I think it would only take a nudge at this point. Just knock me over with a feather. I’m ready to drink the Kool-aid and reach for my golden parachute and move someone else’s cheese and take the red pill and receive a shakabuku, all of it. Something’s gotta change my world.
I’m no boy scout. I’ve done some bad things in my life. Bad morally, bad legally, bad Michael Jacksony (just baby dangling, not baby wrangling), bad to the bone, bad seed, Big Audio Dynamite, whatever. Just plain bad. Ham on whole wheat…on rye!
Despite all that, I’m not a bad person (I've got a good heart!), and despite my graffiti work, I’m not an anarchist or a Satanist or Basquiat. I may be a bit of a nihilist, but come on, Donnie, they’re nothing to be afraid of. The Catholicism I was raised with may have eroded over the years, and my faith in authority might have evaporated over the last four, but I still have a conscience - it just spends some time unconscious. And I actually have two steadfast rules of living:
1. Never touch another man’s fries.
2. When a guy lays down a dare, you gotta TAKE IT!
But aside from those two lines in the sand, there are plenty of gray areas left into which I may or may not someday sink. And that someday is today. I’m ready for a walk on the wild side.
What brought me to this point? Nothing major. I have no developmental or psychological reasons for being a criminal. You can argue nature vs. nurture, drugs and their relation, Beatles/Rolling Stones, whatever, it doesn’t matter how it develops, just that it is. I didn’t grow up in poverty or on the streets. I’m not a child of a broken home, or abusive parents, or alcoholic guardians. I’m not a professional athlete who’s been coddled and spoiled all my life. I’m not some ultra-privileged blueblood set to inherit a fortune I didn’t earn and I didn’t grow up as the star of some ‘80s sitcom, although, oddly enough, my father looks like George Papadopalous. I’m just broke and tired of it.
I’m a normal guy, a college graduate in my late twenties. I have lots of bills, a decent job that pays nothing, enough debt to occasionally make me uncomfortable but not enough to make me kill myself, and nothing substantial enough on my resume to give me any kind of real hope for professional or financial stability in the future. Bottom line, I need money and I need a future. So I need to make a change.
Graduate school, you say? Posh! That will just put me deeper in debt, and the fields I’m interested in studying would do little to put me on a path to riches. My pipe dream is to write something and make a million dollars selling it, but who are we kidding? Any publishers out there in the market for a wise-ass with a potty mouth? Didn’t think so. Assholes.
So that brings me to the ledge and a decision has been made: I am embarking on a life of crime.
Drug deals. Bank robberies. Carjackings. Kidnappings. Murder for hire. You need it done and I’ll do it. For a small six figure fee. I gots to get PAID!
Need a pimp? Hit me up. I don’t discriminate; I’m an equal opportunity deployer.
Even in these minor straits, and I know perfectly well that they are far from dire, I can already see the benefits of living outside the law. Almost every answer to the question “How can I make a lot of money quickly?” involves some sort of criminal activity. Well, fine. I’m all for it.
I’m done with the white-bread American Dream. Give me the Scarface version. I’m going from Richie Cunningham to Arthur Fonzarelli, and I’m ready to beat the shit out of Potzie (seriously, there should have been at least one episode dealing with Fonzie giving that loser the American History X curbside treatment). I know what you’re thinking: I haven’t even come close to exhausting the possibilities of a crime-free life and I’m already set to mortgage my freedom for a quick fix. Maybe I’m lazy, sure. But so what? I’d rather be fearless than motivated and it takes balls to cross Johnny Law. Ain’t no trip to Cleveland.
This new crime-endorsing attitude has also made me more tolerant and open-minded. I used to look down on criminals. Kill ‘em all and let God sort ‘em out, right? But, now that I plan on becoming one of them, I’m far more forgiving. We’re all playing the same game, just trying to make a dollar and a cent in this bidness, and I’m nobody’s judge. I have no license to criticize those criminals out there that have far more pressing reasons for breaking the law than I. Tupac ain’t never done a crime he ain’t have to do, and I’m okay with that. But there are limits to my leniency. Rae Carruth, Ron Artest, Terrell Owens (for the crime of being an asshole) - none of those thugged-out rich bitch athletes get a free pass, and none of those greedy, white-collar, bilk-the-common-man scumbags looking for another beach house will be spared my wrath either, harmless and insignificant though it may be.
But the Jean Valjeans out there, stealing bread for their families, dealing horse to pay the rent, performing back alley abortions and murdering snitches, just for the bling? It’s all good. I’m down, fellas, I’m down.
Hopefully, after a few years of living the hard life, I’ll have enough material to write a novel or some memoirs or a rap album. How I Dropped Out of the Rat Race and Crimed My Way to the Top. Or else How I Threw Away My College Degree and Spent My Thirties Getting Raped. It’s a gamble, but anything’s gotta be better than debt.
Let's get real here. You don't want to know about me. You want to know about "me".
ABOUT MIKE JULIANELLE
more about mike julianelle
IF YOU LIKED THIS COLUMN...
1.17.05 @ 12:44a
I'm with you in spirit. If I knew then what I know now, well let's just say I'd be rich and living my dream. Good luck.
1.17.05 @ 10:25a
Here's the ideal position: beggar on the streetcorner. Paul Harvey featured a story about a woman who made over $100K, tax-free, begging.
She had a really cool apartment, and lived a normal life otherwise. But each morning, she'd leave her apartment, go to a phone booth, change into nasty clothes, and start begging. End of day, she'd change again, go home, and no one was the wiser...
...until someone from a newspaper started following her, then she 'fessed up.
1.18.05 @ 8:34p
Ya know...I work very hard for my money, and I worked very hard in college to be able to earn my paycheck. I'm not the least bit inclined to donate money to panhandlers who are physically capable of holding down a job and could earn more than adequate pay doing so, yet prefer to make a living mooching off people who work for a living.
That may be cynical and selfish, but I can't help it. I hope the IRS decided to get their share of her "earnings".
1.18.05 @ 9:09p
I'm with Red, screw beggers! How am I supposed to really know they're not better off than me?
I do hate to see guys like Mike and Erik disgruntled, though. Something's wrong when good guys like that can't find a happy place to kick some serious ass.
1.19.05 @ 2:58p
Aww, that's so sweet, Gonzo. But I don't need a happy place, I just need a happy wallet.
1.19.05 @ 4:40p
That's what I meant. A 'happy place', i.e, place you are glad to work at and can kitt some behind.
And don't call me sweet, you cut-rate wannabe gangsta.
1.19.05 @ 5:45p
I owe almost 70,000 dollars from COLLEGE alone. My job pays pitifully and I'm with you on the happy wallet thing. The thing I've realized though is that I can't make my income go up, so I have to make my spending go down. I'm figuring out all sorts of cool ways to spend less cash...and yeah some beggars may not need the cash but there's something seriously messed up in that woman's psyche (and people like her) where they'd suffer the indignity of begging just to get cash. I'd rather work then beg.
The other thing I've realized, is that you can't let money (or lack there of) define you. Mike if you want to pick up and go to California (or wherever) and write, don't use not having money as an excuse. If you haven't gone it's probably because you're afraid. I'm not being accusatory because I'm a big ole coward too and I've realized that I don't live so much as get by. This is why I'm looking so hard at where my money goes. You probably have more money then you think you do. Enough for a plane ticket anyway. As for the rest…. The truth is when it comes to money as long as you have a head on your shoulders, a willingness to hustle, and a realistic assessment of your wants and needs (and not what marketers want you to "need") you'll always get by. I mean when times get tough there's always temp work. If you scored halfway decent on your SAT's or GRE's etc you can easily land a gig with a test prep company - they always need teachers. Once you're trained you can pick and go almost anywhere in the world, most of these companies aren't just national; they're international. The pay rate is usually decent at like 20 bucks an hour, which is enough to keep you in hostels for awhile if nothing else.
If you want to be creative and express who you are figure out creative (legal) ways to get what you want. Bartering isn't a forgotten art either; plenty of people are willing to give you a room in exchange for help around the house. Ask around. A friend once got to stay in a New York City apartment for a summer and all she had to do was feed some cats and water some plants.
1.20.05 @ 12:27a
Working in real estate is similar to begging, as it involves a lot of kissing up to people who get to act "superior" to me because they are the buyer or seller and I need them to earn a living that way.
Working in real estate is dissimilar to begging in that begging obviously pays better.
I remember about 8 years ago reading a story of a guy who begged in the train stations. He wore a suit and tie, and would ask if people could give him money for a train ticket, as he lost his wallet. He too earned over 100K.
I envy the con artists and flimflammers for their ability to prey on the gullible of society. It's a mental thinning of the herd, the ability to look at someone and know they can be conned.
Alas, I don't have that ability, or the background to abandon real estate completely.
Just shoot me.