Liberal opinions v. Conservative opinions on important issues, based entirely on things I’ve heard from my most obnoxious liberal and conservative friends.

When I was a young warthog, my knowledge of the United States’ political system was, perhaps forgivably, quite limited. Since my mushy, porridge-like grade-schooler brain mostly just contained incorrect facts about dinosaurs and schemes to steal Pogs from my friends at recess, my political acumen was more or less non-existent. I basically thought that, if you wanted to be nice, you were a democrat, and if you wanted to be rich, you were a republican. This caused me no small amount of youthful angst, because I had to admit in my secret heart of hearts, that although I knew I was supposed to want to be nice, and for the most part I did really want to be nice, I also wanted to be really rich.

Now, even though I have grown, and matured somewhat, and have a slightly more accurate understanding of liberal vs conservative political philosophies, I must admit that I still don’t really understand where I should fall on the political spectrum. I am not, after all, a 2 dimensional cartoonish caricature of a human being. I believe that there are relevant points made by those looney libertarians, and I salute the refreshing optimism of the other even more minor political movements. There are facets of the Democratic party’s platform that I absolutely support, and facets I whole-heartedly disagree with. Likewise, there are facets of the Republican platform that I support, and facets I despise.

At least, I think there are. It’s hard to tell really, because no conservatives I know will tell me what their platform really is or how it would benefit me.

Based on the year of my birth, I am considered an elder millennial. Consequently, most of the people I regularly interact with in a social setting are also millennials. Maybe it is due to a weird and completely coincidental confluence of circumstances, and not at all an indicator of the health of the parties as a whole, but, at least within the millennial age range, the demographic makeup of my circle of outspokenly liberal friends is wildly different than my circle of outspokenly conservative friends.

Not only are they more ethnically and culturally diverse, which I consider to always be a good thing, but my outspokenly liberal friends also include medical doctors, people with PhDs, masters degrees, and all sorts of other graduate certifications. They read, and research, debate and philosophize. They were the type of kids who spent recess in the library, or robotics lab. They are incredibly smart individuals. Way smarter than me. Look, I am a dumb guy, but I’m smart enough to recognize that I am a dumb guy. So when people who are much smarter than me tell me something, I know I should listen. With them, I am able to have substantive policy discussions, and even though I may not agree with every point they make, we can talk for hours, and when I am demonstrably wrong they can and absolutely do dunk on me with clear, concise, factually robust information. I mean it, these nerds pull out graphs. They bring the heat, and I walk away from a debate with them feeling smarter, even if I lost.

My most outspoken conservative millennial-aged friends on the other hand…well, they’re fucking dumb. Seriously, they have the curiosity of driveway gravel and the unearned self-confidence of walking Dunning-Kruger case studies. While my liberal leftist contemporaries were reading Michener in the school library, my MAGA pals were smoking discarded cigarette butts, huffing rubber cement, and scratching dicks and swastikas onto bathroom stall doors. DISCLAIMER – this is in no way implying that all liberals are brilliant and well-educated and all conservatives are idiots. That is clearly not the case. I am only saying that, of the people my age that I personally regularly interact with, in my particular circle of friends, the most outspoken liberals are actual fucking geniuses, and the most outspoken conservatives are…not that.

Because of this, if I ask the liberals I am acquainted with about their leftist policies and the Democratic platform, they are more than happy to share their theories with me, and it usually results in me going, huh, that makes a lot of sense, I think you might be right. When I ask the conservatives I know about their right-leaning ideologies and the Republican party’s goals, the entire sum of their platform is basically “Fuck Democrats. Fuck the Left. Fuck Liberals.”

Now, that’s all well and good, but… it doesn’t really address any of my concerns, or give me a fair representation of the Republican party’s platform. Like, at all.

I know that a general explanation of the Republican party’s platform is a simple web browser search away. I know that, traditionally, “conservative” values include support for limited government, free markets, and individual liberties *as long as those liberties don’t clash with their own viewpoints*, but I don’t really know what that means for me and the things I care about, and my illiterate conservative friends don’t know enough big words to explain it to me. So maybe a wise stranger on the internet can help.

Here are a list of things I worry about, as well as paraphrased responses I’ve received from my more liberal friends, which they have backed up with statistical data and facts. Hopefully a clever reader can help fill in the blanks regarding the GOP’s plan to resolve these issues, without resorting to hypotheticals, what-ifs, and inaccurate comparisons to other countries, societies, and historical eras, so that I can finally make a fair comparison between the two.

Problem: Cost of living has been increasing rapidly over time, but worker pay has not kept up.

Life keeps getting more and more expensive, but income for the vast majority of American citizens has not really risen to match it. In 1980, minimum wage was $3.10/hr., or $10.27 in today’s dollars when adjusted for inflation. Currently, the federally mandated minimum wage is $7.25/hr. So it’s actually 3 dollars less than it was forty years ago.

Worker productivity, on the other hand, has increased. So workers are working longer hours, more efficiently, creating more profits for their employers, but they are not receiving increased compensation for their efforts. Well, who is? Where is all this money going!?

It turns out that over the same period of time (1980-2020), CEO pay has grown 940%, while regular worker compensation has only grown 12%. So that’s where a lot of the money has gone, to make the rich richer.

This was not always the case. Most Americans believe that a rising tide should lift all boats—that as the economy expands, everybody should reap the rewards. And for two-and-a-half decades beginning in the late 1940s, this was how our economy worked. Over this period, the pay (wages and benefits) of typical workers rose in tandem with productivity (how much workers produce per hour). In other words, as the economy became more efficient and expanded, everyday Americans benefited correspondingly through better pay. But in the 1980s, this started to change. From 1948-1979, productivity went up 108.1% while worker pay went up 93.2%. That’s still good, that means we were mostly getting paid for our work. From 1980-2018 however, productivity went up an additional 69.6%, but pay only went up 11.6%.

I think that’s a huge problem. Normal people are working harder than ever, but not being justly compensated for the labor they are providing, and the middle class is shrinking rapidly. Soon we may not even have a middle class anymore, just a few insanely wealthy neo-bourgeoise overlords living in mountaintop palaces while the rest of us toil wearily in their underground sugar caves and are periodically hunted for sport.

Liberal Solution: While everything from housing, to healthcare, to education skyrocket in price, workers are getting paid pennies for their labor. I know what the Liberal Left wants to do about this obvious problem. They want to increase the minimum wage to actually reflect the minimum amount needed to survive, and consequently promote increased wages across all jobs. That makes sense to me. If a human being sells at least 40 hours of their life a week to their employer, no matter what job they are doing, they deserve to at least be paid the bare minimum actually needed to survive. Minimum Wage is not meant to be a “starter” wage or a “practice” wage. It is not just teenagers working a few hours after school for video game money that earn minimum wage after all. In fact, almost 90% of the people making minimum wage are adults over 20 years old. They are real people, with real bills, who cannot survive on their current income.

Conservative Solution: The market will decide? I don’t know. Do conservatives even think it’s a problem that normal people are getting poorer and poorer while like 13 people hoard most of the wealth? I don’t see how reduced government regulation and unrestrained capitalism solves this issue, and no conservative has bothered to explain it to me. The fact that we need child labor laws, and that American companies sidestep that restriction by building sweat shops which exploit child slave labor overseas in the pursuit of higher profits seems like pretty definitive proof that regulations are necessary. We can’t just trust businesses to do the right thing, if that were the case then a federally mandated minimum wage would be unnecessary, because all businesses would already pay their workers a living wage, and not the bare minimum that they are required to by law. The golden era that the MAGA crowd nostalgically reminisces about through rose colored glasses when they say Make America Great Again was a time when American workers were well paid, and the income gap between workers and CEOs was much smaller, so you would think the GOP would be onboard with raising the minimum wage to a survivable level. That is, of course, assuming that middle class prosperity is what they’re referring to when they chant MAGA, and not like, segregating the blacks and preventing women from opening bank accounts again.

Problem: National debt and Taxes.

The GOP playbook since Reagan has basically been: Promise to lower taxes to get elected. Lower taxes and watch the deficit skyrocket. Lose office to Democrats. Complain about the deficit as if it were the Democrats fault. Prevent the Democrats from passing any useful legislation or achieving anything while they are in office. Complain about how the Democrats never pass any useful legislation or achieve anything. Promise to lower taxes. Get re-elected. Rinse/Repeat.

In 1960, wealthy Americans were taxed at 56%. In 1980, that dropped to 47%. In 2020, it has plummeted to 23%, and is now actually lower than the tax rate for the average American household, which in 2020 was 24.2%. The top 400 families currently have more wealth than the bottom 60 percent of households, while the top 0.1 percent own as much as the bottom 80 percent. Bruh.

Championed by the GOP, the theory of trickle down economics has had 40 years to bear fruit, and it has definitively shown itself to be a complete sham. Making it easier for the super rich to get even richer has only resulted in further hoarding of wealth by the lucky few. The greatest indicator of future wealth and success, BY FAR, is not a person’s intelligence, or work ethic, or anything they can actually pat themselves on the back for. It’s familial wealth. Rich people are rich because they are born rich. It’s way easier to work your butt off and create a company from the ground up if you’re starting that company with a massive cash infusion from mommy and daddy. Economic policies specifically favoring the wealthy and privileged have done nothing to benefit the vast majority of American citizens, and have in fact contributed to an increased national debt, and burgeoning wealth inequality in an increasingly stratified society. In the 1950s and 1960s, the “Great” times so constantly referenced by the MAGA crowd, when the economy was booming, the wealthiest Americans paid a top income tax rate of 91%.  Today, the top rate is 43.4%. In our current system, while the richest among us are coddled and protected, the most vulnerable are forced to fend for themselves.

Liberal Solution: Make the rich pay “their fair share”. Democrats want to increase taxes on the uber-wealthy, not even back up to where it used to be historically, but just a little, just enough to close some glaring loopholes being exploited by the rich, in order to take some of the burden off of the working poor and shrinking middle class who have been footing the bill since Reagan. Democrats argue that increasing taxes on the wealthiest people and biggest corporations is fair because not only are they most able to easily pay that amount without any increase in hardship or decrease in quality of life, unlike their poorer fellow citizens, they are exactly who benefits the most from the products paid for by those taxes. The wealthy and corporations rely on, and benefit far more than your average Jack or Jill, from government investment in infrastructure, law enforcement, or military, and their continued profits rely on a healthy, well-educated workforce that is protected by a robust social safety net which reduces crime and promotes productivity. Since the super rich have more money to spend, and receive more benefit from the government services that our taxes pay for than poorer people do, Liberals feel that increasing taxes for the super rich makes sense.

Conservative Solution: I don’t think they consider this a problem? They pretty much universally hate taxes, right? Unless it’s to pay for tanks and bombs? Even if my conservative pals making $30k-$50k a year would not be affected by increased tax rates for wealthy people, and would almost certainly indirectly benefit from the funds collected, as far as I know they’re against the idea just because the Democrats support it. Conservatives moan constantly about the national debt, and blame the Democrats, but during my lifetime at least, the national debt and budgetary deficits actually increase more during Republican presidencies, and the economy has actually done better during Democratic presidencies, so when Republicans claim that they are the more fiscally responsible party, the data would indicate otherwise and they seem a little hypocritical to me.

Problem: Healthcare Costs Big Large

Americans spend twice as much on healthcare now as they did in the 1980s, and as we know, we aren’t all getting paid twice as much as we were in the 1980s, so every penny of that increase is felt. We pay so much, not because the actual cost of healthcare is that high, but because our For Profit healthcare system is allowed to price gouge us viciously, from charging $10 for a single cough drop, to charging thousands of dollars on life saving medications that cost $3 to produce. Since our income has not also doubled from the 1980s, this massive increase in healthcare costs is clearly an issue. I have a friend that is self-employed, and a few years ago he got injured in a motorcycle accident. Since he was self-employed, he was not protected by an employer health insurance plan, and since he could not afford the wildly expensive private plans available then, he was un-insured at the time of the accident, and his medical bills for a relatively minor surgery were so high that he lost everything. His house, his car, his boat, his RV, everything that he had worked hard his entire life to build for himself were gone practically overnight.

Although it is cruelly uncompassionate to do so, you can argue that he brought this financial ruin on himself, by exercising his freedoms and choosing to roll the dice and live without health insurance, but there really were no attainable options for him to obtain, and besides, other friends of mine that have employer funded health insurance and have also had the bad luck of getting sick or injured, have shown that their situation is not much better, with thousands of dollars still paid out of pocket, even though they pay a large portion of their paycheck into health insurance every month. That’s right, even people who have done “everything right” and have insurance, and an HSA, and savings, are still being financially ruined by a single illness or injury because of our current system.

We KNOW that our system is not the only option. We KNOW that almost every other developed country has a less barbaric healthcare system, where people can receive the care they need without going bankrupt. We KNOW that the healthcare we receive is not notably better than other countries, it’s just more expensive. And yet, here we are, charging hundreds and thousands of dollars for services and medications that don’t actually cost nearly that much to provide.

Liberal Solution: Medicare for All, or some other form of single payer health insurance. When economists analyze the US health care system and look for inefficiencies, they look first at the for-profit insurance provider. Overhead at private insurers in the US is in the range of 15% of total costs, while overhead at Medicare is about 2%. Medicare for All would eliminate the role of the for-profit private insurer, resulting in massive reductions in administrative costs. These savings – hundreds of billions of dollars a year – could be funneled into providing care for the 30 million Americans without health insurance and the nearly 100 million Americans who are under-insured, without increasing overall costs of financing health care.

Additionally, the best way to control the artificially inflated costs of healthcare in the US is through a Medicare for All universal system that would use regional global budgeting and eliminate fee-for-service medicine. Hospital and doctor costs would be controlled through regional management and pharmaceutical costs could be controlled through negotiation. This would be good for both doctors and patients—there would no longer be an incentive for a physician to perform certain medical procedures or prescribe certain medicines because they would make more money providing them, patients would receive more medically necessary care, and health care resources would be distributed in a more regionally appropriate manner.

According to Democrats, by controlling prices and getting rid of the private insurance industry, Expanded and Improved Medicare for All would save hundreds of billions of dollars per year that would be directly translated into needed medical care for more people. Even with the expansion in coverage and benefits to every resident of America, ALL recent estimates—both liberal AND conservative—of an Expanded and Improved Medicare for All system show that national health expenditures would be decreased by trillions of dollars over the next 10 years. 

Conservative Solution: There doesn’t appear to be one. If there is, we can’t know what it is, because they haven’t presented it, and if they have, my conservative friends certainly haven’t heard of it, because when asked for their thoughts on healthcare costs, their response has basically been “Obamacare is bad! Michelle Obama is a tranny! Illegal Immigrants! Build the Wall!” which… isn’t an appropriate or sensical response. Trump had 4 years to present his promised healthcare plan, and we got nothing. Now, nobody is going to argue that the liberal plan of Medicare for All would have an easy, painless, or even efficient rollout. There are problems and concerns that would need to be addressed, but at least they have a plan. The Republican plans submitted to date look like an undergraduate’s half-finished homework assignment, and basically amount to – Get rid of the Affordable Care Act to save money, and replace it with the Dying If You’re Sick plan. They’re unfinished at best, and malicious and cruel at worst.

Problem: Education costs have, you guessed it, skyrocketed!

Like healthcare, the cost of college has doubled since the 1980s. At most universities and colleges, it has gone up even more than that. In a depressing lack of a twist, I must remind you that, no, unfortunately, income has not also doubled. Consequently, we now have an entire generation of people who have been crippled by sky high student loan debt, and have also graduated into a series of economic recessions and disasters that have created a super competitive job market, where they are fighting for the privilege to be overworked and underpaid in positions where their limited income will never be able to pay off their loan debt (or pay for astronomically inflated home prices, or healthcare). This has led to countless millennials with college degrees working 40/50/60+ hours a week at multiple jobs, but still living at home with their aging parents, or renting with multiple roommates, and putting off marriage or having children because they literally cannot afford them, and meanwhile, older generations, who were able to pay cash for college with a part time summer job, and immediately had corporations lining up to suck their dicks and offer them lucrative positions with pension benefits as soon as they had their degrees, or who were able to secure high paying manufacturing jobs right out of high school, and to buy a house for 16 cents at 19 years old, having the GALL to claim that millennials aren’t achieving those big milestones of adulthood because they are immature and lazy.

All this, in a time when most of those aforementioned manufacturing jobs have dried up, and there simply aren’t enough high-paying blue collar positions available in our highly out-sourced modern economy, so not everybody can go work in a factory, or go to trade school and become electricians, or welders, or plumbers, or any of the other valuable skilled technical careers that you can obtain without a 4 year+ college degree. At the end of the day, the majority of the jobs that pay living wages nowadays, like it or not, are jobs that require a college degree, so college is more important and essential than ever. The fact that it is being priced out of attainability for most Americans without coming from a wealthy family or without crippling your future economic prospects by shouldering tens of thousands of dollars worth of debt, is a major issue.

Liberal Solution: Progressives have toyed with the idea of forgiving federal student loan debt to help struggling citizens survive and thrive in our troubled economy. Proponents say this will allow millions of struggling Americans to save more money, which will then be used to stimulate the economy, all while directly benefiting lower and middle class families. Detractors say “I had to pay my student loans, why should they get theirs forgiven” to which I say, sometimes it’s okay to want good things to happen to other people. Democrats argue that instead of spending money to bail out multi-million and billion dollar corporations, we should instead spend the money helping normal people.

Democrats have also promoted the idea of free public colleges and universities for lower income students, paid for by taxes. Personally, I’m all for that, and I’m happy to pay for it. The government is already taking a quarter of my paycheck, I’d be much happier if that money went toward educating America, instead of bombing little Afghani children. We spend more than everyone else on our military BY A LOT, and I’d rather have those trillions of dollars go toward improving the lives of American citizens, than taking the lives of people in other countries just so that we can enrich a few oil executives. That’s the type of America First policy I can get behind.

Especially because education, as we can clearly see in this time of QAnon and anti-intellectual conspiracy theorist congress members, is so very important. College is so very important. Not necessarily because of WHAT is taught there, but because college teaches students HOW TO LEARN. It teaches students data literacy, how to review and reflect on the information that are receiving, to look and test for bias and inaccuracies. The sad truth is, I really don’t remember much of the specific information I learned in my college courses, but I do retain the skills I honed while I was studying for those courses. The information itself may fade, but my ability to examine and assess new information remains. Those life skills are so, so important, and always will be, since we are constantly bombarded by false, misleading, or misinterpreted information on TV and from the internet. By being forced to submit your own research, tests, and essays to the rigorous academic scrutiny needed to successfully earn a higher education degree, regardless of the major or course of study you pursue, College creates an invaluable bullshit filter for weak, faulty, flawed or biased information that is applicable throughout the rest of your life.

Conservative Solution: Like most conservative solutions, their plan is to do nothing. I say that facetiously, but that really is their platform. Conservatives agree that education costs are too damn high, but they do not think the government should be involved in any potential solutions. In fact, they want to get government out of education altogether, and stop providing federally underwritten student loans, instead freeing up the market exclusively to the private sector. That, somehow, is supposed to then result in reduced prices due to healthy competition amongst student loan lenders. How very…optimistic.

That’s really the main difference between Liberal and Conservative philosophies as far as I can tell.

Conservatives believe that the government should do less, regulate less, restrict less, cost less. They believe that governments are guaranteed to be bloated, inefficient, corrupt, and greedy, and that individual people, businesses, and NGOs are shining beacons of intelligence, efficiency, benevolence, and generosity. They therefore think that governmental oversight and interference is an unnecessary evil, and that when left to their own devices, humans will create utopian paradises where nobody is taken advantage of, and everybody works together in harmony.

While I agree whole-heartedly that many governmental organizations are mired in bureaucracy, and move with the glacial slowness of shifting tectonic plates, and operate with the efficiency of high displacement big block V8 motors from the 1960s heyday of American muscle cars, a certain national emergency occurring in Texas right now due to their independent, privatized electrical grid refusing to adhere to governmental requests to winterize their infrastructure in an attempt to cut costs and increase profits, and the inevitable collapse of that system following *precedented* but infrequent winter weather, has resulted in massive multi-day power outages, and subsequent deaths and property damages due to hypothermia, carbon monoxide poisoning, fires, and floods from frozen and burst plumbing pipes, is a stark reminder that most people are indeed lazy, greedy, and short-sighted, and that a certain amount of governmental oversight is probably unfortunately necessary to protect us from ourselves.

But then again, I am biased. I KNOW I’m biased. That’s the entire point of this post. I have been drawn in by the sweet siren songs of the brilliant liberals I know, who provide me with clear, concise, substantive information backed by replicable and reviewed data, while the conservatives just spew verbal diarrhea, and share inflammatory and inaccurate Facebook memes.

Some other topics I am passionate about that my most outspoken liberal friends constantly discuss are:

  • The war on drugs/mass incarceration/ and the for profit prison system.
  • Our flawed justice system, police brutality, and systemic racism.
  • and white privilege.

They acknowledge these problems exist, and they seek ways to solve them.

My conservative friends don’t seem to give a crap, or refuse to admit that these are problems, and I’ve never heard them talk about ways to solve them. All they seem to care about are –

  • Immigrants
  • Abortions
  • “Socialism”
  • Gun control
  • Hating the Libs

I’ve never been bothered by an immigrant, and most of the ones I know, legal or otherwise, have been wonderful hardworking people who have improved my life with their presence, so that’s not really as much of a concern for me as say NOT BEING ABLE TO AFFORD TO GO TO THE DOCTOR, so I don’t really connect with the conservatives and their fixation on that topic. Likewise, I am incapable of carrying a baby, so I am unqualified to weigh in on the abortion debate, and I think that it is a women’s issue involving women’s bodies, that should be resolved by women, WHEREAS WORKERS NOT BEING PAID ENOUGH TO SURVIVE WHILE CEOS AND BUSINESS OWNERS ARE RICHER THAN EVER is an everybody problem and therefore one I have a much stronger opinion on. So, if I want to talk about the evils of socialism with people that don’t know what socialism is, and slavishly label anything progressive as “socialism”, great, I can do that with the conservatives I know. If I want to talk about how gun control bad with a group of people who refuse to acknowledge basic statistics about gun use, gun ownership, and gun violence, perfect, I know just who to call up.

I know what problems concern me. I know that the liberals are also concerned about those problems, and I know what their plans are to solve those problems. I don’t know if conservatives share my concerns, and even when they say they do, I don’t know what plans, if any, they have to solve them.

But I want to. Because currently, it seems to me that conservatives hate the government and don’t want to rely on it for anything, but also don’t want to come with any alternative solutions to our modern problems. It seems crazy to me that the conservative’s entire platform seems to be – privatize everything because the government can’t do anything right, but they’re IN the government ACTIVELY working to prevent the government from doing anything right, just to prove their point. It’s like, if you imagine the country is a ship, and our government is the crew. Half the crew are the liberals, who are just trying to steer the ship and keep it afloat, while the other half are conservatives, who are saying this ship doesn’t work, it’s going to sink, there shouldn’t even be a crew, we should let the passengers sail it instead, all while they’re cutting ropes and drilling holes in the hull to guarantee it sinks. Like yeah, of course the government doesn’t work, YOU’RE BREAKING IT ON PURPOSE. You can’t complain about inefficiencies, when you’re the inefficiency.

At least, that’s what I think, mostly because I’m a dumb guy and my most outspokenly liberal friends are super smart and super persuasive geniuses, whereas my most outspokenly conservative friends are even dumber than me. If I’m going to be shifted toward conservativism, I’m going to need some friendly conservative geniuses to speak up and lure me over to their side with shiny baubles like data, science, and reason. Sadly, easily refuted lies and incorrect Facebook memes just aren’t going to cut it.

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A Merry COVID Christmas

It is Christmas Eve. A time for peace and goodwill. A time for love and family. A time for tradition.

At least, it should be.

I do not practice very many traditions. I have no interest in repetitive ritual for the sake of historical precedent, so the only traditions I take part in are ones that I actually enjoy, and the only reason I do them is because they are fun, and not because they are tradition. That makes the end of this depressing year extra disappointing, because almost all of the very few traditions I hold dear are centered around Christmas, and thanks to the Covid pandemic, I will get to do exactly zero of them.

And so I cry and cry.

NORMALLY, in the weeks or months leading up to Christmas, my mother gets together with her lady friends, and takes part in a cookie bake off. Basically, they all make a million different cookies at home, then get together at my mom’s house and make a billion more, and then trade with each other so that they have countless sweet, sugary, delicious treats to share with their families throughout the holiday season. As a big, hairy, sausage-fingered beast man, I am not, and have never been welcome at the lady cookie party, which is absolutely fine because I’m fairly certain they all just drink wine, braid their tampon strings, and bitch about how much they hate their husbands and children while baking those sweet sweet cooks. But this year, the girls didn’t get to have their sinful gathering, and that blows because I WANT THEM COOKIES. If I’m not 63 pounds heavier and hobbling around on feet painfully swollen with diabetic gout by the end of the holiday season as sugar crystals the size of rock candy squeeze through my rubbery veins while my pancreas gives up, packs a bindle on a stick and squirts out my asshole to hop a convenient cargo train west, then what even is the point of the holidays?

To add insult to injury, not only do I not get to enjoy an unwise amount of homemade cookie treats this year, I also don’t get to visit with my family.

Every year since the beginning of time, my mother’s family has gotten together on Christmas Eve, and in recent decades the party has been hosted at my Aunt and Uncle’s house in Massachusetts. My mom has 376 siblings, and most of them had 12-15 children, and several of them have had children of their own, so on the day before Christmas an army of relatives large enough to sack mighty Carthage fill up my Aunt and Uncle’s cute little suburban ranch home until it’s packed tighter than a pre-1980s YMCA Men’s locker room on elephant walk night, and then they just sit, and eat, and talk, and laugh, and that’s it. That’s the whole party, and I love every minute of it. Almost none of my relatives even drink or do drugs at the party because they’re fucking NERDS, and you don’t even understand how much I love them. It’s not going to be much of a Christmas at all if I can’t drive up to Massachusetts, smuggle booze into my relative’s house, eat my weight in homemade meatballs, then vape weed, blast sneaker bumps, and rip shots in the dark basement with Mistress Kay and my two sleazebag cousins while all of the well-liked, well-adjusted cousins and other relatives gather upstairs around the Christmas tree and sing carols or whatever it is that those wholesome nerds do. God Damn I love them all so much and I miss them already. Missing out on the Christmas Eve party this year hits hard.

Not the least because, after the much anticipated Christmas Eve dinner party, I would then have perhaps the most cherished portion of our Christmas traditions to look forward to. I speak, of course, about the sibling slumber party. Usually, this beloved event would occur in Tiny Town, the legendary home of my ancestors, the 14 square foot farmhouse my grandmother and her sixteen siblings (that’s the actual number, not an exaggeration) were raised in, and the place where my mother, sisters, and I would spend Christmas Eve night eagerly awaiting Santa’s arrival. This place had everything. Uncomfortably low ceilings. Saggy wood floors. A fuzzy 19 inch CRT TV with attached VHS player. Grandmama ignoring us while playing solitaire on the kitchen table with her hearing aids turned off like a total fucking savage. Zero comfortable places to sleep. It was paradise.

Much to Wife Kay and my sister’s husband’s consternation, we continued this slumber party tradition well into our adulthoods, and would be happily continuing it this year too, albeit not in Tiny Town, since Grandmama now resides in a nursing home and Tiny Town is inhabited I assume by the Keebler Elves, but thanks to COVID, we not only don’t get our sibling sleep over in any location, we don’t even get to open presents together and have breakfast Christmas morning because it turns out my family HATES me and told me that I’m not welcome in any of their homes. Instead, Wife Kay and I have been generously invited to stand on a snow bank in my sister’s yard and peer through her window while her family drinks hot cocoa, eats candy canes and opens presents in sinful Christmas splendor without us, only pausing to periodically throw egg shells, coffee grounds, and other breakfast rubbish at us to eat from the ground like the wretched scum they think we are.

It’s okay, I only cried a little when my very own family told me that they wanted nothing to do with me this year, and that they’d rather chop off their ding-dongs than let me into their houses for even a second. I figured, at least Wife Kay’s family still loves me and we can still do our Christmas tradition with them, which would be to visit her dad’s house after breakfast while still in our pajamas, open presents there, and then watch a movie.


That is not the case either. They, like my family, have also made it clear that if we even set foot on their property, they would shoot me in the face with a blunderbuss full of ghost peppers and rusty nails.

Even though I work from home and am literally starved for human contact, and both Sadness Kay and I always wear masks and socially distance on the very rare occasions that we do leave the house, and we haven’t had so much as a sniffle all year, and we’ve passed multiple negative Covid Tests, none of our “loved” ones want to see us, none of my beloved Christmas traditions are occurring, and Sadness Kay and I will be spending a lonely Christmas alone crying beside our undecorated tree and opening the zero presents we got each other because we’re fucking poor, so 2020 is clearly going out with a last few kicks to my dangling veiny nut sack like the total bitch of a year that it was.

Thanks Obama.

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Why I support Peaceful Protests…and then Rioting.

I don’t like having to make this post. I really don’t. I prefer using this website to talk about wizards, spaceships, and other dumb bullshit like that. You know, my interests.

Being constantly stressed out and agitated about the current state of our society is decidedly NOT one of my interests. And yet, here we are.

For those of my readers who live abroad, and are watching the unrest in the United States without a full understanding of the causes and reasonings behind it, I will explain.

There are A LOT of murders in this country. For the most part, they are ignored outside of the communities immediately impacted by them, because they are just considered part of the cost of doing business in this great nation. If you live in a country filled with literally hundreds of millions of guns, enormous wealth disparity, little to no social welfare programs to help impoverished and highly segregated communities improve, expensive higher education, unaffordable for-profit healthcare, and a high cost of living with stagnant wages and little hope for upward mobility, then murders are going to happen. For the most part, they are accepted with a weary resignation because, oh well, you’ve got to pay to play, Thank You, Come Again.

The reason there are currently so many protests and riots occurring is because a certain type of murder has recently gained national attention. I’ll give you a list of murders, let’s see if you can guess which type I am talking about. Please note, this is not a comprehensive list of murder scenarios. We’ve got loads more because we’re so good at it, but this should be enough to prove my point.

Scenario 1 – A white person kills a black person. The murderer is arrested and goes to jail.

Scenario 2 – A black person kills a white person. The murderer is arrested and goes to jail.

Scenario 3 – A black person kills a black person. The murderer is arrested and goes to jail.

Scenario 4 – A white person kills a white person. The murderer is arrested and goes to jail.

Scenario 5 – A white person kills a black person, in broad daylight, on camera, with witnesses. The murderer is not arrested, does not go to jail, and continues living their lives.

Scenario 6 – A police officer kills a black person, in broad daylight, on camera, with witnesses. The murderer is not arrested, does not go to jail, and continues living their lives.

In scenarios 1-4, there are no protests. Why not? Surely their horrible crimes are just as appalling as in scenarios 5 and 6? Yes, of course they are. But the criminal responsible for taking a life was promptly identified, arrested, tried and convicted in a court of law, and sentenced to punishment. So what is there to protest? Justice, as unsatisfying and empty as it must be to the victim’s loved ones, has been served.

In scenario 5 and 6, there are protests, not just because the murder happened, and not just because of the identity or skin color of the victim, but because of the LACK OF JUSTICE. The murderer goes free, despite overwhelming evidence tying them to the crime, simply because of the badge on their shirt or the color of their skin.

There are protests, because a white man can get away with killing a black man just by saying that the black man was spooky and he deserved to die, and the justice system will shrug and say, oh, in that case, sorry for bothering you, you’re free to go. Imagine if instead a black man killed a white man because he thought the white man was spooky. The black man wouldn’t even make it to the courthouse, he’d be hung from the nearest lamp post or tree limb, and a significant portion of our country would celebrate that the monster got what he deserved.

That is why the Black Lives Matter movement exists. Not because they don’t think All Lives Matter. Not because they think Black Lives Matter More. Just because we clearly need to be reminded that Black Lives Matter Too. All the movement wants is equal protection under the law for people of color. Equal rights. Equal consideration.

If your instinctual response to Black Lives Matter is – No! All Lives Matter! or even worse, No! Blue Lives Matter!, you really need to take a step back and consider why you find the idea of Black Lives Matter so unpalatable. I’ve made this metaphor before, but it is apt, so I will repeat myself.

If I break my arm, and go to the doctor to fix that broken arm, I expect the doctor to do something about the arm, not to ignore my arm and yell – No, All Bones Matter!

Of Course All Bones Matter. Nobody ever said they didn’t. But Maybe, just MAYBE we could focus on the BROKEN ARM SPECIFICALLY RIGHT NOW.

The most recent spate of protests are in response to the equally recent spate of police officers killing unarmed black men and women, sometimes “accidentally”, sometimes on purpose, and receiving no punishment for their actions, which is particularly upsetting because the people committing the murders were empowered by us to serve and protect our communities, and they are using powers, funds, and protections we provided to them, in order to take our lives with impunity.

If any other citizen of this country were to say, break into your house and shoot you while you were asleep, or kneel on your neck until you died, or shoot you in the back seven times, or shoot you while trying to shoot somebody else, or shoot you in front of your girlfriend and children while you are trying to comply with their demands, or shoot you while you’re laying on the ground with your hands in the air trying to comply with their demands, and all of these activities were on camera, with witnesses, well that citizen would likely be going to jail for the rest of their lives.

When the police kill somebody in the aforementioned scenarios, they get paid leave, investigate themselves, decide that they are innocent of wrongdoing, and go on about their lives without any further consequences. THAT is why there is protesting happening.

Please note, this is NOT an indictment of all police officers. In fact, I believe most police officers are perfectly adequate at their jobs, and really are motivated to serve and protect their communities. Some are even true heroes. I repeat – MANY POLICE OFFICERS ARE GOOD PEOPLE WHO TRY THEIR BEST AT THEIR JOB.


If a police officer is BAD, if they are not interested in serving and protecting, if they in fact are prone to excessive use of force, or are violently racist, or are murderous bastards, they are protected, and do not get in trouble or receive justice for their unjust actions. THAT is why the protests and riots are occurring. NOT because all police officers are bad. NOT even because most police officers are bad. The protests and riots are occurring because the few bad police officers who exist and do bad things do not receive punishment for their crimes

Even the most jaded and bigoted American would hopefully support other American’s rights to peacefully protest when they witness an injustice. It is after all a right given to us by the VERY FIRST AMENDMENT TO OUR NATION’S CONSTITUTION. And I don’t think the protesters demands are especially unreasonable, since they basically boil down to  – Stop killing us please, and if you absolutely have to kill us, at least get in trouble for it!

A lot of people are quick to justify their disgust with the BLM movement and protesters by saying oh, I would support them, if only they weren’t causing damage. I agree with their argument, in principle, and I guess they are human beings and citizens of this country and deserve all of the rights I enjoy, BUT they better not cause a fuss about it! As soon as that happens, the protesters goals and desires are no longer valid! They are quick to condemn those protesters as soon as the protest turns violent.

I am not one of those people.

The reason for protest is to exert societal pressure to instigate institutional change. The people have identified a problem, and have gathered in large numbers to incentivize their duly elected government to resolve that problem.

But what happens if the government ignores them? What if the government does worse, and attacks them to silence their message and compel them to obey? What if, every time the protesters peacefully gather to have their voices heard, the government illegally breaks their gatherings up with batons and guns and tear gas and dogs and horses and tanks and masked men in unmarked vans? What if, every time a protester stands up for their rights, a masked and uniformed thug is waiting with baton raised to strike them back down, and then if the protester lifts their arm to block the baton instead of just meekly accepting having their skull rearranged by a length of steel pipe, faceless government goons will immediately point fingers at the protester and go look! He’s not peaceful! He’s a dangerous revolutionary! Let’s get him!

After years, and decades, and centuries of attempts at non-violent protest and incremental change with no success, should the protesters just pat each other on the back and say, oh well, we tried politely asking to not be murdered with impunity, but the government wants to keep murdering us with impunity, so I guess we’ll just go back to getting murdered with impunity? Should they quietly return home, convinced that they shouldn’t have asked for justice, because it was a silly request anyway?

I say no! If the government you are trying to reach refuses to negotiate in good faith with you to alleviate your concerns, it is time to escalate. It is absolutely time to break some windows, set some fires, cause some property damage, because you know what? Those types of escalations WORK. If the government you are protesting ignores your protest, the resulting inevitable violence is the government’s fault.

Take the Boston Tea Party, a famous bit of property destruction perpetrated by our nations Forefathers against the crown. They had attempted years of peaceful negotiation to have their concerns addressed by the lawful government of the time, but their non-violent efforts had gotten them nowhere. So then, understandably frustrated, they resorted to violence and destruction of property, and we consider those vandalizing, destructive, violent revolutionaries to be  heroes because of it, while the unreasonable and unresponsive British government they were at odds with is the villain!

If you have been pushed down so far that the only way to get your voice heard is on the tail end of a molotov cocktail, then throw that bangy boy. If you can’t make your point quietly, make it loudly. That’s as American as apple pie and over-priced insulin.

Let’s talk about Kenosha, Wisconsin. 

Kenosha has recently been rocked by protests and riots that have drawn a lot of controversy, and created a lot of anger from both sides.

What we know for certain, is that On Aug. 23, 2020, Kenosha Police Officer Rusten Sheskey shot an unarmed black man named Jacob Blake seven times in the back after Blake walked away from officers and opened the driver side door to a small SUV which contained his three children. The altercation and subsequent shooting was filmed.

Blake, although paralyzed, is still alive, so we may eventually get more information about what exactly happened. Although we can clearly see the shooting in the video, what we don’t yet know, is what led up to the shooting. Blake had a warrant out for his arrest for a domestic dispute. He had been scuffling with the police before he walked away to his car. He did not have a gun. There was a knife found in the vehicle, but it does not appear that Blake tried to grab it or use it. Blake might have been a danger to the several police officers surrounding him with their guns drawn. The shooting may have been warranted, but that seems unlikely upon initial review, because the officers lives did not appear to be in immediate danger in that situation. 

We don’t have all the answers about that tragic situation yet. But what we do have, is an alarming video of a police officer shooting an unarmed black man in the back seven times without a clear explanation of the reason why since the man was moving away from officers, not threateningly toward them. In a year when multiple highly visible killings of black men and women at the hands of police officers have occurred, and a devastating pandemic with all of its associated economic and social repercussions is still raging in our country, and possibly the most divisive and polarizing president we’ve ever had is in the White House preparing for a hotly contested election, this singular situation didn’t create the resulting civil unrest in Kenosha, but, much like the 1914 assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand didn’t cause the first World War, it sure added fuel to the fire.

Protesters, already frustrated by a lack of progress following  protests for earlier police killings, were understandably quick to gather and almost immediately escalated to rioting. From their point of view, they’ve done so much peaceful protesting already, with no results, so rioting is the natural next step. In their mind, the shooting of Mr. Blake is proof that their concerns are not being addressed, and that Black Lives still do not matter to the government and a large amount of the citizens in the nation where they reside.

Adding an unasked for and unpleasant twist to the situation, during the protests and riots, more deaths occurred, most visibly the shooting deaths of two men and severe wounding of a third by 17 year old Illinois resident Kyle Rittenhouse.

Here is my opinion regarding Kyle Rittenhouse: He is a piece of shit. His parents are pieces of shit. Anybody who supports him are pieces of shit.

Kyle is not a hero. He did not prevent loss of life by his actions. His actions actually caused loss of life. If Kyle had stayed home, two men would not have lost their lives that night.

Everything that Kyle did was illegal. He was a  stupid hot-headed bully kid who was in possession of a firearm illegally. He was in Wisconsin illegally. He was out after curfew illegally. He was acting in a vigilante capacity illegally. He took it upon himself, unasked for and uninvited, to travel to the protests with a loaded gun, to “protect property from rioters”. Whose property? Not his property. He didn’t belong there.

Supporters will say he was defending himself, and he had to shoot those men, because they were trying to stop him.

Stop him from what? Brandishing his firearm threateningly at strangers? Bullying protesters? The best way he could have defended himself, was by not being there in the first place.

A seventeen year old is barely allowed to drive a car after dark. A seventeen year old can’t vote, or drink, or do a myriad of other adult activities, because it is understood that their brains are still developing, and they simply do not have the cognitive maturity to process things like an adult. So the fact that this one was allowed to load up his rifle and travel to a riot to act out some sort of Call of Duty: White Power Ops fantasy where he could scare niggers and libtards without expecting any consequences for his actions, is unforgivable.

When protesters encountered this belligerent redneck mouth breather swinging his gun around with an itchy trigger finger, and rightfully tried to defend themselves and take the dangerous gun away from the unqualified child, he panicked and started blasting.

Then, when other bystanders saw a madman with a rifle murdering unarmed civilians, they stepped in to try to stop him, and they got shot as well.

THEN, fresh off of murdering two fellow American citizens and wounding another, Kyle Rittenhouse was able to saunter over to share fist-bumps with the cops and crack a few monster energy drinks before hopping in his car and driving home to a peaceful slumber in his twin-sized red plastic racecar bed in his Scooby-Do themed bedroom at his parents house.

Why can a violent white dude straight up murder multiple people, then walk past the cops openly carrying the gun he used for the murders, and go home to a hot cocoa and a bedtime story, but a black dude, who has murdered zero people and doesn’t even have a gun, gets shot in the back seven times by potentially the same group of cops?

That’s exactly the question BLM activists are asking.

If you think that Kyle Rittenhouse, and all the other Ya’lliban Jihadists like him that flocked to the protests to take potshots at an angry grieving community, are justified, but the protests and riots themselves are not…you’re an insane person.

If murder is an appropriate response to destruction of property; then why is destruction of property not an appropriate response to murder?

Which is more important to you? Replaceable objects? Or Irreplaceable lives?

The most confusing part of all this, is the people who don’t support the BLM protests, should! All of the gun-toting, don’t tread on me, small government, give me my freedoms, red-blooded Americans should absolutely be standing shoulder to shoulder with the BLM activists who are protesting against bad cops and an oppressive government. Supposedly, the entire reason they have all their guns is to protect themselves from a tyrannical government! That’s like, their whole thing! Not to help the tyrannical government perpetrate it’s tyranny!

The second group that should be fighting shoulder to shoulder with BLM activists, are the Blue Lives Matter crowd! Good cops and their supporters should be the LOUDEST voices of condemnation against bad cops! They should be the leaders in the fight against the racist cops, the excessive force users, the corrupt, the incompetent, and the violent. If they were, then this wouldn’t even be a problem at all.

If good cops held the bad cops accountable for their actions, we wouldn’t be in this situation in the first place. That’s all the protesters want. It’s a reasonable request, and they are going to continue protesting until they get it, and if protesting still doesn’t work, hey, they can always escalate to rioting and violence.

That’s the whole point.

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To dad, or not to dad?

Father’s day is coming soon. Let’s talk about fatherhood.

My entire website is a nearly even mix of entertaining lies and uncomfortable truths. This post will mostly be the latter.

I don’t know if I want to be a dad.

I haven’t gotten anybody pregnant as far as I know, so you may rest assured that this is currently just hypothetical musing on my part, and not some terrible confession made under duress as I flee for the Southern border in a hastily packed car while spurned lovers gather into a vengeful posse hellbent on tracking me down and strong-arming me into fulfilling my filial obligations. But the uncertainty remains.

As of the writing of this post, two of my closest girl friends are, judging from the size of their bellies and how sweaty and out of breathe they get while performing the most mundane of tasks, somewhere between 10 and 34 months pregnant with their first and second babies respectively, AND my two best male friends have both just fathered their first children, so I am surrounded by babies and my thoughts on the matter are somewhat unavoidable.


The miracle of childbirth – a young mother experiences typical labor, 1986 colorized

On the one hand, I am so excited for my best friends, but I also worry that they won’t like me anymore because I’m not part of their cool parents club, and that I will be doomed to a life of loneliness and ostracism as I slip slowly into the comforting madness of eternal solitude while they exclusively pal around with other parents and talk about diaper brands and nipple seepage and whatever else it is that people with young children talk about.

On the other hand, building a baby of my own just so the people I love still tolerate my presence in their lives does seem a little rash.

How do you know if having a baby is right for you? Wife Kay very much wants babies, and is constantly talking about how “we” want kids, and “we’re” thinking about trying for them soon, and “we” can’t wait to be parents, while I make noncommittal noises like “mmm” and “ah” and “hmm”, but all the while I’m internally screaming in terror as anxiety crushes my lungs, my blood pressure spikes, and my dick retracts like the head of a panicked box turtle.

Here’s the thing. I am an inherently selfish individual. I enjoy doing the things that I want to do, how and when I want to do them, and I avoid doing the things I don’t want to do, because they do not bring me joy. I won’t even buy a pet dog because I would be forced to adhere to another creature’s food and bathroom schedule. It is my understanding that children’s needs can be even more demanding than a dogs. That sounds not fun, and fun is a thing I happen to enjoy. Additionally, I like having a hot babe wife that makes more money than me, but I am fairly certain that if Wife Kay gets pregnant she’ll end up looking like Slimer from the Ghostbusters for the rest of our lives, and will also use the kid as an excuse to never work again. Is having a child really worth the stress of becoming a single income household so that my formerly hot wife can turn into a grotesque monster that eats chili cheesecake, watches daytime soap operas and washes herself with a rag on a stick?


Wife Kay after having babies

I know that the go-to argument for having children is that you’ll love them, and I know intellectually that love is an enjoyable thing for people to feel, but there sure seems to be a lot of caveats that go along with loving a child. Like, you’ll love your kids, BUT they sure are messy. Or, you’ll love your kids, BUT they sure are expensive. Or, you’ll love your kids, BUT you’ll never sleep again. Or, you’ll love your kids, BUT they’ll probably knock you out and steal your kidneys for drug money. That seems like a lot of buts.

There are plenty of things you can love without any buts involved. Like books. I love books. They’re inexpensive, quiet, fun, and I enjoy every part of them. I love how they look. I love how they smell. I love how they have words in them, and when I read those words I can hallucinate about wizards and spaceships and shit. And, on the off chance that I get bored of a book I love, I can just slot it neatly into place in my bookshelf, or even give it away, and forget about it completely. But, if I get bored of a baby and stuff it into my bookshelf or give it away to a stranger at the bus stop, suddenly I’m a monster, and I’m going to jail? No thanks.

Beyond the fact that children seem like a lot of work, how do I know I won’t fuck it up completely? If I’m going to do a job, I want to do it right. Am I really qualified to give an impressionable youth the right mix of love, support, and spicy childhood trauma necessary to help them grow up into a hilarious and competent adult?

I have mixed feelings about fathers. My father was killed when I was a dumb little baby. So I crave father figures in my life with a desperate need. But also, I don’t really know what it is that fathers do? If my father had survived to raise me, I would be a completely different person than I am now, with a completely different set of circumstances, a different personality, different friends, different everything. So obviously I wish I had an opportunity to know him. But also…not. Because I like me. I like who I am. I like my friends. I like the life that I have. A life that I wouldn’t have had if he had survived. I can almost guarantee that, had he survived, I would be a worse person. Not because he was a bad person, but because my specific experiences have sculpted me into the man I am today, and if you take away those experiences and replace them with new ones, I would in many ways be lessened. That’s a complex situation that I can’t help but feel a certain level of guilt about.

My mother eventually found somebody new after my father was killed, and her new beau was around from when I was maybe four to about eighteen, so I did at least have a male figure in my life during my most formative years, but he unfortunately was just looking to lay some pipe with my babe mom, and was woefully unqualified for the dad role, so he received D+ to C- grades in fathering at best. Consequently, my role models for fatherhood were a dead man I never really knew, and a gruff stranger that could generously be described as father-adjacent, and all they’ve really taught me about fatherhood is that if I want my children to have great jokes and be happy and successful, the best thing I could ever do for them might be to just die immediately so they can figure their own shit out without my idiocy ruining them.

I don’t want to die yet.

Look, at the end of the day, I’m just not sure if I’m ready to have kids, or if I even want them at all, but all my friends are having them, and I don’t want to lose my friends.

I worry that the people I care about the most are growing up and maturing and moving on with their lives, and I don’t know if I can keep up with them.

I was already having fun, I don’t want things to change. I just want to do hoodrat things with my hoodrat friends, and be as stupid and silly and self-destructive as ever, but they don’t. How could they? Their lives aren’t their own anymore. Their lives belong to these tiny little miracle parasites that they’ve created and are now dedicated to. I think I might want to join them, but I’m scared. Does having a child mean that your life is over, and your dreams are done, because now you’re dedicated to your child’s life and dreams instead?

I know that having a child makes you lose a lot of sleep. Do you lose your dreams as well?

If all my friends have kids, and I don’t, do I lose my friends?



FATHERS. As Father’s day approaches, lend me your wisdom.

Those of you who always knew you wanted to have kids, why did you? Those of you who were never sure, but had them anyway, how is that going for you? And those of you who never ever wanted to have kids, do you regret not having them? (Or having them, if you did?)

Teach me.

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Coronavirus Quarantine and other enjoyable Opportunities

For those of my readers based outside of the solar system colloquially called Sol, and away from the planet unimaginatively named Earth, you should know that those of us stuck here on the old homeworld are currently living through a global viral pandemic. This is, understandably a stressful time for everyone, as hospitals are overwhelmed by patients, businesses are closed, and people are forced to isolate themselves at home to try to reduce the spread of illness to a manageable level.

Those of us who reside in the United States can breathe easy, at least until the virus turns our lungs into forbidden water balloons, knowing that our nation will definitely make all the right economic and healthcare decisions in a timely manner thanks to the astute leadership of That One Illiterate Guy Who Was A Reality TV Star And Whose Businesses Went Bankrupt Six Times, and The Other Dude Who Is A Religious Zealot And Thinks Science Is A Hoax Perpetrated By Satan. For those of you in other countries who DON’T have leaders so highly qualified to shepherd you through such scary high-stakes times, I’m sorry.

The best thing for all of us to do at the moment is take a deep breathe, while we still can before the virus drowns us from the inside, post up at home, and chill the fuck out for a few weeks. The Covid-19 Coronavirus is so dangerous, not because it kills everybody who gets it, but because it doesn’t. The virus is highly infectious, and has a fairly long incubation period. That means it’s easy to get, and you can have it for a relatively long time before you even know you’re sick, giving you ample opportunity to spread it to everyone else you come in contact with before you begin to show symptoms. This, obviously, is leading to a massive amount of secondary and tertiary infections as asymptomatic carriers Typhoid-Mary around town breathing their hot plague breathe all willy-nilly. Yes, Typhoid-Mary is a verb now, civilization is collapsing and the old linguistic rules of the Before Before no longer apply here in the After Times. Since this dangerous illness proliferates so rapidly and so easily, the most effective measure we can take to curtail its spread is to bunker down at home and wait it out.

Now, to many of you, this is understandably a cause for major stress, whether due to financial worries while you’re not working, or personal angst because you can no longer avoid your families by working long hours in the office, and are forced to confront the fact that you resent your children, those soul-sucking leaches who stole the final years of your youth and greater part of your financial freedom for their own selfish needs without contributing a single thing of tangible value in return, or that the last fitful flickering spark of love, respect, and contentment you had for your hideously aging lazy nag of a spouse is now inevitably and irretrievably gone as you’re forced to witness them slime around the house like a malodorous slug in the same pair of raggedy sweatpants for the thirteenth day in a row, staring in slack-jawed bewilderment at the glowing screen of the smartphone held six inches in front of their stupid hairy fat face by clasping claw-like hands covered in cracked and fissured skin that has been dried to a dusty Paper Mache-like consistency by their compulsive hand-washing in their efforts to prevent the spread of the virus that you almost wish would hit your household because you’re starting to look forward to a few days of painful suffocation, gasping for air on an uncomfortable National Guard cot in an overcrowded triage tent set up in an empty Wal Mart parking lot while a tired dead-eyed physician frowns and stares sadly at her clipboard before resolutely moving on and leaving you to slip silently into the sweet embrace of death alone and forgotten.

Of course, that’s not what home quarantine HAS to be like, at least not entirely. It’s also a time of exciting opportunity! Now that we’re all home, life is either:

1) Business as usual – maybe you are retired, or a housewife or househusband, or you were already working from home before this pandemic.

2) Working from home for the first time. Or;

3) Not working because you’re stuck using paid time off, or unpaid time off, or furlough, or you’ve been laid off due to the virus.

If being home is business as usual for you, like it is for me, you’ve probably got nothing to complain about. You’ve already got an established routine, you’re a pro, you’ve got this.

If you’re working from home for the first time, you can be thankful that you’re still receiving an income, and that modern technology allows you to avoid infection while still remaining productive. Sure, there will be some growing pains as you ease into a new routine with potentially unfamiliar or insufficient software and hardware, but those pains are more than offset by the conveniences that those of us who were already working from home have long since discovered. First, you have more time. Even if your productivity and efficiency take a hit while you’re working without all the conveniences of the main office, you shall soon find that your efficiency can still receive a net increase because you can finally work however -you- work best. Maybe it’s in complete silence, something you could never achieve while manacled to the desk in your waist-high cubicle in your crowded office. Maybe it’s with pounding death metal riffs cranked up to eleven on your surround sound stereo keeping your blood pumping and energy up, something that would never be tolerated in a public office environment. Maybe it’s naked as the day you were born, unconstrained by restrictive business casualwear and societal pressure. I don’t know what makes you work best, but I bet you do, and when you’re working in the privacy of your own home, you’re free to indulge.

Even if it turns out that working from home doesn’t help your efficiency and productivity, and you actually have to work a little longer to complete your assigned tasks, you’re still saving time during the day that would otherwise be spent getting ready and commuting to and from work. All that time normally spent sitting in traffic ironically listening to Rage Against The Machine on the radio as you dutifully creep into the office to toil for your corporate overlords like a busy little worker bee in their underground sugar caves is now your own again. You are suddenly reminded that there is such a thing as a work/life balance, and that they are separate things. Work is work, and life is life, and the less time you spend stuck at work, the more time you have to actually enjoy life. When you’re at work, you’re not living, you’re existing. Once you gain back even a little of the time you used to lease to your bosses for too little pay and too much stress while they sit fat and happy in their golden towers drinking cognac from blood diamond decanters fondly reminiscing about last season’s human hunting trip on their private death island, you begin to realize exactly how valuable time for yourself actually is.

If you’re not working at all due to this quarantine, the same applies to you, but even more so. There’s only so much worrying you can do about your reduced income, so try to get that out of the way early instead of dwelling on it throughout the entire quarantine. Try instead to think of it this way – for the next few weeks you don’t have to work. You can’t work. So you might as well spend this time working on yourself.

The United States has a very unhealthy work culture. It’s not quite as bad as say, Japan, where salarymen are expected to literally work themselves to death, but America has plenty of that same attitude, where if you’re not working overtime, putting in extra hours above and beyond what you were hired to do, you’re somehow doing something wrong, and if you have the gall to actually take time off, you’re definitely thought less of. Even in companies that provide generous paid time off benefits, actually using that paid time off and taking time to enjoy your life instead of just constantly slaving away often gets you more than a few stink eyes, and not just from management. This pressure comes from your peers too, which is preposterous when you think about it, because they know exactly how stressful and draining and unrewarding the work you’re doing really is, so it would make more sense if they all agreed that HEY, we SHOULD be compensated more for this, and we SHOULD get more time off to relax, or travel, or spend time with our families, or work on our hobbies, or do any of the countless things that are actually more important than working. Now that a significant portion of the American work force is unemployed and stuck at home for the foreseeable near future, we might as well take this time as an opportunity to remember that life is more than just work.

Let’s reignite or discover our passions, people. Write a book. Knit. Paint a painting. Learn to cook. Build a desk. Learn a musical instrument. Get fit. Do something that you’ve always wanted to do, but have simply never had the time for. You have the time now. So no more excuses!

If I wasn’t working, and I couldn’t travel, I know the things I would do. Please allow me to try to convince you to do them too.

If I was homebound and suddenly found myself with a notable increase in free time, I would do projects around the house, I would write, and I would work out. So basically, I would do what I already do in my free time, just more of it. To me, work has always only ever been a means to an end. I’ve always sought the highest pay possible for the least effort possible, because that’s the only equation that makes any sense. I care about work only as much as necessary and not a tiny bit more, because work for me is not my life, it is only ever an inconvenient but necessary distraction that I would not do at all if it wasn’t needed to fund my life.

While this probably doesn’t ingratiate me much to upper management in any of the companies I’ve worked for because they prefer to think of their lower and mid-level employees as mindless drones and autonomous assets dedicated solely to building wealth for the glory of the corporation, and any empathetic sonder the corporate aristocracy may feel from being reminded that even poor people have hopes and dreams and inner worlds equally as rich and vibrant as their own is uncomfortable and unwelcome, I like to think that my immediate supervisors are generally satisfied with my productivity and willingness to do my assigned activities. Even if that is not the case, I’m not overly bothered by it, because work is not what is important to me. At least, not working to increase someone else’s wealth.

Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not afraid of hard work. I just like to focus that hard work on projects I’m passionate about. Like the aforementioned house projects, and writing, and working out. If I had all the time in the world I would complete more house projects because I like tinkering, I like puttering, and I like making the home where I spend most of my time more pleasant, and I take pride in doing the work myself instead of paying somebody else to do it. So while you’re stuck at home not working, perhaps you would enjoy doing the same? It can be something as simple as cleaning old clothes out of your closet, or something as complex as building an addition to house all the babies that are going to come out of the quarantine humps we’re all enjoying. Either way, I promise you that the simple act of doing something productive will make you feel better, and will provide you with a much needed sense of accomplishment during this trying time. If you’re not “handy” or you feel overwhelmed, don’t be! There are so many useful resources available online that can walk you step by step through doing any project you might think of. We may as well get the most out of YouTube University while the internet still exists, and learn all sorts of useful skills now that may prove valuable once civilization finishes collapsing and we’re back to drawing buffalo silhouettes on the back walls of caves.

If I wasn’t working, beyond my constant puttering around the house, I would also devote my copious free time to my writing. I write because I enjoy the process nearly as much as the result, and because I like the thought that something I create may be consumed and enjoyed by another human, especially after I am dead and gone. The thought that I can create something, and leave a little bit of myself behind as a lasting legacy, is very reassuring. While you’re not working, why not do the same? For me, I make words good, so I write. For you, maybe you can paint, or sculpt, or create music. It doesn’t matter what medium you use, just create! Gift the rest of us with a little sliver of your soul, so that you can say – I existed! I was real! – and future generations can look upon your works and tremble in awe of your glory. Most of our lives, we consume more than we produce. We consume the media made by others. We consume space. We consume resources. In taking the time to create art, we can tip back the scales, and give of ourselves to balance that equation. So go ahead! Write a dumb poem! Draw a stupid drawing! If it sucks, who cares! Do it with joy! No matter how it turns out, you’re creating, and there’s a certain immortality in that.

The third thing I would devote myself to if I was not able to work for a month or two is getting absolutely fucking shredded. Just fucking enormous. Not all weird and lumpy like a body builder, that particular sport has never interested me because I’ve never really been motivated by the aesthetics of it. I’m just interested in getting as strong as possible. As fit as possible. As fast as possible. Because, why wouldn’t I be interested in that?

I’m sure when you think of the brilliant Greek philosopher Socrates, you think of a wispy haired older gentleman hobbling around the symposium debating great and lofty ideals with an adoring public, but what you might not know is that the great scholar was also a raw natural deadlift world champion, squatted more than the mighty Hercules, and could bench press the moon. He is well known, not only for his thoughts on the nature of man and reality, but also for this interesting quote:

“It is a disgrace to grow old through sheer carelessness before seeing what manner of man you may become by developing your bodily strength and beauty to their highest limit.” – Socrates

I mean, the dude isn’t wrong. We only get one life to live. Why wouldn’t we want to find out the full extent of what we’re physically capable of? Obviously we’re not all going to be Olympians, or even especially good amateur athletes, but how could you not want to know your fullest potential? It’s not about achieving some arbitrary level of ability. Every body is different, everyone has different limits. But to never even try to find out what your personal limits are? What a waste that would be.

I like working out because I like getting stronger. I like staying fit so that I can experience everything this world has to offer. After this pandemic fades away and we’re allowed to leave our houses again, if my friends or family want to go on a hike, or ride bikes, or play a game of ball, or explore the black catacombs of the Elder Things beyond the Mountains of Madness where we may all be consumed by feral Shoggoths, I want to be able to join them. I never want to miss out on the opportunity for a new experience or adventure because I spent too much of my free time slowly sinking into my couch cushions watching reruns of The Office. If you can choose between being a fat lard, and being the most capable version of yourself, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t choose the latter.

Also, this Covid-19 Coronavirus hits harder if you’re unhealthy to begin with, so it would be wise to reduce our blood pressure and increase our lung health while we still can, because if you think this is the last global pandemic we’re going to be dealing with as the Earth gets more and more crowded and people continue traveling all over, you’re a silly goose.

Six weeks off of work might not be enough time to turn anybody into world class athletes, but if that time is spent productively by exercising hard and eating right, it absolutely can produce notable, noticeable, and long lasting physical results. We don’t need access to a fancy gym for results either, HIIT videos streamed online and body weight exercises can provide surprising benefits if you devote enough time and effort to them. If we all come out of this quarantine healthier, yoked beyond belief and ready to take on any adventure, I’ll consider this break from employment to be well worth it, economic repercussions be damned. If we come out of it fatter than ever, we might as well let the next virus finish us off, because we’re wasting our time here.

We’re all stuck social distancing in quarantine or self-isolation for the foreseeable future. We might as well use it as an opportunity to work on our projects, create art, and get healthier. The rest of the world will still be waiting for us when we get out the other side.

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