Sunday, October 20, 2013

What Rips, Bangs, and Burns?

Sometimes I feel like money dwindling in my bank account is like some sort of a cancer, some abnormality draining cell counts, sucking, withering. Life force is bolstered by the cash stuff. 

Money feels like this burning acid that eats through my wallet and I’d like to think of it more like a soothing balm, something sticky, minty fresh that accumulates as a pungent whiff. I wonder if there's a simple approach to how one views money, eh? If it does feel like an acid, yes, it will eat away, but if one looks upon it as some sort of nice ointment, well there you go, it releases a sort of green endorphin that triggers the brain to make actions that result in sudden pulses of cash stuff. There are so many programs out there that teach you how to get rich, but the thought of sitting down and turning off thought in a sort of sickly gleeful worship of cash flow makes money all the more feel like a heap of dried, chunky vomit in one's pocket. There seems to be something skewed in these programs, because the practitioners are getting rich teaching people to be rich. What is the real cultural value? Maybe that's what turns me off, culture and substance have been flattened with cliches and over charged motivation. What goes up must come down, there's a cliche for you I know, but that's gravity. And that's what I've experienced from any Zig Ziglar dabble I've had in the past. You're pumped in the morning, by the end of the afternoon, a bitterness starts to rain down on your head.

I've begun reading this book, The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking by Oliver Burkeman and it examines the self help industry, and the often times reverse effects. For instance, statistically people who buy a self help book buy another one within 7 months. Did that first one even work? But the thing that resonates with me is the idea of embracing uncertainty, bathing in insecurity as a way to uncover actual growth as a human being. Stare your flaws and shortcomings in the face as a way to find a way around those obstacles. Learn from them. Sap power from anxiety by letting it rip through as obscene jitters. There's a tyranny in the self help world of THINK POSITIVE THINK POSITIVE THINK POSITIVE and if you don't do that constantly then you're a grump destining yourself for failure. But the world has harsh fluctuations, and I wonder how we can solve problems if we don't study them, dive into the darkest shit and to come back with scars and a thicker skin.

I'm excited by articles like this - Why Iceland Should be in the News but Is Not - where despite declaring bankruptcy are finding solid progress by shunning international banking and reforming their constitution through an all inclusive participatory democracy, making use of that there internet to engage input. Fascinating! That 1) the internet can be used for constructive discussion in politics instead of just pumping pundit badgering and goading. 2) Since money is made up to begin with, money doesn't stem as an actual resource from the Earth, we have a lot of freedom in terms of reconstructing economies. So perhaps this can save me time in considering whether I should think of cash as an acid or a soothing balm and focus on creating systems of thought. The exchange. That's what it boils down to. A fair and active system of exchange. Like positive thinking putting up a blinder to actual solutions to problems, thinking about money tapes gauze to your eyes and slices paper cuts and takes your time away from actually doing interesting things that might result in a fee for your service.

My blood work came back recently from my first doctors visit in years. I have high cholesterol and high triglycerides. I've started to eat oatmeal for breakfast and dessert almost every day until it’s all good. I remember my triglycerides riding “sky high” back when I was 16 and was on Accutane for bad acne. They had to take me off the medicine pretty soon into treatment due to how it was affecting my triglycerides. I didn't really care what triglycerides were back then, but now I surf articles and animations about their function. I've seen a variety of infomercials for class action lawsuits for other afflictions in Accutane users, things like inflammatory bowel disease. Not yet. 

But, I am well, for I am not the gentleman I saw right after his bike t-boned a car. The remainder of my ride was cautious. Like a granny spinning wheels enough to stay upright. Eyes open. Don’t touch me. I’ll break. Survival of the fittest machine.

There were two girls who stopped with me at the site of the crash. One had an accent. Her boyfriend, she says, doesn't wear a helmet. As we looked on the puddle of blood left by the fallen biker. A helmet-less force. Two other gentlemen stopped. We all talked while the fallen was loaded onto an ambulance, which to his luck, happened to be cruising by. The hitter looked distraught but stoic. He paced. Waiting for the police. The other bikers and I continued to chat. It was the most social I've felt in a long time. At the scene of accidental vehicular brutality.

A second bike accident occurred three days later. Well, Vespa accident. I rounded the corner from George St., about to pull onto Elston but I saw this Vespa guy coming so I stopped. Then as he was passing through the intersection a white beater of a car made a left turn and the Vespa guy t-boned the front, and he flipped up and over the hood somersault style and smacked his forehead on the pavement. There must have a delay of pain, nerve needles of the sharper kind, because he stood, then his legs buckled and he bowed to the ground, pressing his head down into his hands. He asked “am I bleeding?” I said no. He wasn't. A bunch of people were already to his aide. A woman who was walking her daughter to school helped him down the ground. A guy got out of his car to help call 9-1-1 but the operator of a storefront drape shop I think it was, was already on it. On it before I could even pull my leg off my bike and approach the fallen. Another biker in a fluorescent yellow spandex shirt caught up to the scene and mentioned to me that the Vespa guy was driving like an asshole, weaving in and out of cars. Vespa guy also didn’t wear a helmet. I later did some testing of physics with my own helmet, simulating impact points and noticed both riders, had they been wearing a helmet, would have protected their heads from immediate concrete smackery.

I stuck around for a few minutes but the guy was well tended to, one was asking him questions to test his alertness. “What’s your name?” Simon. “How old are you?” 33. “Where do you work?” Verizon. (I changed some details as not to call out clues to his identity). He was conversing, but out of it. A concussion most likely. The lady with the daughter kept snapping her fingers to keep him from nodding off because he wanted to close his eyes.

Helmets. I will sing their praises. I will champion their cause. Protect the damn noggin my fellow bikers.

So cycling back (pun intended) to how I started this post, in talking money worries, and working my way up to bike accidents, I'm thinking heavy on what really, actually rips, bangs and burns us people. And money just seems to be a pathetic weapon yet we fear it more than any object.