Why We Fight

When I was thirteen I got about two thousand bucks for my bar mitzvah. My parents were responsible enough to insist that I invest it, but clueless enough to let me invest it however the fuck I wanted.

I don’t know what I was thinking, probably that my iMac G3 was a cool little fishtank, so I used my jewgoldz to buy a few shares of Apple Computers.

This was mid-December of 2000. Google historic share prices… then line up to rub my dick for good luck.

My mother said to me, once, that it’s not enough to retire on. But it is.

I pay $500 a month in rent. I pay $200 a month in health insurance. I pay about $10 a month to buy chain lube for my bike. That’s it.

Other expenses come up. But, like, not that many. I have to eat, I have to do the laundry. But at this rate, I could live a perfectly happy life for about the next fifty years – close to my projected life expectancy – and never work a day.

Some people would call this a fulfilling life. I am not one of them.

But I think there’s two kinds of people here. One would say that it’s not fulfilling because I live pretty minimally, nothing fancy. I don’t own a home. I don’t buy a lot of stuff. When something breaks, I fix it. When I want something new, I make it. The last trip I took was on a bicycle. This is not exactly our parents’ American Dream.

But this is basically how I choose to live. Call it minimalist, or puritanical, or stingy, or Dirty Hipster Monasticism – they’re all pretty much accurate. But listen, seriously: I have the best health care in the world, I have an internet connection, I have complete freedom, and I have the security that this life is going to continue. I think my life is better than the life of a King, an actual monarch, throughout most of human history. I’m just a dude and I’d rather be me than George III and fucked if that is not the American Dream.

I could have a billion dollars, and this is still how I’d live.

But then there’s the other sort of person, who thinks that this life is unfulfilling because it doesn’t accomplish anything. Because it’s lazy, because it’s too easy, because it’s boring.

I agree.

In part it’s a matter of temperament. I get bored really easily. I like challenge for challenge’s sake (I blame all the video games I grew up playing). And in part it’s aesthetic. I only have so many days on this earth, I want them the fuck to matter. Simple as that.

I want to build things. I want to help make something on this earth. I want to help create something, some new technology, something that allows people to do something new – or lets them do something faster, or easier, or cheaper, or just plain better. I want to solve problems. I want to be challenged as fuck. I want to work on something side-by-side with a bunch of other awesome people, because today I’m alive and one day I’ll be dead and in the interrim that is what I want to do.

I’m priveleged as fuck because I could live a happy life without ever working a single day of it. But I am THE MOST PRIVILEGED EVER because, presented with this life, I can choose to set it aside. Presented with an easy life I can choose to make it hard.

I’m still looking for such a project. I’ve been looking for a few years now. Looking has basically been my full-time occupation. Over the last five years I’ve sent out over one thousand job applications. Nada.

In the meantime I’ve worked a bunch of part-time or contract jobs, hoping they’ll open up new doors (they haven’t, because the mail room does not lead to the board room, it leads to a 10¢/hour raise to keep working in the mail room). I’ve done something like six thousand hours of volunteer work, hoping it’ll lead to something more (it hasn’t, but it’s definitely been a crash course in everything). I keep getting out there, trying to meet people, hoping to find something that I can join in on.

After a few years of being underchallenged I said a resounding Fuck It and went back to school. I’m getting my law degree, focusing on business and tech law. It’s basically the least pleasant thing in the universe, it’s slow and boring and very hands-off that’s kind of everything that I don’t like all rolled into one! But the alternative is spending the rest of my life as a lotus-eater. And I just do not want that.

With any luck it’ll pay off. It’s frustrating, sometimes it’s really frustrating, but as you can see I really have no standing to complain. And if it doesn’t work, hell, I’ll try something else. I have the freedom and the resources to do just keep trying. So I shall.

tl;dr Privilege is when the only problem you have in life is that it’s hard to find ways to make life hard.


~ by davekov on 17 September 2015.

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