debt. At the very least, the school you should attend should offer you a REFUND. . . I mean, what are you paying for, if you GRADUATE and no one wants to hire you? GUARANTEED STUDENT LOANS? How about GUARANTEED STUDENT JOBS? Maybe COLLEGES would “Step it Up” a little, if they were being held accountable. All I really learned from my first school was how to drink a LOT of booze. . . I did REALLY WELL at that school.
  4. “Electricity” Oh, sure. . . Most would consider this item a NECESSITY. By all accounts, they would be correct. A family living in “This Day and Age”, most likely would find it very difficult to survive in a world free of ELECTRICALLY-ENHANCED Devices. I know that in a house filled with children it is IMPOSSIBLE. . . Unless you are AMISH. . . I’m thinking of becoming AMISH. . . but then I couldn’t share THIS crap with you. . . and you would miss that, wouldn’t you? (just smile and nod) oh, there’s also the whole needing “Heat” and “Hot Water” thing.
  5. “Debt-Collection Agencies” The Most Despicably Disgusting and Unfeeling People on the Face of the Earth (next to John Edwards, Jesse James & Tiger Woods – or any other married man, that can’t seem to keep it together) I cannot count the number of times that these “people” have decided to interrupt a “quiet family dinner”, only to RUIN the evening, by making me feel GUILTY for not giving them MONEY. I can barely choke down my frozen dinner, after the call. They make sure I “know” (in NO uncertain terms) that I should NOT be sharing a “Hungry Man” with my two sons, because I owe “Company X” approximately the same amount of money that I will be spending for a Year’s Supply of “Hungry Men”. How DARE I try to feed my children! I have been known to tell the “Collection Agenies” to ALSO shove it up their “Collective Collecting Butts”. . . to mixed results. . . usually they hang up and tell another person (around the corner from their cubical in India) to call me back. . . about 2 minutes after I “settle back in” to finish the Hungry Man with my boys. They usually save me the brownie. . . good boys.
  6. “Food” I know I just mentioned food, but I’m getting hungry. . . and so is my family. I just find it a little “strange” that the ONE commodity that we need, seems to be so PLENTIFUL in this country. Yet day after day and year after year, people go hungry. I will have to be honest here for a second. (Everything before this was apparently some sort of elaborate LIE) We don’t go hungry in my home. . . Okay, that’s not entirely true either. We’ve BEEN hungry. But we can usually manage to “scrounge” something up. However, whoever is in charge of the “Food My Kids Like” really needs to work on making it affordable. And ENOUGH of the “Cute Commercials”. . . Don’t I have enough to deal with from a “Telling My Kids ABSOLUTELY NOT” Standpoint with the “Toy Commercials”? . . . NICKELODEON? . . . CARTOON NETWORK? . . . I think you hear me.
So I wanted to share with you “my latest”. . . Episode 2 of my “YouTube Debut”. . . Keep in mind that not EVERYONE that is struggling out there is “White Trash”. . . I don’t consider “Us” to be “White Trash”. But, man. . . Do we LIVE AROUND SOME. . . I’m not “judging”. Come to Bakersfield and ASK on of them. . . It’s like a BADGE OF HONOR. . . 

. . . As for “ME”. . . I’m just trying to “make it through this” and earn a living for my family. I’ve spent quite a bit of time trying to muster up a following with this little “Pet Project”. It seems to be gathering a little steam and for that, I’m grateful. I’m still working on “A Book” for a prospective Publisher who has shown “considerable interest” (whatever THAT means). . . I’m still trying to get my screenplays out there for a “Would-Be” Studio. . . and “WHO KNOWS?”. . . with a little luck, I might just “Make It” yet. . . At least I’m giving it the old “College Try” (The second time I went to College, not the first. . . I don’t “do booze” anymore) That reminds me, I need to get my student loan payment sent off tomorrow. . . and I think I saw a coupon in the paper for “Jell-O Snack Packs”. . . “Brunch” will be served promptly at 10:30. . . 

. . . ‘Til Then. . . Go Figg’r!

Peace Out – Later

D A N    
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