Musings of the Certifiable

Where intelligence gives way to madness.

A Lesson in Living Outside of Your Means

So you graduated college and are a few years into your trip down life’s path.  You now find yourself at the stage when you realize that you are viewed by society as someone who should contribute something to the greater good and are even paying bills all on your own.  You should even feel empowered because contrary to what your bitter high school teacher told you, you aren’t giving out 5 dollar blowjobs in back alleys to support your useless self.  For that fact alone I am proud of each and every one of you classy assholes for having arrived into adulthood.


Strap in.

It is quite likely that the uphill climb has only just begun for each of you though, as it has for me, because let’s face it, starting out is hard.  While you will never get me to admit being my own person is anything but awesome, in the beginning there are some serious drawbacks to having crossed the threshold into full blown responsibility.  The main drawback starting out is going to be the fact that entry level jobs pay entry level salaries and those of you that ran at the opportunity to move to a large city are especially understanding of the real world fun of being the first person out in a game of Monopoly.


The waterboarding of children’s games.

Whether or not you knew it at the time, this game was going to be your first taste of living outside your means.  Why else would it have you staying in a hotel at Park Place?  Your poor ass wouldn’t even be let within the gated area of that side of the board in a real life scenario, but as you feel you’ve earned it with all your hard work, you decide to splurge.  As expected, this decision is fun for the day, but leaves you asking your roommates if they are going to finish their dinner.


You aren’t really going to eat ALL of that are you?

Of course you remember how this looks from the last time you played Monopoly and you were laughing your ass off at the dickbag who had to mortgage all of their worthless properties and was stuck limping around the board dispersing the measly $200 they got for passing Go and waiting for the sweet release of bankruptcy. 

Sorry to break it to you though dear friends, but that is you now.  You are desperately clinging to those precious dollars you get for passing Go and making it rain on your trip around the board. The game was a whole lot more fun when you weren’t the one sleeping in a cardboard box on Baltic Avenue trying to make black market deals to sell your Get Out of Jail Free card for drug money, but alas we can’t all drive the car piece.  The world is currently your older sister and you are stuck with just the boot because you clearly can’t afford the complete pair .


The laces are on layaway.

The excitement of the last Friday of the month has long since worn off, as you have got into a rhythm of receiving regular paychecks.  All that remains, where there was once happiness and excitement, is disappointment and sadness as you hand over practically the whole check to a landlord that allows you to not have to spoon with raccoons for warmth in a gutter.  With the vast majority of that check gone, you still have 14 days to survive before you round the board and get back to Go, so you reach for the trusted credit card to get your through until the next pay day.


“Haha! I’m spiraling out of control!” -You

If this is the point when you would typically flip the board and a family fight would break out then you will be saddened to know that life has nailed the board to the table and handcuffed you to your chair.  The continuous cycle has just begun because by the time you get your next check on the 15th it is already earmarked to pay off the credit card balance that you have already spent in the meantime.  On the bright side everything now seems fine and you apparently have a grasp on your life and finances.  You decide that you are going to budget and plan to make sure the remainder of this paycheck goes to groceries, car payments, and into a rainy day fund.

What happens instead, is that as naturally social creatures, you realize that you have not seen your friends in two weeks and decide you have earned a night out.  That night out turns into you buying your two rounds of beers, as your turn comes up, and a slice of pizza as a nightcap.  Before you know it, you’re out $80 and unless you’ve got a well oiled prostitution ring funding your adventures, you’ve just found a way outside your means again.  Good going you penniless bastard, you’re back in the same self loathing situation you always leave yourself in.


Guess you should have written it fourteen times, dumbass.

Hold strong though fellow dumbasses, for there is a light at the end of this tunnel.  Much like the time when I was 8 and my father traded me properties in Monopoly and then said I would not have to pay the first five times I landed on his hotels, then proceeded to build four houses and never upgrade to a hotel, this too shall serve as a life lesson.  Similar to the feelings I had when I was 8, I feel cheated at times but everything, when viewed through the right scope, can be taken as experience and a lesson can be learned from it, no matter how hard of a lesson it is.

Draw knowledge from these times so that when you finally do have enough money to no longer consider $1 beer nights reasons you have to go out because it’s actually affordable, you will know the pitfalls of living outside your means and hopefully you can make appropriate strides to prepare for the future, instead of just buying the Batmobile because you have no idea what else to do with spare change.  Actually, forget that, the Batmobile is awesome and you should buy it immediately, but you know what I’m getting at.


Bad example.  I would be poor for eternity if it meant owning this.

In the meantime, never accept, but do understand your role as the bitch of the game you are currently playing .  Life is going to be poor and kind of shitty for a while, but that does not mean that if you are smart about where your money is spent that you can’t still enjoy the little things in life and as you are your own adult, if you want to have Jameson and an ice cream sandwich for dinner after a shit day then fucking do it because these moments are fleeting and you have to enjoy the little things.  The important thing is to swig some Jameson and get your battered ass back in the game because you still have Reading Railroad and are not dead yet.


I smell a comeback.

You will eventually learn better spending habits through trial and error and you will make more money to help balance out the stupid things you choose to buy.  In the mean time, do what you can to get better each day and realize that these are going to be valuable skills down the road.  Most importantly, quit buying drinks for those uninterested girls in the bar bro.


Thanks for the drinks, you poor lonely bastard!

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This entry was posted on September 11, 2012 by in Life Lessons and tagged , , , , , , , , .

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I am a 28 year old recovering optimist who calls Chicago home. Your mom would like me.

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