29 February, 2012

Living Paycheck To Credit Card


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those only of the author and may only coincidentally reflect those of Mystic Metals, its employees, or associates. All responses should be posted as comments here, or mailed directly to the author, A. Robert Basile, at ihatebasile@gmail.com.
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Living Paycheck To Credit Card

2.29.12
Stressful week, kids. I suppose those happen once in a while. You have a one in fifty two chance that your week is going to suck the festering blood from the rotting corpse of life. For those keeping score at home, that about a 2% chance. Which, when you put it in those terms, isn’t so bad. They happen. And when they do, I suppose we have to put our helmets on (or keep them on if you’re one of those kids) and trudge through it. The light at the end of the shitty week tunnel is that baseball starts soon. And then everything will be peachy keen jelly bean. Also, it’s Leap Day. That’s kind of cool. Double also, Davy Jones died today.
Every once in a while, and far too often I think, I write about the workforce and modification. It comes up frequently and tends to be an issue that is still without solution for those of us who participate in the culture. On the whole, I look at it this way: We chose to be modified. We didn’t wake up one day with two inch lobes and sleeves. We weren’t born with split tongues or scarification designs or sub-dermal implants. We bought them, and hopefully we made solid and smart decisions when we did. This is the chief element of my jobs and mod discussion. With that said, I do believe that most qualified modified people can achieve success in an occupation of his choosing. Modified people, on the whole, are no different than unmodified people, therefore we can likely do most jobs for which we’re qualified that unmodified folks can. Still, if any of you Mystic Mobsters (which is what I call fans of Mystic Metals Body Jewelry, my generous sponsor) think you’ll be an investment banker or state supreme judge with three inch lobes, a four gauge labret, a zero gauge septum, and pointed ears you’re probably a bit naive about what society at large accepts as aesthetic. We’re a little ways off from that, I think.
So we have to be smart about it. Especially women. The scrutiny of lady types is much more intense, I think, than that of man types. But this rant isn’t about that. Not entirely. No, this rant is about how, for the first time in a long while, I am in the position of trying to figure out what job I can do with this face. And as you know, I have another layer that I can’t do anything about. Let’s talk about it.
First off, if any of the guys in my band are reading this (which I think only Q reads these, and I appreciate that from him), no I’m not quitting the band. You kids know that I play bass in an above average cover band in the Philadelphia area. I think I’m good at it; I’m a solid bass player, an interesting stage performer, an affable team member, and can talk to strangers easily. I also don’t drink, so when my band members get embarrassingly drunk (which happens too frequently, in my humble opinion), I can get the truck loaded and drive home. I don’t hate my job, I hate all of the horseshit that accompanies it. Like any job, I suppose. Except ballpark greenskeeper. That job is probably perfect. But I’m broke. Because of money mismanagement and an agency that doesn’t seem to want to pay us, I am owed quite a bit of money for work I’ve already done. Sparing you kids the boring details, I’m broke and working my ass off. I need to supplement my income, since writing nets me zero dollars. (Please buy my Nook and Kindle books.)
So it’s time for me to reenter the normal people workforce. The jobs I had before the band were telemarketer and porn store clerk, so my mods weren’t much of a problem. Except from my boss Bill at the porn store who broke my balls about it incessantly. Little did he know, we mocked his horrendous eczema so bad that we started calling him eBill-a. Eat that, you leper prick. And no, Bill; not all British comedies are funny. Stop making me watch them all day. OK, enough about the leper porn king Bill. I need a job. We all know that the job market is shit right now. The way the president is running this country into the overly protected ground, it makes me wish for a second coming of Jimmy Carter. I can’t believe I just said that. Where are we now? 8%? 9%? Some states at 12%.
This isn’t political commentary, though if more companies had more lax modification standards, some of us in the mod community could be put to work and contribute to deficit reduction. But that’s a different rant. This rant is a boring one about how I need a job. Let’s get back to that.
The mod thing isn’t a huge problem for me. Most of my mods can be removed for working hours. I’m not scarred or implanted. My lobes will look pretty gross, but that’s not really my problem, is it. Also, I’m a pretty good charmer, so I may be able to use the force to let my boss let me keep them in. (And yes, nerds; I know force should be capitalized.) My bigger problem is my disability. Took me nine hundred words to get to the point; I probably should avoid jobs in writing.
Yeah, I know there are laws that protect the hiring of people who are crippled like me. But let’s invoke the words of Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes for a second: “Be for real.” There is a certain realism in the thinking of a disabled person trying to find a job. At least there ought to be. There are things I can’t do and applying to those jobs is dumb. Also, the competition I face is slightly greater. If I apply to the Apple store, for instance, and am equally qualified as an able person who requires less attention to special needs, I’d expect that job to go to the able person. Yeah, I know; Shut up, Andy and go find a job; it’s hard for everyone.
What would make my life easier is to have a wheelchair for work. The main symptom of my disability is pain. And standing for an extended period of time causes pain. A lot of it. A vomit causing, migraine making, doubled over for two days kind of pain. If I had a chair, I could do work more easily. I know, mom; you don’t want to hear that. I know that you (mom) have an aversion to my accepting a chair, and frankly, so do I. But if it increases my quality of life, and more importantly my probability to make money, then I think it’s a good idea. This is where all that back pay from my band comes in. If I had all of that right now, it would go into buying a chair (which are deceptively expensive) and making my life a little more tolerable. (That’s why I mentioned that band money shit earlier. Foreshadowing is a shadow that comes before.) If the guys in my band are reading this, which they’re probably not, I hope they can see why I’ve been a cunt about that back pay recently.
What am I talking about in this subpar, not at all entertaining blog? Well, we all have this concept of doing what you have to do to survive or better yet, succeed. We’re all trying to succeed, and if you’re an individual who would rather live paycheck to credit card, sitting on your couch covered in cheese doodle dust and bitching that the system is fuct up and doesn’t serve you specifically, then we’re not going to see eye to eye. I believe in hard work and no handouts. Or at least, very few handouts. (And if you think I am cashing disability checks, ask the state of New Jersey why I’ve been rejected three times.) I am a huge supporter of knowing yourself, loving yourself, being yourself, embracing your beauty, and sharing with others the positive personification of that. That is why I love modification so much, but in a situation where I have to choose which prescriptions to fill in a given month because the money isn’t there, then perhaps the mods have to take a break until I get back onto my feet. It upsets me to say that, trust me, but we all have to put ourselves in the best position to succeed, right? Now that I think of it, I bet my beard is a bigger problem than my lobes. That thing is scary and I think it has a mind of its own. A fly got stuck in it and couldn’t get out the other day! True story. But what do I do about my disability? I can’t really leave that at home in a jewelry box and put it back on when I get home from work. If I could do that, I’d drive up to the Meadowlands and bury it in one of those landfills where the mafia hides bodies. They know all the best hiding places. OK, I’ve completely lost control of this blog. I’m going to go home now. Don’t worry; next week’s blog will be much better. Stay beautiful, kids. 





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