We erect statues to oil men who keep our lies alive
"Never bet your own life on other people choosing to keep theirs."
My father was a self-made man in the oil industry and that was his mantra. He dedicated his life to oil, driven to its total understanding, willing himself, and failure was not an option. He viewed the world as simply one thing: a threat to his existence. In his eyes, this was not a planet that had chosen to live and dream, and since he couldn't fix that he was bound and determined not to "let the assholes take me down with them."
He correctly recognized oil as the key lifeblood to the earthly societies we build around the world and that we'd literally have our children die for it before we give up our dependence on it. He died not long after the Iraq invasion happened and, in fact, I think that contributed to his death because that naked grab for resources verified his every worst fear for the hearts of men. "What possible future can we have now after committing an act so horrible and terrible? Mass murder for oil and money. It's true, it's true. We'll kill before we'll change."
It took a long time for me to understand my father's mantra growing up. I thought it stupid. Of course everyone wants to live! Are ya nuts? Later, that conviction got hazy and blurred. Now I understand. Exposing wrongdoing that will result in a person's - or a society's - doom does not mean that entity will change its behavior. And if you start betting your own life thinking that behavior is going to change then you go down with them right to the bottom of the ocean. People said my father was cold-blooded but he never wanted anyone to die. He just wasn't going to lie about the consequences of their choices. He wasn't a false friend who patted an addict on the back telling him he's doing just fine with that needle in his arm.
So I was to be spared this victimization at the hands of the death dwellers. He beat them at their own game by recognizing it as a game and not some so-called act of social responsibility that people associate to gathering money. If I told you a naked man went out on his balcony and peed on people's heads your view of the act would change if you found out it was a billionaire doing it as opposed to a hopeless wage slave in a bad part of town. We'd see the second man's act as one of social commentary with our guilt-laden eyes and then persecute him for that very same guilt. What a bunch of faithless monsters we are posing so proudly in our robes. Werewolves of the world draw blood.
So the tools of control and the chains of despair never applied to me. Consequently, I've lived in a spreading fear of what it is I'd do with my life if I had to do something. In the duality of my father, the anger in him encouraged my irresponsibility as a thumbing of the nose to the world we've created. "See my son! He does nothing yet the world waits on him hand and foot! Do you not see the insanity in that?" Most of what I've learned about the oil industry is through osmosis from my father's dealings. He never tried to bring me into the office. He'd rather I spent the weekend on the French Riviera in a $10,000 a night rented chateau. After a while, I accepted that.
But my guilty secret of worthlessness did me no favors. I hung out with other rich worthless playboys in order to hide in a group but I was the only one who felt it was his duty to be a lazy, no-good bum. Everyone else had to put up some sort of façade that they were contributing to society. That's what their fathers pressured them to do. I don't know if my way was better or worse. I tried to sell myself that it was a "more honest" corruption. But fuck, corruption is corruption, you always pay in the end.
Goddam, did I ever pay...
More than two-thirds of Americans with incomes of less than $40,000 say they would sell something or borrow money in the event of a $400 emergency expense, according to a new survey by the Federal Reserve.
One thing I have noticed is how easy it is to make money if you have money. The whole system is rigged that way just like Dad said. Reminds me of the story of a local finance guy who bought a Picasso for 6 million and immediately flipped it to a sheik in Dubai for 12 million, a deal not available to 99.9% of the population and really contributes nothing to society. A night janitor does more good. The gravity of money weighs heavier each passing day. At some point it will bury us all. I know that's a fact few will face. It makes too many lives - both rich and poor - to be without meaning in the eyes of the beholders. Never bet your own life on other people choosing to keep theirs.
Deals come my way all the time because people know of my massive capital reserves sitting around doing nothing. (Or at least they used to. I don't keep contact with that crowd now.) I got this excited email from a money sycophant at an old hotmail address about a new app for investment funding: fundrise.com. How would you like to get a 5% tax free return on your money in a market where savings accounts currently pay less than 1%? You can easily - if you can prove you have a million dollars in assets. It's a common rule in hedge fund investing. We don't want new members to the club!
Black-hearted pirates rule the waves. We create TV series and movies glorifying them, living vicariously through their treachery and betrayal. But with virtually unlimited money at my disposal, it's easy to have my own black heart. In traffic I've thought about wrecking the car of someone who's pissed me off. No skin off my nose but it could seriously derail a working person's life. I've mused on how I could have little people killed and be untouchable. Why give a fuck about anything on a doomed planet, Dad?
There was another side to my Dad no one knew and even I could only infer. He was a man of stillborn dreams. He'd speak wistfully of a writer's life and he knew no greater joy than sitting with a tumbler full of scotch and an ashtray of devoured cigarettes regaling me young eyes with tall tales of the Lost Dutchman's Mine and other historical myths that told of how there's more to life than meets the eye. Dad never saw that firsthand but that was certainly his innermost dream of dreams.
Alas, I have followed in his footsteps. All the money in the world won't buy me a career in the arts, the gift/curse of our family heritage. The Bible speaks of those who get too caught up in the thorns of the world, never taking root. Our family will end as dry tumbleweeds blown in the wind; a fleeting legacy of no value. From fear and anger we made money. When it came time, though, to face any possible talent with the Woman Of Fabric, I sabotaged it and ran away into my current suicidal state.
I should wrap this up by reiterating my first conclusion when my life splattered across the sidewalk from on high: real wealth is determined by what you have to offer. Apparently for me, that is nothing. Goodbye.