Here as the week slides into the halfway point, I find myself in what I can only describe as “a mood.” It is most assuredly not a happy place, but it’s made worse because I can’t quite put my finger on what the problem is.

Actually, that’s a lie. A falsehood. A fabrication. I can identify with great precision the source of the vast majority of my angst and ill feeling. Except, of course, we’re not allowed to say things like that out loud. As part of our social contract, we’ve all agreed that we won’t call out bullshit when we see it. We’ll go along to get along and maintain the illusion of happiness with our little fictions. We won’t say anything that might upset the balance because we fear the consequences. I’m as guilty of it as anyone, maybe even more so because I can feel the truth physically twisting at my insides wanting out, but I hold my tongue for the sake of keeping the peace and preserving the status quo.

The whole illusion gnaws at me. Day in, day out, pretending that batshit crazy is perfectly normal and counting the years, months, days, and hours until you aren’t compelled to do it any more. Just one time I’d like to stand up, open my mouth, and let the truth fly out. Unvarnished, impolite, brutal honesty.

Good God, but couldn’t the world use a big heavy dose of that?

But we live in a world where words have consequences. So I swallow that honesty one more time. Push it back down into that place where it comes from. And pray to whatever gods are interested in such things for the power and good graces to let me smile and nod and not launch into a raving diatribe at inappropriate moments – knowing, as I do, that no good would come of it.

Ah, see? I feel better just for getting that small rant out in the open. My safety valve of a blog once again saved my soul.


I’ve been told on a number of occasions recently that English is a precise language and we must use it precisely. I’m good with that. I like precision. I like to use words to cut through the clutter and mean exactly what I say. Except the problem is, most people don’t. Most people use the language as just another avenue to be vacillate and be throughly indecisive.

Don’t be surprised then, if you ask me “Do you want to do Activity X?” and my response is an immediate no. I’m answering your question honestly and directly. No, I do not want to participate in Activity X. In fact, generally I’d rather stake myself on an anthill covered in honey than engage in Activity X. However, if you changed the question slightly, by saying “Will you do Activity X?” or a more directive “You’re going to do Activity X,” I’ll probably shrug, possibly roll my eyes, and get on with dealing with whatever X is in our little equation.

See, the social contract depends largely on people doing things they don’t want to do. But when you frame the question as whether I “want” to do something or not, you’ve given me the option of saying no, because that’s the honest answer. I spend most days doing things I don’t particularly want to do, so when given the option to avoid adding one more to the list, I’m not sure why anyone would be surprised when I opt out… because frankly life is entirely too short and it’s already too filled with random pointless activities that we don’t really want to do in the first place.


I make a point of being just as honest and open here as is realistically possible. There are, however, some topics that I don’t feel perfectly free to touch on in a public forum. As life-long writer it’s frustrating because getting thoughts down on “paper” is the way I tend to think through things. On the other hand, that instinct is balanced by there just being things that don’t need to be put in print for general consumption. The social contract here on the internet is that we all tend to expose far more of outselves to the public sphere that was common even ten years ago. It’s become so ingrained that most of us don’t even think about it as a matter of course. Be honest, how many of you have actually taken the time to figure out how to use the privacy settings on Facebook to really control how much different people or groups can see about you? I’m betting that there aren’t too many hands raised out there. I’m not making a judgement call on that by the way. When your name is your web address, you pretty much give up the right to criticize how anyone else manages their online privacy.

The last thing I’ll say is that you shouldn’t read too much into this little post. It’s mostly been a quick thought exercise while I try to get my head wrapped around a few things, so with that I now return you to your regularly scheduled weekend.

If I had a hammer…

If you were thinking this post would include a link to some kind of damned dirty hippy music, you’re a moron. I actually learned an important lesson about self-restraint today. For the record, it’s best to avoid Home Depot on the Monday of three-day weekends. I knew better, but there were a few odds and ends I needed to pick up. One of those things was a 5-pound sledge so I can shape the stone that’s being delivered tomorrow. The other was a rubber mallet so I could level the stone and use it as lawn edging. The real danger here is the confluence of three factors: 1) Home Depot on a holiday weekend; 2) a rubber mallet in my left hand; and 3) a 5-pound sledge in my right hand.

I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t some nascent desire to start swinging the above mentioned hand tools at some of my fellow customers. I don’t know why I continue to be surprised by the complete inability of people in general to perform more than one simple task at a time (i.e. walking and talking with the person who came with them). I thing just one soul-satisfying “thwack” of cold steel meeting noggin, would give me an indelible feeling of inner peace. Once again my heart-stopping fear of prison and sodomy have kept me on the straight and narrow. Damn you social contract! Damn you!

26 Years, 10 Months, 23 Days…

On weekend mornings, the background noise in my houses is most often the FoxNews business report. One of their major talking points for the weekend just passed was the impending collapse of Social Security and what it would take to put that program on a solid fiduciary footing. If my calculations are correct, I can retire from government service in 26 years, 10 months, and 23 days. With that kind of time horizon, I don’t know why anyone in my age bracket would even contemplate Social Security in their calculations on what they need to do in order to retire comfortably. Without a massive infusion of cash from a tax increase, a dramatic reduction in benefits, and an increase in the age when the “pay out” begins, the program is, for all practical purposes, a dead man walking.

Even if some semblance of the program is salvaged, those of us in our 20s and 30s can count on receiving only a return of pennies on every dollar we “contribute” to the plan. Since it’s a government program, we don’t have the choice to “opt out” and invest that portion of our retirement into a sector that actually provides a positive return on investment. Effectively, every dollar our generation is forced to contribute to Social Security is a dollar that is lost to us and is nothing more than a tax by another name.

I was asked not long ago what I would do to fix the system… I don’t want to fix it. I want to tear the mother down. Sixty years ago, Social Security was a stop-gap measure that has been elevated to the lofty status of an entitlement. I don’t want to fix it. I want the government to allow me to be accountable for my own retirement planning and stay out of my way. I don’t want to fix it. I want Americans to start taking responsibility for what happens to them.

I don’t know how or when exactly we became a country of whiners, of men and women too infirm of mind to make our own decisions, of people terrified of the successes and failures that come with making your own decisions and being held accountable for them. If you are in the dawn of your career, it is your responsibility to make yourself smart on your options. Contribute to 401k, Roth, or other investment vehicles until it hurts. If you don’t make any provisions for how you plan to live out (and pay for) your golden years, don’t come bitching to me when you’re eating cat food and living under a bridge. I’ll be too busy playing golf to give a shit.