It's the end of the month and there are bills to pay. I handle most of the big financial transactions around The Humboldt, because it allows me to embezzle from my roommates by keeping them in the dark about how much things cost. I understand a similar practice persisted in the Bush White House for most of his tenure. That sort of information was just going to frustrate the man. Likewise Nick and Rob, who are freed to merrily explore the world unfettered by these burdens. A while back, Rob bought a pair of special gaming glasses. They are polarized; intended to make the colors of a PC monitor more vibrant and enjoyable. They are not intended for use outdoors. They are not even intended for use with anything that's not a PC monitor, so your TV will just have to remain back in the Paleolithic Era. This fine product for discerning gamers costs $80. You'd think this would be a foolish purchase in retrospect. You'd be wrong. Rob fucking loves his gamer (lamer) glasses, and honestly I love them too. Jackasses spend so much time pretending to be something other than what they are; it's refreshing to see a spade call itself a spade.
After a weekend of bill-paying, grocery-buying and tax-evading I've got money on the brain. I got to thinking about my own situation, and how it's actually pretty enjoyable for what it is. Poverty is underrated, unless of course you have children or big-time responsibilities. Poverty is cool if you're an educated white male from an upper-middle-class upbringing, is I guess what I'm trying to say. Here are a few little-known perks of living on meager means.
Easy Tax Returns
It took me about 30 minutes to do my taxes this year. That's state and federal, in their entirety. How? Well, my only income is hourly wages and unemployment. The latter doesn't even have a real form to fill out: you say which state you collected from and type in the lump sum. I don't have any kind of retirement account or investments. I don't own a home (probably never will), I don't get anything paid for by anybody else, and I rarely travel because I can't afford it and my job would never send me anywhere.
Essentially, I copy a couple numbers from my W-2 and I'm done. My entire financial existence could be scrawled on a single piece of notebook paper by a book-smart but awkward child, whose school performance lags behind his capabilities because he's afraid to stand out. Good thing there's no form in the federal code that would require me to pay a Literary Genius tax, because I just created a phenomenally compelling character in one sentence for no reason. My talents are going to waste just like a Russian trapeze artist who loses her leg to a wolf trap in the Urals while on a pilgrimage to St. Basil's Cathedral. AGAIN.
Opportunities to help people
Just a week ago, I was shopping at Trader Joe's when an old lady came up to me and started asking questions about produce. No senile geriatric she; instead, she just assumed I worked at Trader Joe's. Trader Joe's has loose uniform standards, but all retail employees wear aloha shirts. I was not wearing anything that resembled an aloha shirt, yet this woman was so convinced I had to be a worker that she didn't even inquire. There was no "excuse me, do you work here?" Just a sudden embarkation into the stormy seas of squash pricing.
I couldn't help her, it turned out. Her conundrum was something outside my limited powers to correct, but it's nice to know that my beard, wardrobe and slovenly demeanor immediately project to the rest of the world, "I work in a yuppie grocery store." I informed her I didn't work there, and while she quickly apologized I reassured her: "No worries, I am young and scruffy." She didn't answer. I wasn't even trying to be a dick; it just comes so naturally.
No health worries
It's been said that if you don't have your health, you don't have anything. I absolutely believe that. Your health is very important and it can be really difficult to get anything done when it's in question. I personally try to quiet my anxieties by reminding myself not to get worked up about things I have no control over. And as a poor bastard, that's the attitude you have to take when it comes to medical issues. Because your job doesn't offer health insurance and you can't afford to buy private insurance. With some savings, you can afford to visit the Amazonian shaman at right so he can have his pig diagnose you. It smells disease, you see.
Well, I take that back. You can afford to purchase an insurance policy. You can't afford to buy one that offers you actual medical care. Under my policy, I pay for all expenses out-of-pocket unless I get hit by a train. If I tear my ACL playing frisbee, I am screwed. If I get hit by a train, I'm set. Anything in between, I'm also screwed. But like I said, this leads to some serious peace of mind. Should you go to the hospital or shouldn't you? Why even worry? I can't go to the hospital under basically any circumstances (see: Train, hit by). My friends with cushy jobs have to make appointments for physical therapy and massages and checkups: things that I never have to think about. A former co-worker of mine got hit by a car not long ago, bouncing off the hood as the guy drove off. Did he limp off to a hospital like some Pointdexter? No, he limped to Walgreens and bought some bandages and Bactine. Like a boss. Well, a boss who doesn't have health insurance. No clue where you're supposed to find one of those.