Wealth is a Reward for Notoriety
I don't know what the fuck you people want from me, anymore, if anything. Unless it's just to go away forever, as if I'm a splinter in the middle finger of the universe that's trying to push me out. Maybe I'm an anomaly, perhaps I never should've been born and the universe, in its collective wisdom, recognizes that and is doing its level-headed, dispassionate best to purge me forever.
Remember when money used to be remuneration for toil, for a job well done? Sure, the working class never got rich in this capitalist state but that wasn't the idea. The idea, back when we had a compact between labor and Big Business, was that if you did your job well and stayed loyal to your employer, you could retire with a decent pension and perhaps send a kid or two through college, buy a house and live comfortably. Being a Wal-Mart greeter until your 70's never factored into the equation.
And, every person had the opportunity to earn that money if they wished to.
I don't know what happened when I turned 50. Right after I turned 50, something very David Lynch happened to both America and myself: The funhouse reflection we used to see in satire became the reality and, for a lot of people, myself included, just reaching the poverty level itself became less of a goal and more of a pipe dream.
Suddenly, money is allergic to me.
Whether as an unemployed worker unfairly thrown out on the street when his embezzling right wing boss had to lay off people or as a damned talented novelist, the entire planet earth seems to be saying to me, "You don't deserve money even if you're willing to work for it."
Just die so I can continue evolving, it seems to say.
All the money it seems, gravitates to the stupidest and most incompetent, the same people who until fairly recently would be relegated to ridicule and obscurity for tripping on the lowest rungs of the ladder of success, people who made a mockery of the Peter Principle on account of failing so soon after their ascent.
And now I have to hear George Zimmerman whining on CNN and elsewhere about being homeless and people not wanting to make him a sandwich and acting very surprised that he never got the privileges he was seemingly promised as an honorary white man and how he's the victim. Here's a... man, for want of a better word, who had tens of thousands of dollars thrown at him from every redneck and racist in the country and now he's pissing and moaning about how he's broke.
But never once in their sociopathic, self-serving lives did George Zimmerman and guys like him try to do the right thing. Zimmerman stalked, assaulted then murdered an unarmed black kid on his way to his Dad's house and now has the nerve to claim he's the victim in all this. I brought two handsome and smart biracial sons into the world and I couldn't be prouder of them.
Unlike Zimmerman, I want to work. Unlike Zimmerman, I served my country honorably. And unlike Zimmerman I want to share my legitimate talent with the world. Yet all I ever hear is, "You're not good enough." "Not at this time." "Not qualified enough." Or, much more often than not, silence.
I recently sent out a mass email to over 100 people who had contributed to Pottersville over the past two years. The last 79 never kicked in so much as a penny. And that's OK. Disappointing, but OK. Nobody owes me a living.
But I think I have the right to ask why the Sarah Palins and Joe the Plumbers of the United States get all the book deals, why George Zimmerman gets to have a pity party on CNN while I'm toiling here in obscurity and nowhere else despite my willingness to work?
My daily hit count here averages 175 a day, with about half of those people looking for porn or some other inappropriate material, surfing in and out in less than ten seconds.
What the fuck do you want from me? Seriously, do you want me to just commit suicide so you're spared the sight of my trying to inflict myself on your busy lives and its superior priorities? Does it even matter what I try to offer you?
I'm ignored here, on Twitter, by publishers, literary agencies, in the workforce, everywhere.
Just turn yourself into a rotting corpse.
Every now and then someone will tell me, like the friend who visited me from Florida a few days ago, that I have a tremendous impact on the blogosphere. I look at my average hit count and I have to laugh. How can I be having such a huge impact anywhere when I write to 79 people pleading for help and get not one penny in donations?
I didn't kill an innocent kid. I'm not trying to subtract from the nation's dwindling store of knowledge and I did not help create the economic quagmire into which we're sinking deeper and deeper each day.
I'm just a guy who tried doing the right thing all his life and for all my ass-kissing all I ever got were farts in my face, kicks in the teeth.
You don't deserve the opportunity to earn money.
Springing from a position of complete ignorance, my books are rejected, unrepresented and unsold, my resumes passed over by companies given first refusal rights by predatory temp agencies infesting Craigslist with their sneaky, deceptive ads.
And then they wonder why I sometimes lash out angrily at how dysfunctional is the system they helped to create. Because people don't like being criticized. People like Zimmerman, Sarah Palin and every fucking idiot I see catapulted into the 1% for being absolutely wrong about everything.
I used to think that, despite my impoverished state, I was at least on the right side of just about every issue. From getting up every morning and going to work and doing the best job I could do to being a political blogger and a conscientious novelist who followed trends, I thought at least I had the best of intentions and good instincts.
But now I'm not so sure, anymore.
And, since the accumulation of unearned wealth is the new yardstick of "success", it can be said that people like Zimmerman and Palin and Joe the Plumber and every fucking idiot who regularly finds themself on network TV is more successful than me is because they pander to a demographic much, much larger than the one to which I've been appealing since I began this thankless game over nine years ago: The unwashed Crazy Base of homophobes, racists, evangelicals, gun-clutching Birchers and the like.
That's where the money is. It's not appealing to sane, lucid people who more or less see that there is something very deeply wrong with post-Reagan America. Those are the people I should've been pandering to. Perhaps if I'd been pandering to these nut jobs from the start, directing my time, talents and energies to writing more and more outrageous lies in the interests of ratings, book sales and circulations, perhaps I could've been a more successful and financially-stable pundit or author and I wouldn't be reduced to begging strangers for help every couple of months just to keep a roof over my head.
But I'm not a nut job. Even though my refusal to pander to the dregs of society may wind up getting us thrown out in the street, at least I'll have my dignity and self-respect intact. It would, literally, be cold comfort if it comes to that.
When I invited Mrs. JP in the spring of 2009 to live with me, I'd been out of work for just days. I was firmly convinced I'd be working by her arrival that summer but it didn't turn out that way. Suddenly, temp agencies offering minimum wage, almost three and a half dollars an hour less I made at my last job, were doing all the hiring. Then the days stretched into weeks, then months, then years and now I have to listen to hiring managers audaciously ask me what I've been doing with myself all these years. I invited Barb to come live with me because I had the best intentions and now I am responsible for her well-being. I have no other way of making money and I insist on keeping a roof over our heads short of robbing a bank or selling drugs.
I didn't ask for this. I just tried to do the right thing. I just want to sell my stories or get a job or otherwise earn my money. I didn't ask to be completely ignored and disrespected everywhere on the planet earth. I didn't beg to live a very, very unfunny Rodney Dangerfield monologue.
And I don't know what the fuck the world wants from me. The only indication I'm getting is it wants me to disappear, to die. Is that what you want? Am I really that objectionable?
Seriously, what the fuck do you want from me?