Shallow

“Fuck you. That’s my name. You know why, mister? You drove a Hyundai to get here. I drove an eighty-thousand dollar BMW. THAT’S my name. And your name is your wanting. You can’t play in the man’s game, you can’t close them – go home and tell your wife your troubles. Because only one thing counts in this life: Get them to sign on the line which is dotted…That watch costs more than your car. I made $970,000 last year. How much’d you make? You see pal, that’s who I am, and you’re nothing. Nice guy? I don’t give a shit. Good father? Fuck you! Go home and play with your kids. You wanna work here – close!”

This is the movie clip my (soon to be ex) coworkers watch every morning.  And they believe every word of it. 

I find it sad that money is the only thing that matters to them.  They all have wives, girlfriends, one of them has a small daughter.  But they’re always here.  They’re always in the office.  And that’s fine – I can respect being passionate about your job.  Hell, I’m about to launch into freelance writing and I will be on it ALL THE TIME.  But I don’t mind, because I love it.  That’s my path.

The thing I have a problem with is their habit of demeaning anyone who disagrees with them.  It doesn’t make you a better person if you drove here in an $80,000 BMW.  Who. Cares.  You place value on someone because of their material possessions?  That speaks volumes about your character, e.g., you’re a SHITTY person.  I will bet all that money that you’re not going to be lying on your deathbed thinking, “Well, I sure am glad I worked so many hours and made all that money.”  You’ll be lying there, filled with regret, because you missed your daughter’s first steps.  She cried when you came home and picked her up because she didn’t recognize you.  But hey.  At least you made millions and had a nice house and a nice car.  That’s something.

If I ever become as shallow and money obsessed as these people, I want someone to put me out of my misery.  That’s no way to live – life is too short to be a rude asshole.  Get a grip.

So I’ll gladly drive my almost 10 year old Hyundai around, because I’m happy with my life, my (future) job – and I don’t measure my success by the number in my bank account.  I win.

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We’re Doomed

They say the economy is improving, yet people still find the need to belittle certain college degrees and act like they are the authority on all things.  Below is a response I wrote last year to all the people who say English, History, and other like degrees are useless and I was stupid to get one.  Feel free to comment below with your opinions; a lively discussion never goes out of style!

We are indeed doomed, as a country, as a people, when the majority of commenting readers agree that college degrees in English, Writing, History, etc, are basically useless.  No one should study these topics, they say.  Why didn’t these idiots major in something practical, like engineering, or mathematics, or perhaps skip college altogether and go straight to trade school.  Why, I could be a plumber, or a motorcycle repairwoman, and be laughing my ass all the way to the bank!  These crazy youngsters.

You know, you’re right.  Why would I want to go to college for things I’m interested in, for things I love and I’m good at?  Why didn’t I remember that money and the ability to buy whatever you want is indeed the most important thing?  Why didn’t I major in something I hate, or that I’m completely useless at, just so I could be guaranteed a good-paying job right out of college??  Man…I really missed the boat here.  Who needs the arts, or humanities, or music, anyway?  Waste of time.  Only fit for a hobby.

Oh, ignorance.  I think Oscar said it best, By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, journalism keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community.  ‘Tis my lot in life, I suppose.  I try telling myself that these people just don’t understand, they don’t know what it’s like to love something so much that money doesn’t matter.  They don’t know what it’s like to wake up in the middle of the night, story ideas flying around in your brain, song lyrics begging to be written down.  They don’t feel the pull, the need, the loyalty to art, or at least the potential, that keeps us coming back to the blank page, again and again and again.

And what of the successful ones – the ones publishing books, working as journalists, winning the damn Pulitzer Prize?  Were their degrees useless?  Should they have majored in something that would have given them excellent salaries right off the bat?  Just because a career path doesn’t lead to instant money and success doesn’t mean it’s worthless.  Who cares if you make a lot of money, as long as you’re doing what makes you happy.  Those commenting seem to have forgotten this small fact.

All I know is that my choice was right for me.  I learned and experienced so much at college that I wouldn’t have otherwise; “useless degree” is probably the furthest thing from the truth.  It taught me to write, to express myself in an educated and informed manner; it taught me to dig down and figure out why I believe what I do and then how to say it.  It taught me to argue, to stand my ground, to read people and figure out what they really mean.  The world is in dire need of people who can formulate an opinion and present an argument – hell, we need people who can write a damn sentence without using stupid abbreviations you’d find on a teenagers texting history.

So no, crazy people – my English degree may not make me good money.  I may not get $80,000 right out of college.  But I’d rather be fucking poor and love what I’m doing than spend my life in a job I hate, just because it pays me well.

Ain’t it a blessing to do what you want to do?