The first month of unemployment was almost like a glorious vacation, but, as much as I love lounging about playing video games and sipping cocoa whilst the snow falls, today I was happy to have worked until midnight the previous two nights and to drive through dangerous winter ice and snow—please note I was born in Oahu and mostly-raised in the desert—because quite frankly not working is a terrible, terrible fate.
Sleeping in once a week is delightful. Waking up with nowhere to be except your warm bed until… whenever, is a slice of heaven. Playing video games, writing about something not related to highly polarized political issues but rather for pleasure, and otherwise enjoying myself: These are all magical… in moderation.
But there are three reason that, despite all of this, not working is terrible.
3- It gets really boring.
Recreation is fun, but that’s largely influenced by the appeal of novelty. Too much of something ruins its flavor, usually. I like to sit down and watch a movie, but watching two or three in a day starts to make the day drone on in a monotonous montage of Netflix selections. I have a variety of hobby’s I divided my time between, and I also spent perhaps 15-20 hours applying for jobs, but even still: I was bored.
2- It generally means you aren’t pursuing a passion of yours.
I hope most folk are doing things in their life they are passionate about, whether it’s art, writing, designing motorcycles or providing for their families. When you sit about doing nothing, you disengage. You start to sleep in, and you lose motivation, ambition and the spark and drive. It is far, far better to be anxiously engaged in something you love, and your work should reflect that, even if it's just the means to your end. I nearly dropped out of school and had awful grades until I joined a college newspaper, which required even more work than what I had been failing to do earlier, but that work was something I was passionate about. And because of that I was able to succeed, going from a 2.52 to a 3.3 GPA in only three semesters.
1- Your feelings of value and self worth decline.
It’s hard to feel valued when you don’t offer yourself or the world tangible value. Our value is measured by our contributions and our actions rather than our intentions, though not all of these are monetary.When we aren’t making money, doing something we love, or raising children (I consider stay-at-home parent a more than full-time job) we have trouble feeling good about ourselves. And we all know that it helps to be needed. It is invigorating to have a place to go at a set time and to know that there are people who rely on you and respect you. Their perceived value of you helps bolster the way you feel about yourself.
I have a new job that pays just OK and gives me a schedule that sort of sucks, but I love it. I get to do something I find interesting and rewarding, and I hope others are working in a job or cause they love, or that they are working their way in that direction.
First things first. I’m a paid member of the Hatch Election Committee. I work very hard, and they pay me what amounts to less than $20,000 per year. I bring this up so people won’t reply “but you’re a paid stooge, lol!” I could be making more money elsewhere. My job isn’t about money.
Well, at least it’s not about my money.
I don’t, for the record, have a degree in economics. I did learn a little something about the dangers of spending more than you make while a new college student with his first several credit cards. It was bad. I hated debt. It took me years to get free. This country is spending money it doesn’t have. It has a lot of debt. It will take years to get free. Plain and simple.
I’m voting, and working, for Orrin Hatch for a variety of reasons, but the other issues are minor in comparison to this one big issue. It’s the problem we all face, but many people refuse to acknowledge it, much less start fixing it. We don’t have the money.
The very first step to fixing this mess is balancing the budget. I have a hard time imagining anything taking priority over ensuring that our expenditures stop exceeding our tax revenues.
Great, so we balance the budget!
It’s actually not that simple. There are a lot of people terrified over the prospect of a balanced budget. If you campaigned by promising your constituents that those federal dollars would keep flowing to them, then a balanced budget amendment is your worst nightmare. In addition, I’d wager there are a fair amount of big organizations making big money that would blanche at the prospect of a balanced budget.
There are a lot of people who stand to lose their ill-gotten gains. They will not give them up easily or just because it’s the right thing to do. They will do everything in their power to protect their plunder at the expense of everyone else.
So it won’t be a cake-walk.
We cannot afford to send an inexperienced Senator into this fight. Orrin Hatch has 36 years worth of experience. He knows the system. He knows the people. He knows the game. He has seniority. He knows a fair bit about passing an Amendment to balance the budget. He will be the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. In 1997 he came within one vote of passing the BBA. One vote away from stopping cold the increases to our debt. If one Senator hadn’t “changed his mind” from Yea to Nay after a “chat” with the union leaders who helped him get elected then we would have had a balanced budget for the last 15 years.
He has sponsored or cosponsored the BBA 17 times. There is no one alive today who has more direct experience with this issue. With probable conservative majorities in the House and Senate and the prospect of a fiscally sane President in the Oval Office, we stand with our faces fixed on a golden opportunity. With, as President Reagan called him, Mr. Balanced Budget representing the great state of Utah in the U.S. Senate I believe the BBA can be passed.
So you want me to believe voting for Orrin Hatch will bring us into a magical utopia where there is no debt, crime or sadness and where Redbox always has the movie you want?
No, that would be silly. My point here is that instead of continuing to argue endlessly over finding the perfect Hail-Mary play to pull us out of this economic mess in one easy step we should probably consider the idea doing the sensible thing. A complex task is made easier when you divide it up into smaller tasks and simply begin immediately with the first thing on that list. The first thing on our list needs to be balancing our budget. Let’s do that and then go from there.
Look, I’ll be honest.
I work for Orrin Hatch, and maybe 7-15 percent of the time I disagree with his decisions. He’s not perfect. He has some bad votes. He’s cast thousands of them, so a perfect score would actually frighten me a bit and raise serious questions about the possibility of sentient synthetic humaniform robots a la’ Asimov novels. He’s not the perfect man for the job, but he is definitely the best option we have.
At the end of the day he has done much more good than bad. If he is really as terrible as out-of-state-groups-who-spend-more-than-half-a-million-dollars-to-sway-an-election would have you believe, then why has Utah voted to reelect him time and time again? We have reelected him because he is good for the economy and because he is an honest man. We vote him back because he stands up for Hill Air Force Base and because he carried Justice Clarence Thomas over the finish line and into the Supreme Court. Utahns respect Orrin Hatch because he fights for our right to own the land within our borders and manage the energy resources under our feet. We vote for Orrin Hatch because he has been, is now and will continue to be, an asset to our state and to our nation.
A website I'm a big fan of has a subsection devoted to writing complete fiction stories in just one paragraph. These are the four of mine I like best.
They say your mind maintains consciousness for 30 seconds after you're beheaded. 30 seconds is enough to curse like a sailor, but only in your mind, and spend the next bit morbidly curious and scientifically expectant. They say a lot of things, but I won't know for sure until these 30 seconds are up.
A soul so tarnished ain’t worth much.
He sat with sweaty palms and an amateur poker face as he listened to the call. “Yes, I thought as much. I’ll let him know.” The swarthy man with gleaming eyes, who he wouldn’t have pegged as a demon, hung up the phone. “I spoke with my supervisor. He said you can have the promotion, the girl or the long life, but not all three. Frankly a soul as tarnished as yours is likely to end up with us anyway, so this would just be us hedging our bets.” The demon waved his hand across the desk and three contracts appeared. He reached out to hand the man a glittering gold fountain pen, which he took out of instinct rather than by design. “Just make your choice and sign on the dotted line.“
You had to rewind it with a pencil?
What’s a cassette tape? The children will ask, when I explain to them how I wooed their mother. Why didn’t you just send her a link to the playlist? As confusion comes across their faces. They won’t understand how I sat with the radio on for weeks, the tape at the ready so as to record at an instant if one of the songs happened to come on. They won’t be able to fathom the frantic dash to hit the red button before the opening notes were lost to the whims of a DJ. And it’s true their way is more convenient, but when I gave her that tape and wallowed in her smile as she played it, it meant something they will never understand.
We take up the task eternal, and the burden and the lesson, Pioneers! O pioneers!
The U.S.S Heinlein boosts for Alpha Centauri today. We are frightened. Curious. Excited. It’s a funny feeling, stepping into the unknown. It’s euphoric to know we will be the first 57 people to visit another solar system. But the thought of leaving the forward fuel base on Titan is terrifying. Who knows what peril awaits us on the unexplored edge of space? We said our goodbyes in January, but even though the FTL drive means all we know will be dead when we return, we are only allotted one paragraph of text to relay home. Here I’ve squandered it with thoughts and details, but the only message I truly cared to send is: I love you, and I’m sorry.