Poverty is Sweet, Brah!
And other things I tell myself when poverty sucks at my soul.
Associated Soundtrack: “All My Best Friends Are Metalheads”
Today sucked — broken car, Cup ‘O Noodles, the end of the month creeping up like a mountain goat I illegally gave granola who then followed my terrified 12-year-old self for five miles... That kind of day. In general, being poor is a real bummer — but so is selling your life to a corporation in return for financial “freedom.” When life sucks and you’re not sure where your next paycheck comes from, a little creative mirror-talk can go a long way:
- “You ain’t contributing to globally catastrophic consumer culture, son!” — Every time I think about my cool friends going to cool concerts and drinking cool brunch drinks I suddenly remember… they’re a bunch of capitalist piggies! You know what’s cooler than doing things? Not doing them. Unless they’re free things — or you stole them. That shit is real cool. Also drugs. Those don’t count.
- “Poverty is chic as fuck right now.” You know why I have mason jars lying around? Cause I love raspberry jelly and my recycling bin is full.
- “Bukowski was poor too, bro.” From his Wikipedia page: “He then moved to New York to begin a career as a vagrant blue-collar worker with dreams of becoming a writer…” So I’m basically in grad school, Mom and Dad. This was totally planned.
- “College-you would be so stoked that you’re broke right now.” Remember that time you told everyone that “I don’t want a ton of money, I just want to write creatively all day.” Look at me now! Sophomore you was like Nostradamus crossed with a Woodstock 1994 attendee — so righteous, man. Take that, girl down the hall that said she’d cure blindness by 25, or whatever.
- “It still beats marketing.” Manipulating language to convince people to buy things they don’t need, stoking fear that you’ve wasted your life pursuing childish passions and should, instead, do something “worthwhile” with your time, since self-worth is a commodity now and saving the world is a monetized-boondoggle so thoroughly bastardized that even Levi’s jeans are sold with bullshit appeals to “our generation’s” DIY and hustling work ethic, even though that ethic is not built out of choice but the need to feed yourself each week instead of buying overpriced denim that doesn’t even fit as well as the thrift store pairs that you buy because poverty is a real thing and not some trendy, easily-appropriated badge of honor that you wear until shit gets real rough and you need your parents to bail you out.
- “You aren’t going to quit.” So stop complaining and get back to the keyboard. Also, the mirror needs cleaning.
And so that’s what I did.
Nick Geisler is currently publishing the world’s first Wiki-Novel, and is inviting all manner of creative and artistic contributions. Check it out here: https://www.unfulfillednovel.com.