Wage Slavery and my Childhood
It’s dead quiet in the office, everyone else has gone home for the day and I am still here. I didn’t update yesterday but hopefully a 2:45AM update will be enough to satiate people so that they forgive me. Today I wanted to talk about something that has been on my mind in one way or another and after reading a beautiful post on the topic I decided I want to chime in.
I recently got my credit card higher than I’ve ever done before and while it’ll easily be paid off in 2 paychecks it still left me in a moment of shock. I realized that I had placed myself in a position of financial insecurity, memories of my youth came flooding back to me and I could see that stress in my father’s eyes as he tried to balance the books.
I watched as every new cost tore away at him, as he became less and less happy. I watched my father grow old, not because he was aging, but because the world was devouring him. His life was being stripped from him on a runaway train that had lost all control of. The predators had sunk their teeth into him and would drain him like a tick until they were full to bursting.
It was one of those weird moments, when I realized that he wasn’t buying me things not because he didn’t want to, but because he literally couldn’t. Occasionally he would impulse buy and put himself further into the hole but at the end of the day he was trying to, I felt, delay the fear. He wanted television, or movies, or something to help him get his mind off the hunters.
Those predators lying in the darkness, sending out their drones to ring the phone off the hook. Caller ID flooding to the brim with nothing but demands and anger and more demands. A spiral that twisted in upon itself infinitely until even light was consumed.
I watched it and it genuinely made me sad. Even now I’m a bit teary writing about it. I love my father and watching years of his life be stolen from him because of a few bad decisions was just overwhelming for me as a child. I promised myself that I would never do that, that I would always take control of things.
There is something genuinely damning about student loans. I see them, grotesque and fat, sloshing around like a Hutt with their slender slaves on chains. They mock me and laugh as triple digit interest flies out of my wallet into their faces.
But, they say, you got an education and you should be happy we let you do so. You should be pleased that you live in a world where wishing to better yourself is something that should cost immense amounts of money, the kind of investments that once lead to owning a house and land. No, while your parents and grand parents could do this thing off of a McDonalds job, you must take our money.
You take it, then you will pay it back twice over at best. Many times more at worst.
You see that debt, or at least I do, and I think that it is insurmountable. It leads me to think that what is a little more? What is wrong with a little more negative on top of the pile. I’m already locked in, what harm could a little more do?
It is surreal what this leads to. We don’t see it even though it is right in front of our noses. We fear for our jobs because they control our medical insurance, you lose that job and you could very well lose your life. But not just your life! Say you owe great debt, that debt will not merely die when you do. Oh no, the fangs will sink in deep to those you love. They will be drained of every last coffer until the beat is fed.
And for what? What have you gained, what have they truly given? This wealth that was largely made through loopholes and dirty practices. Great wealth built from wealth and nothing more. There are no homes being built, no water being cleaned, they produce no power, no food, they do not repair your streets nor do they build new schools.
They merely take money and make it into more money. Like magic.
But sometimes those smoke and mirrors are pointed at the wrong angle or have the wrong amount of density, amid the fog the audience sees the truth and it all comes apart.
A great crash.
A thundering clatter, pots and pans rain from the heavens. You hear the familiar grunt of a piano as all the keys are slammed at once. The world points fingers, but not a single one seems to lie on this system. They point at presidents, at the poor, at those who do not subscribe to their faith, but never once does anyone point them at the hunters.
Sitting like a deer, contemplating the joys of grass and a warm summers day, more worried that our neighbors will eat our favorite grass and completely ignoring the hungry pride that has descended upon our family.
Their jowls fill with saliva as our silhouettes dance about their eyes.
This is Wage Slavery, that fear that digs deep into our hearts and (if you wish) our souls. It’s a scary thing that grabs you so young and for many does not end until they die. It is wholly unnecessary and exists for no other reason than to fund those who did not truly work for what they have.
I make that blanket statement perhaps unfairly but you are far more likely to be rich because you are rich, than to work hard and become so. This is the way of things, for as long as we watch the deer and not the lions.
And we will, its so cliché that nobody is willing to give it a thought anymore. The idea of the impenetrable, you cannot vote out politicians, and so you cannot clean up banks, and so you cannot be free. People accept it because they are comfortable with it.
Many films have covered it, many books, many people are happy to say it. Perhaps something lies at the core of fear and loathing that drives us. Perhaps there is something about it that the average person actually takes pride in, takes something in.
I think it is because when we are helpless we can blame others. It is not our fault. We didn’t make the system, we were born into it. This many headed hydra is unkillable, for each time you strike it it grows twice fold! Its many maws will tear at us until we are nothing but tattered cloth and scarred bones.
These are lies of course. There is nothing stopping people from being more concerned with policies than ideologies, nothing but themselves. People decide if they will succeed or fail, they may not realize it but that is the way of things. That is the truth of the matter.
We decide if we will be free or not.
I think I’ve made my decision. Some advice on that threat I linked above is quite good. Figure out your expenses and how much it costs to live for a month. Save up three to six months of that sum of money. Then pay in 15% to your retirement, nothing more and nothing less.
Once this is accomplished begin tackling the monster.
Crush my loan beneath my feet so that when I come into work I can say that I do so because I choose to do so. Not because I must, not because I fear that a single misstep by myself (or indeed anyone here with more access to the company coffers than I) will lead to calamity, but because I choose to.
Maybe then I would feel better, maybe then confidence will come back. Maybe then my stomach will stop hurting, maybe I will sleep better, maybe I will smile more.
I love my Father, and it is good now to see that he is happy. He seems to be a different person, he, I hope, learned from his experience and has not regressed back into it. I wish to be as confident as he always has been, I hope that that can be something that grows on me. But I never wish to be in that position.
I’ll pay down my card and go back to how I handled it for so long. An allowance, a convenient way to get some free money (% back on purchases without interest if you pay within 30 days is effectively that). Reduce my financial footprint and become free.
I want to sit down in a restaurant and when the bill comes just slap my money into the fold and not think about it a second more.
The alternative is truly dark, a visceral world of nihilism and sociopaths. I do not wish to venture there nor even see such a place on the horizon.