Monday, November 15, 2010

I Knew The Economy Was Going To Collapse


After the housing bubble burst and the economy crashed a truckload of books littered the market about what went wrong on main street and on wall street. Its not that all these reporters and economists wrote books in a week. They had been working on them for years because they knew what corporate douches either didn't or ignored. Some economists saw the bubble bursting when it first formed at the turn of the millennium. But I knew the recession was gonna happen in 1992...when I was seven.

Siggi. That is such bullshit. So's your face.

My family was first generation which is a euphemism for disadvantaged which is another phrase for lower class which is equal to 'poor as shit' which is just a different way of saying 'garage sale reliant.' We did what all impoverished citizens did...bitch. Except for my dad. As the patriarch of our raggedy clan he had another agenda...he had to justify it. We're poor because the world is better for it.

But who was he to vent on? My brother was only five. The faintest allusion to money would remind my mother of the much more affluent life she could be living back in the mother land and such notions would plummet her into a depression. The rest of the country spoke this language called English while my dad spoke a very loose variant that most people deemed "vatdafuck." These filters essentially limited his audience to one set of ears. These babies.

Practice was half an hour away and essentially every day. That's an hour a day combined trip in a car that has only one radio station: Ramblings on the world economy hosted by an overworked soviet Hungarian immigrant. Todays topic is a continuation of the same exact one we cover every other day: Being poor sucks but it is better than being a stupid American. Discuss.

Dad: You think your friends are living the dream. But they're all in debt. Paying off credit cards with credit cards. Three person families with four cars. All bought on loans. Next they'll get a house and then refinance to free up some cash. And the banks will let them to keep up with their competitors, but then what will happen?
Me: I dunno. I'm hungry. Can we get some chicken nuggets on the way home?
Dad: Are you even listening to what I'm trying to tell you?
Me: I'm trying...I'm just hungry...I feel like if I just had some chicken nuggets to increase the blood sugar my brain would be ready to absorb this.
[We stop at McDonalds. At this point I have labeled myself a genius]
Dad: There. You ate. Now recap what I was saying earlier.
Me: ...Ugh...I mean...I dunno. It makes less sense than all those time travel movies.
Dad: Time travel is simple. It can't possibly happen. Ever.
Me: So you can't build a time machine?
Dad: Nope.
Me: You're positive?
Dad: Absolutely.
Me: Well I guess that's good. already ate the nuggets...
Dad: YOU SON OF A--!!!

My dad then proceeded to beat out some of the knowledge he just bestowed on me, but as always some of it managed to stick. At night I didn't get bedtime stories to put me to sleep. He read me Newsweek articles...and he wasn't trying to put me to sleep.

Dad: Siggi. Wake up. We're just getting to the good part.
Me: Better than your explanation of LIBOR and foreign exchange swaps?
Dad: You betcha!
Me: What about instead of a time machine you give me a pill so that when I wake up its like way after this conversation?
Dad: YOU SON OF A--!!!

My dad's information was well researched. His logic was sound and his pessimistic outlook was apt - look simply at where we are today. But his economics had one flaw. Something his commie associates had historically also forgot to account for. Prisoner's dilemma. Tragedy of the commons. Sure all these stupid Americans and knavish suits are going to ruin the economy, but our plight wasn't going to change that. Our suffering then was for nothing.

And that, my avid readers, is how your humble narrator and his brother got a Super Nintendo in 94. The student had become the master. And the master was far from pleased as evident by the transposed face he had to mine walking out of that ToysRUs. In a few months... I made up for this defeating event when we got into a derivatives discussion.

Dad: So there's all these levels in these debt obligations but the payouts at those levels are only based on a non encompassing standard deviation-
Me: Whut dah?
Dad: Its the square root of the-
Me: Whut dah?
Dad: You know how 3 times 3 is 9? Well that makes 3 the square root of 9. Get it?
Me: So more money is bad?
Dad: I don't follow.
Me: Well if money is the root of all evil then the more money you multiply by itself the more evil you produce. And since goodness is the opposite of evil the only way to be good is to be poor.
Dad: That might be the least scientific and most nonsensical sentence ever uttered by a human, but I could cry tears of joy right now...*sniff*...did you hear what my boy just said Lenin?

And as he grasped me in bolshevikian embrace I cried too because that's the moment I knew that pretty much the same fucking year I would graduate college, 15 years from then, a waterfall of CDO defaults and CDS claims would instantly metamorphose the world into an amalgamation of feces and dysentery.

And if you don't believe me...well. I say prove it, bitch. But you'll need a time machine to do that. And like I said...I already ate them nuggets.

They were delicious.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween Timeline

Ages under 5

Costume: I was a phenomenal looking baby and my parents didn't need that reassured to them by dressing me up in a cute pumpkin costume and going door to door. Then for my toddler years I was first secluded from the existence of Halloween(it was the last holiday on the "the longer they dont know the better list"). Then when I was five I'm pretty sure father told me Halloween was only for naughty children. Or it was contrary to the beliefs of Hungarianism(other things on this list: television, pizza, video games, spending money, crying and smiling).
Total Cost: $0.00
How much it looked like intended: I looked 100% like the oblivious/sad kid that I was.
General Neighborhood Reception: Where's that adorable little boy from nextdoor(assumed reception with 98% +/- 95% accuracy).

Ages 6-10

Costume: Alternate between sheet with two holes and a cape (yea. like a cape and that's it).
Total Cost: $0.00 cuz by sheet I mean rag that got thrown away.

Dad: Who says ghost is white? I think patchy industrial revolution grey is much scarier. Think of the allegorical implications.

...and by cape I mean black rag that got thrown away + bobby pin.
How much it looked like intended: "Oh look dear....its a dirty mop." However, I guess I looked 100% like a kid with a rag bobby pinned around his neck. Just not like much else.
General Neighborhood Reception: "Give these boys some extra tootsie rolls, Charles. *whispering* Can't you tell how poor they must be?"

Age 11

Costume: Turtle mask over eyes, duct tape on elbows and knees, and sticks instead of weapons. Basically me and Ivor's costume was like a Ninja Turtles beginnings type story. Like before they learned karate I'm sure they were just sewer drenched over sized reptiles that hit each other with sticks and ate shit off the floor.
Total Cost: $0.87
How much it looked like intended: "Jesus fucking christ kid. You crawl out of a sewer?" Win.
General Neighborhood Reception: "Give these boys some extra tootsie rolls, Charles. *whispering* Can't you tell how poor they must be?"

Age 13

Costume: Aware that no matter what I would be laughed at at every single door I knocked on...I decided to just embrace the embarrassment and dress up in some of my old baby clothes and pop in a pacier. Now I could say they were laughing with me...right...
Total Cost: -$0.45 (note: the negative sign comes from inflation adjustment)
How much it looked like intended: 100%........ridiculous.
General Neighborhood Reception: "Give these boys some extra tootsie rolls, Charles. *whispering* Can't you tell how poor they must be?"

Age 18

Costume: Fake skates, pink dress with puffy shoulders, busted up knees...aka Nancy Kerrigan.
Total Cost: $19
How much it looked like intended: 100%....awesomeness.
General Neighborhood Reception: Things were going great until a yah dood pushed me and when I went to retaliate my skate blade(metal and duck tape on sneaker) broke and I face planted. Now my knees actually did hurt and I got beer poured on the back of my head. "Why? Why? Why me?"

Pictured: Me at the party.

Age 25

Costume: Ke$ha
Total Cost: $31
How Much it looked like intended: See below.
General Neighborhood Reception: "Are you Lady Gaga?" Fuck you Chilean minor #908. Fuck you in your aspergers.

Pictured: Me and some friends getting ready to go out for Halloween.