Into the Mind of the Money-Eyed: How the world is becoming centered around the illusion of economy

There is a startling trend in the world today. The trend of the mass populous in this individualistic society moving further and further into an Orwellian post-apoc world where there are no more nationalities or ethnicities, but corporations. This is nothing out of the ordinary in reading about a world of monarchs and their subjects, for many popular media have been apart of this conversation decades past – even so far back as the civilizations of the first men. Greed, power, and corruption have been recurring themes in narrativity throughout time eternal. This is not a generalization, as the legends of Gilgamesh, Bhuda, Jesus, Beowulf, and the Thirteenth Warrior all have great representation of these deadly sins and cardinal virtues, albeit by many different names. Today, however, the world is no longer being ruled by a conglomerate of warring kings or republics.

When I took Econ 101, the first thing that I learned was that most of what you might call money is an illusion. That means that everything based on this system of credit balances and dividends is also an illusion. Stock brokers are actually just gamblers who have faster access to truth and information, and “truth” is a highly relative term. If it is said to be one way, it is probably another.

The sad thing is that it’s already way too late to make any sort of positive change in the individual mind of America. We are set on the idea that economy is wealth and wealth is power. No longer are we Americans pacified by the idea that there is a certain element of patriotism involved in being American. A certain independence of every sort of all-powerful eye in the world.

Ronald Reagan and his merry band of tape-cutters saw to it that this nation became a business, and nothing more. The rich are only in it to get richer. And the poors can all go get food stamps or whatever it is that they do.

And then, when we don’t get enough money, we all loose our shit. We start flipping cars and throwing rocks and molotovs at police cars and looting liquor stores.

What these rioters don’t realize is that they’re already lost. Their rioting because they don’t have enough money. They are already overcome by greed. Their hearts are in the right place, yes. But their minds are far beyond repair.

How I went broke, and you can too! In seven easy steps.

Let’s set the record straight on this one: I was born into what many people I have associated myself with over the years would call abject poverty. There is one fatal flaw in the assumption that financial income equates to socioeconomic status – and that is the fact that certain people know how to handle their money, and certain people don’t. It sounds like common sense, but in fact the idea of spending at your own income is something that a lot of people just can’t seem to grasp ahold of, least of all myself.

I don’t make a lot of money, but that doesn’t make me a poor, does it? My parents have never made a lot of money – I lived with my father for the majority of my youth and he never, in his entire lifespan of 67 years so far, has made more than 12,000 in a single tax year. But he never thought of himself as poor. He knew how to handle his money effectively, and if he had wanted it, he could have been a millionaire.

But he didn’t want it.

I am not a poor, but I am broke. There’s a big difference.

Being categorized as “a poor” makes you vulnerable to outside influencers like USAID and Save the Children who keep us all in line by telling us how poor people are more likely to do this or that. Psychologically, being called poor makes someone very unable to accomplish their goals or achieve their dreams of success.

As someone who grew up poor, I can tell you that I have never once thought of myself as poor.

In 2010, when I was a junior in high school, I had $5,000 saved up in my bank account for college. It was my life’s savings up to that point.

Today, I am in debt to my university over a thousand dollars, and I’m struggling day-to-day to get the essentials I need to live comfortably. Food’s pretty easy to come by. But medical expenses, insurance premiums, gasoline, airfare. These things cost money that I am just not making.

If I had a regular job, I probably wouldn’t have this problem. I could just wake up and go to work every day, satisfied with my life. But I don’t have a regular job. I have a government job that pays shit wages and expects me to know everything there is to know about soldiering. Sure, there are programs out there for people like me. But I’m not one of those people. I’m not a person like me, and I never will be one of those people. I am a go-getter. I am disciplined and I can handle anything that life throws at me. I will get out of this hump, and I will come out on top. You’ll see.

Jet lag.

I groggily open my eyes to a room that was exactly as I had left it ten hours earlier. I literally fell asleep at 4am after having been awake for 32 hours. I seem to run these stints a lot.

I attempt to roll out of bed, only to realize that I’m not actually in my bed – but I’m in the hotel bed at the DC Hilton. The never-ending queen-sized hotel bed.

What the fuck am I doing here?

I need to get back home and sort my shit. I need to make that 2,000 dollars I need to get out to Africa. Flying back and forth in CONUS is easy, I just take a military hop for free. But to get to Africa. That costs me a lot of money. Money that I don’t have right now.

And I NEED to get to Africa for a certain engagement I have coming up.

As I begin to get out of bed I see the remnants of last night strewn about the floor.

Papers. Documents. Newspaper clippings. Photographs. Spilled coffee. A half-eaten pizza box. An empty carton of ice cream.

Dammnit, my highlighter’s dried out.

You know those movies that show the awesome spies and soldiers shooting shit and blowing the whole world to kingdom come? Yeah, that’s not me. I don’t know anyone like that.

In the real world, you’re not young for very long. Especially in my profession.

Arthritis, phantom pains, nightmares, hernias, grey hair, PTSD, and broken bones eventually begin to pile up on people like me, as the ever-looming presence of death becomes more familiar.

More to the point – this life is full of paperwork, textbooks, power points, and classrooms. In basic training, they taught us how to withstand the pain of what is known as “death by powerpoint.” Anyone caught falling asleep in class would be punished severely. Anyone in the room was also punished for not keeping them awake. I never fell asleep in class, but a few times I came very close. The Army really screwed me on that one. Before I joined, I went to bed at 11pm every night. Now, I can hardly find a decent sleep routine.

Which is probably why I find myself in a hotel room in Washington, D.C., waking up to a pile of shit strewn all across the room, wearing the same clothes that I was wearing the night before.

Fuck.

If you want to have a normal life, don’t get a job in government.

Normality. That would be an interesting notion, given what I’ve learned about the human condition the past few years.

So. How did I get here? Where did all of my money go? I have given my life for the American Dream, only to realize that it’s a fucking myth. I might die in debt. That’s the scariest thought I’ve ever had. That I might die a slave. I fucking hate money. It’s society’s greatest curse. It’s the Devil in disguise.

The answer is simple: I had money, so I spent it. I spent all of it. I spent it on airfare, at dance clubs and titty bars all over the country. I spent it on amusement and entertainment. I bought nice clothes. I lived the American Dream because I thought – foolishly – that the party would never end. I thought in the immature recesses of my mind that since I had money, I could just get more and it would all be grand.

Life isn’t an episode of Downton Abbey, and I have spent the past few years coming to terms with this. Life is more like an episode of Breaking Bad. Some people find abnormal ways to fill in the gaps of their financial health. Some people get jobs that they are unhappy with to put food on the table.

I have this immature notion that there is something out there just for me. A job that is just right for me. If I wait out the storm long enough, I will find it. Unfortunately, that is looking more and more like a shitshow than a reality.

Surf’s up in Paradise, and so are the hookers.

Oahu. Paradise. That’s what they call it. The brochures. The television documentaries.
I say that if you are not too careful, Oahu can be a living Hell.

IMG_3262

January 13-14, 2014
The neighborhood of Waikiki that I’ve managed to superimpose my adventurous self upon at the Monday night kick over into Tuesday morning is far less than respectable and does little to soothe my precarious mental state.

If this place has a Red Light District, I’m sure that I have aimlessly wandered into it.

Unfortunately.

IMG_2729

“Hey there handsome,” declares a young woman as she walks past.

I walk past and laugh at the absurdity. I can count on this little stretch of pavement a total of seven girls, all pacing their corners like wild cats of the Savannah stalking their prey before a kill.

Sure, honey. Yes, you do have a rather large pair of tits. But I am saving myself for someone special.

With the added incentive of the three uniformed Honolulu police cars parked just down the street, outside the Waikiki Trade Center, I’m sure that any wayward traveler stupid enough to accept your offer of “a good time,” isn’t going to be spending the night where they thought they would.

And so. I find myself at 2am on the East side of K¯uhi¯o Avenue in the only reputable all-night establishment for miles in any direction: McDonald’s. Scarfing down a bacon cheeseburger.

If Oahu is supposed to be Paradise, I wonder if this is what paradise looks like at 2am every night. The only discernible difference between this place and Pioneer Square back home – aside from the climate – is that back home the ho-hos are all wearing fur jackets and drinking hot cocoa right now.

IMG_2726

A uniformed security guard stands outside Playbar, a late night bar. He does not wear a name tag.

“I’ve only been working here for two weeks,” says the security guard who gives the name of John. He patrols the section of K¯uhi¯o Avenue which includes Playbar nightclub. John’s voice has an aura of fear built into it during our entire conversation. He won’t give me his last name, because he does not want to loose his job.

“Sometimes, I see girls grab men by the hands, speak to them for a while, and take them into the apartments there.” He points to the stack of apartments next to the club.

“My job is to make sure that these seven buildings are secure. I might have my doubts about those girls, but if they have a key than I am to treat them as a resident. I am finding it harder and harder to tell the difference between normal girls and sex workers.”

Certainly, girls in Hawaii are allowed to dress provocatively. Once or twice while I’ve been here, I’ve also been accused of showing a little skin, and unfastening one more button than usual. It’s hot out.

But when a girl twirls her purse and walks around in a circle on the street corner, one can assume that she is looking to make some fresh dough.

“They just stand out,” says a young (woman?) named Persia who came up to me to accost my recently shaved chest and my hairy legs before she realized what I was really doing there. She laughed when I told her that I was going to try to sell an article to Vice.

“When a girl’s looking for something – if you know what I mean – she just sticks out.”

Outside Playbar, a crew of about five men dressed in all-black clothing now guards the entrance. The Asian security guard I spoke to earlier is still there, but I wonder how much of a job he actually performs, other than to look pretty for the tourists and inquisitive minds that happen to wander down this street this late at night.

A fairly large Hawaiian man wearing a black button-up shirt and black pants, with a jet-black beard and an interesting style of hair that matches the hue of his beard, speaks in a voice that demands attention.

He asks not to be named. The whole damned crew asks not to be named. I tell them that it really cramps my style if I have a bunch of quotes from a guy who doesn’t exist. Editors don’t really dig it when you come up with mostly fluff.

“This side is stronger. No one fucks with us on this side of the street,” he replies, stern but jovial in that classic Aloha gangster fashion that I have come to appreciate, or at least pretend to.

This side of the street. This guy must be a gangster. A large group of men wearing red nike products exits the nightclub behind the guard. A few of them shake hands with the black-shirted men as they prepare to leave. I can’t help but shaking the feeling that this looks oddly similar to Blood gang territory. A man in a black Cadilac Escalade with a red baseball cap drives past, one hand on the steering wheel, one hand somewhere unseen.

IMG_2746

Two men come walking down the street. Their extremely muscular arms are all tatted up, they walk the same way that I do – fists clenched, chests thrown out, shoulders broad and wide. These guys are off-duty soldiers here for the pickings just like everyone else in this sluthole. They enter the club and disappear into its murky depths.

Persia and those gangbangers told me that the majority of customers are US service members of some capacity. Even though it is against the UCMJ for service members to participate in activities involving prostitutes – they are the biggest offenders.

I can’t do this story anymore. Someone told me when I started out, that I wouldn’t like what I found when I started digging into this story.

I don’t want to be one of the perpetrators. If I had any balls at all, I would tail those two bald fucks back to their barracks and inform their superior officers that they are involved in nasty businesses.

Instead, I’m going to tail the Escalade. I find it’s much safer to deal with gangsters than it is to deal with JAG. After all, these gangsters are small-frys compared to the biggest gang in the world: the US Army.

IMG_3302

The Escalade takes its time strolling around the city.

Turns out there are little pockets of prostitution and narcotics traffic all over the city, and the piece of action I saw in Waikiki wasn’t even the biggest slice of the pie. Whoever this guy is, he must be involved in something huge. He’s certainly recognized by everyone who sees him.

Drug dealers, gagsters, bouncers, hookers, cops – they are all a part of some crazy giant picture that just gets more confusing as time goes on.

The Escalade – finally – pulls into a parking space in a very rich part of town on the way out to Diamond Head. This is where the millionaires live.

 

IMG_3251

 

I get out to take a peek at the vehicle. Shiny. Sparkly. With US Government plates.

What. The. Fuck.?

This whole situation has just gone from bizarre to fucked-up in a heartbeat. This is it. I’m done with this story – I don’t want to wind up cannibal meat for some crazy all-seeing Hawaiian gang.

After all, I’m on vacation.

What Happened to the Revolt?

NOTE: It is my first time ever blogging about economics, and I hope I have done well enough of a job here in my calculations to have this post be considered valid by even the most suave and sophisticated of derivative authors and Corporate Law Underwriters. This is a topic that not enough people in this country understand.

Capitalism is a damned thing in the hands of the dangerous. As was communism. As is any form of economic system created by man. Jesus himself threw over a few merchant tables when he found out that vendors had overtaken a certain table.

In the United States of America, the wealthy have become the vendors in the marketplace that used to be the temple. I’m not talking about the people who have a couple of million dollars, I could probably manage to use that all up in a few months if I was stupid enough:

Ten good suits would cost ten thousand dollars. A great car would cost a million dollars. And then there’s the remodel of my home, you know, to stop the roof from caving in and make the crawlspace actually crawlable – that’s another 500,000. Why not build a garage for my new car? 400,000. Wait, have to pay off my student debt. Now, I’m broke again, and it only took a few months.

When I say the word rich, I think of the top 1% of this country. That’s what they think of as rich, so that’s what i’m going to call rich. And I find that when you’re that rich, it’s hard to just let go. When you’re that rich, you get used to buying things that are much more expensive. Things that perform the exact same duty as things that are nearly ten times cheaper than them. “Things” shouldn’t occupy a person’s most highest love – that’s left for your God and your family. Humans shouldn’t be concerned with “things.” That’s ridiculous.

For a good portion of the recent decade, I have been coming to terms with the fact that I exist as a part of a system that is no longer a living idea, but a machine. The author of the Matrix had it spot on when he said that human beings are Duracell batteries.