Occasionally people who don’t know me well ask “Jeff, why haven’t you ever gotten married?” I can think of several reasons, but the biggest one is simply this: On Saturday I did the grocery shopping for the week, did a big chunk of the fall yard work, made dinner, and tucked in for the night with a good book and a well made cocktail. On Sunday morning I had soup simmering away for Sunday dinner, ran four loads of laundry, made ham salad to enjoy for lunch, spent some quality time with all the animals, and had the house cleaned by noon.
I pay my bills and handle my business. I’m self sustaining and self sufficient and have been for a very long time now – although I’ve lived enough life to never rule anything all the way in or all the way out. If I were to break with a lifetime of habit it would take a pretty remarkable set of circumstances – and an even more remarkable person.
I’ve found through occasional, unscientific sampling that the only thing a fair proportion of the population brings to the table is a vagina and a metric shit ton of drama. Sure, both of those can be entertaining for a while, but what possible incentive would there possibly be to welcome that into my life on a full time basis
Show me someone who makes my life better and less complicated and I’ll eat my words. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
1. Denali. Humans have been changing the names of places basically forever. In parts of the world that have been continuously populated for thousands of years it’s happened a lot. That’s why there isn’t currently a Sumerian city-state called Ur in southern Mesopotamia. That place is now called Tell el-Muqayyar and is located in southern Iraq. Five thousand years from now it seems pretty unlikely that it’s going to matter whether in 2015 there was a mountain in Alaska called Denali or Mt. McKinley. It seems to me that both sides are wasting a good deal of breath on something that just doesn’t really matter all that much.
2. Annual Training. Every new fiscal year starts the clock on the approximately 47,632 annual mandatory training requirements I’m supposed to take. Every year, I’m determined not to procrastinate in taking them. Every year I somehow find myself well into September and realizing that I’ve done none of them. Yes, it’s my fault that I procrastinated on checking those boxes… but perhaps if there weren’t quite so many that need checked I wouldn’t feel the need to avoid them for as long as humanly possible.
3. Do your damned job. If you’re hired to do a job and find that the requirements of the position demand something that that violates your moral or ethical code, honor demands that you resign from that position. Honor doesn’t demand that you make a spectacle of yourself by simply not doing the job (while continuing to draw salary). If your moral sensibilities aren’t troubled enough that you need to resign in protest, then they aren’t really troubled and all you’re trying to do is get your face on television. At that point you’re not a martyr to the cause, you’re a self-aggrandizing douchecanoe.
The Ashley Madison hack resulted in 30 million or so potentially unfaithful mates having their email addresses, phone numbers, credit card, and physical address information published yesterday. I’m the very last person in America who’s going to go on a moralistic rant about the virtue or vice of infidelity. It’s not like the internet made cheating possible, but it did make it theoretically easier to do so if you were inclined to stray. Now thanks to a band of supposedly holier than thou hackers, millions of people get to wonder if their other shoe is ever going to drop.
First off, if you’re having or planning to have an affair and don’t have a throwaway cell phone and a pre-paid credit card you’re probably too stupid to get away with it. If you’re in a relationship and use your real name and home address to register for a cheating site, you probably deserve to get caught. Even so, getting jammed up in an enormous program of data theft is a pretty crummy way to get caught – especially if you never went through with the act, or it’s something from your life long past.
Ironically perhaps, as a perennially single guy, I can see some compelling advantages to dating a married or otherwise involved woman – especially if you’re not the type who’s looking for an extensive commitment. You’ve got no worries about being drug somewhere you don’t want to be for the holidays. There are no pesky in-laws. You’re not the jackass that didn’t take the trash out or who shrunk a load of laundry or who hasn’t had more than four hours of uninterrupted sleep in the last six years. You’re the guy who gets to go out and have a nice meal in and a great bottle of wine. Or the one who gets to enjoy the excitement of walking into a cheap motel room in the middle of the day. Or the one who’s there when the weekend “business trip” becomes three days of playing house in some location distant enough from home that no one would suspect anything beyond business as usual.
Anyone, married or single, who signs up for a site like Ashley Madison has their reasons. I’m not the one who’s going to cast a judgment on any of them. People have an expectation of privacy online, even when it’s a false one. All this latest story does is reinforce that there is very little in our lives that is truly private – and it’s becoming less and less private all the time. Then again that’s really only a problem if you aren’t willing to take ownership of who you are and what you do.
It’s a busy weekend. That’s good in so much as it means that this post more or less writes itself. That’s bad in that the world seem shell bent of flinging itself apart at the seams. Terror attacks on three continents that may not have been coordinated, but the timing of which is certainly close enough together to be suspect. A political fracas in the US that covers all the ground from heritage to hate to healthcare to marriage. The greeks have declared a bank holiday and appear all but determined to drive their country over their own fiscal cliff and straight into default while the European Union hopes the rest of them can shrug it off.
If you’ve kept an ear on the news, there’s a lot of information coming in on all fronts. Weekends are usually where they bury the stories we’re not supposed to pay attention to, but any one of the headlines this week would usually have legs all by itself. Combined, there’s almost something in there guaranteed to keep everyone stirred up at least for a few more turns of the news cycle.
I’m not fool enough to think any of these problems amounts to a hill of beans in this crazy world, but they pace at which they keep coming is a little troublesome. I’ve got at least half a dozen methods of information delivery in an arm’s reach right now… and I find myself wondering if we all weren’t just a little bit better off when we got our news from the morning edition, the evening edition, and 30 minutes of TV highlights at 6PM.
The world’s always been a complicated place, but it’s only recently that we’ve all gotten the opportunity to watch the sausage made each and every day. I wonder if it isn’t time I try to force myself to tune it out for just a little while.
Financial Advisor: You had a good tax shelter in the house you sold. You’ll be fine for 2014, but this year you need to buy a house and get married or the tax man is going to fuck you with your pants on in 2015.
Jeff: Well, at least one of those two things might happen… but could I just buy two houses instead?
The timeline I worked out in my head didn’t have me buying a house in 2015, but given the choice between that and the IRS getting to take me out for a ride, I think I’d better start getting things in order and see if I can rejigger the plan a bit. Buying a house is its own special brand of pain and agony, but re-inflating my debt bubble a few months ahead of schedule sounds infinitely less painful in the long run than taking a short trip down the aisle.
According to the legend, Valentine was an early Christian priest who defied Imperial edict and performed illegal marriage ceremonies for Roman soldiers. The emperor forbade such marriages in order to prevent his troops from becoming too fond of home and hearth and therefore unwilling to depart its comforts for life in far flung garrison towns on the edge of empire. By order of Claudius II, Valentine was arrested, charged, and convicted of treason. While awaiting the sentence of death to be carried out, Valentine seduced the young daughter of the jailer. For his crimes against the state, Valentine was beaten, stoned, and beheaded in 270 AD… Which means to show the love we have for one another, each year on February 14th the western world celebrates the execution of a convicted traitor and pedofile.
From all of us at jeffreytharp.com to all of you out there on the internet, have a very, very happy VD… which ironically is another thing you’d probably run into if you spent a lot of time with treasonous pedofiles like the saintly Valentine.