Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Speaking of a Living Wage

Here's another post that lay dormant for a few months

Money does not buy happiness, but happiness for damn sure costs money. I don't know anyone who made the conscious choice to pursue happiness who didn't end up taking a pay cut. It's an accepted principle that if you choose your personal relationships and creative goals you will give up at least some of your monetary income for those unquantifiable rewards.

My wife and I are both vastly worse off financially than we were before we got together. I'm not exaggerating when I say we're simply going down the tubes. When she lived in Maryland and pursued her career as a single woman, she had enough money to live and do a little traveling. When I lived as a weird mountain hermit, I had enough money to live and do a little traveling. But when I expanded the cave and she tried to transplant her livelihood we suffered the consequences immediately.

At first it was a few minor things, fully offset by each other's company and the activities we could enjoy in one of the pleasant rural corners of the country. But a flake and a chip at a time, more and more has crumbled to the point where, when either of the decrepit cars finally cannot be coaxed back to life, one of us is going to walk.

We tease children with the idea that they can grow up to be whatever they want to be. We hope it will keep them interested until puberty kicks in and distracts them from the fact that for most people life is just a dismal scrape down a rough slope to a hole in the dirt. A few people actually do seem to put it all together. It keeps hope alive in the deluded masses. Indeed, our mass exercises in denial propel our economy as people try one thing after another to see if any of it really works. In a strange way it even helps sustain a few lives that might otherwise shrivel faster, if those people happen to be involved in something that for a time becomes lucrative.

In our small corner, we have improved the lives of a few people and animals. A small proportion of our enterprises have even produced income. Things could still turn out all right, if the mishaps don't string together too closely.

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