I woke up in a strange place

By Marc Heiden, since 1997.
See also: a novel about a monkey.

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August 5, 2005

Things aren't going very well for me right now. Apparently, what I bought was bleach, not laundry detergent, and a number of my t-shirts now reflect that fact. Who knew? Contextually, based on where it was in the store and the shape of the bottle, that stuff should have been laundry detergent. Why would I even want bleach? A number of my most-beloved Japanese t-shirts were turned into hippie rags by the confusion. The thing is, if you strike them down, a hundred more will take their place. My chest shall wield incoherency such as this nation has never seen. Just you wait until I get a job.

I'm planning to devote this entire entry to things that aren't going very well, as a nice change of pace from the triumphal march that this webpage usually is. That first paragraph made me think about money, and how I'm not sure that there's any point in being fiscally responsible while I'm unemployed. It has never worked in the past. I haven't bought anything fun in months, and I haven't put anything on a credit card since January. I'm on the special edition Casino DVD, so I bought that, but otherwise, an end table is a sexy as it goes for my spending habits. Why bother, though? I'm going to be broke and buried in debt by the time I get a job no matter what I do. Am I wasting an opportunity here? Let me explain. The common view of money, which involves balancing checkbooks and keeping receipts and freaky leopard people, is that you have money (or assets) as represented by a number which can go up or down depending on the decisions you make. Imagine, though, an alternative - and this has proven far more realistic in my life - that money exists in one of two states, a binary proposition, if you will: either it is there, or it is not. Either you have a surplus, or you are in debt. That has always been the case for me. If I am in a debt-state, then it is going to be a long time before I get out, regardless of how I behaved an the outset of the debt-state. And if I am in a surplus-state, the money will be gone, eventually, regardless of the wise or un-wise decisions that I make. I can either spend it in lunatic flings or wait for crises to emerge and suck it all away. It is a childish fiction to pretend that there is a permanent surplus-state. This has been proven true so many times over that to believe otherwise is the intellectual equivalent of the dried soup in this man's moustache.

Not everything is going badly. I was hesitant to make an emotional investment in a new appliance, but I bravely tried using the dishwasher anyway, and it worked a treat. I should get back to the stuff that's going off the rails, though. In retrospect, it appears that what I put my outgoing mail into was not a mailbox. Oh, again, there were several reasons to believe that it was. Contextually, this was absolutely a mailbox. There was a red plastic thing on top that could be moved up and down, like a flag, and it was attached to an incoming mail kiosk; furthermore, there was a little sign on it that said 'outgoing mail'. Admittedly, that sign was handwritten, but you can see why I thought it was a pretty good bet. Well, one week later, none of the Netflix I put in the mail have reached the Austin distribution center. This is the beginning of trouble. At this rate, 2013 is a generous estimate for the point at which some guy with a shotgun and a receding hairline is going to show up with your Pier One catalog and assume all the widows in town are interested in his 'seed'.

Who can you trust? Who can you believe? When I was a child, my image of myself as an adult was that of boxes of Count Chocula, Frankenberry and Boo Berry on top of the refrigerator. I wonder if I would even recognize myself now. I was in the store and saw Chocolate Lucky Charms on sale. "That has to be disgusting," I mused, so I bought some and I wasn't wrong. Did you know that Boo Berry has no fiber at all? Not even a bit. That fucking ghost! He's all right.

I woke up in a strange place is the work of Marc Heiden, born in 1978, author of two books (Chicago, Hiroshima) and some plays, and an occasional photographer.

Often discussed:

Antarctica, Beelzetron, Books, Chicago, College, Communism, Food, Internet, Japan, Manute Bol, Monkeys and Apes, North Korea, Oregon Trail, Outer Space, Panda Porn, Politics, RabbiTech, Shakespeare, Sports, Texas.


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Written by Marc Heiden, 1997-2011.