Woe Is Me!

Woe Is Me!Have I been slipping recently? I wonder — really I do. For the past week or so, writing this blog has been a real slog. But then, everything has. It’s just that I think it is more likely to show up here. It all started about a week ago.

I was at Trader Joe’s. I love that place. Things cost what they should cost, by and large. And I had just run in to get a couple of things. Really: the total was maybe $13. And I ran my card and it came up, “Insufficient funds.” That was shocking because I spend almost no money and am far too careful to ever get at the very end of my financial resources. But I did have a thought: the state of California was hungry again!

So I rushed off to the bank and they told me that, in fact, the state of California had put a hold on my entire account: checking and savings. You see, at the end of 2008, I got very sick. I ended up being in the hospital almost six months. I don’t even remember the first month there. I do remember getting to the hospital, but after that it’s all a blank. There were various things wrong with me, but the coolest thing was whatever was making fluid build up in my body. At one point, they drained three quarts of yellow liquid from the chest of my 99 pound body. And I have to admit: I felt a lot better afterwards! I had gotten so used to the pain that I didn’t even realize it was there.

As a result of this, I never paid the taxes on the money I had made that year. I’m sure I knew this somewhere in my mind. But this is not the kind of thing that I keep focused on. Finance is not my kind of thing. But this was a bad year to do this on, because I made a lot of money with a company that was paying me as an independent contractor, even though that was illegal. Not that it matters. They were rich people and the law in America is very clear on the fact that if you are rich, the law doesn’t apply to you.

So suddenly, I found I had no money — or very close to it, anyway. And then, I got into this extended argument with someone who is nominally an ally in the political blogging world. It was about Scottish independence. You know: an issue that I don’t care that much about. So I was my usual cavalier self. I mean: good God! The vote was over and my side lost! Is it that big a deal to note that 45% of the Scottish people voting for independence is actually a shockingly good showing? I mean, actual Scot who was against independence Alex Massie admitted the same thing. But this brought on a rage out of all proportion.

This shouldn’t have been that big a deal. But as always, I wondered if I had done something wrong. I don’t mind going to battle over things I care about with people I disagree with. But in this case, neither of these conditions were met. I mostly agreed with my adversary. And every comment I made was an attempt to extricate myself, only to be told that my latest attempt just showed what a terrible person I was. Of course, this wasn’t the first time I had gone toe-to-toe with this guy. I get the impression that he is the kind of guy who has nothing but strongly held opinions and so gets his back up over the smallest of disagreements. I admire that, and I’m glad he’s on my side. Of course:

But it was just one of those things. He felt very strongly about the issue and I didn’t. He thought I was being a jerk because I wasn’t engaging in debate the way he thought I should. And I thought he was being a jerk by not letting me ease out of the debate. I fully admit I should have just dropped it. But I was determined to find some common ground and come to a gentle landing. That didn’t happen. He ended up deleting our last two comments and then not publishing my final comment. I have no idea what our current status is, but I plan to go back over to his site and comment in a week or so. Hopefully, I’m still welcome.

Regardless, with the financial problems and the fact that the internet really is a terrible place, I’ve had this idea in my mind that giving up everything might be a very good idea. Unfortunately, I don’t have that option. So as a result, in addition to taking work that I’m really not looking forward to, I will probably soon be putting up some ads on this site. I figure that ought to at least pay for my phone bill. Although I’d actually rather just get rid of my phone. Unfortunately, I’m going to need it for the work that I don’t want to do.

Woe is me!

3 thoughts on “Woe Is Me!

  1. Frank, since you’ve raised this again, I hope you’ll allow me a comment about it here.

    As I say in my blog’s comments policy post (which I think nobody reads), I don’t like the kind of back-and-forth debates that some blog comment threads have, and I normally refuse to engage in them. In this case, I got angry and let it provoke me into doing so, and also into using language that was excessive for the situation. I should not have done that and I apologize. I would also point out, however, that continuing to make light of something that is obviously very serious to the person you’re talking to is also rather nasty, and will almost always make the situation worse.

    After I had calmed down, I deleted the nastiest part of the exchange because I didn’t want readers’ impression of the post to be dominated by the argument in the comments about it, and resolved not to pursue the argument any further. That was my way of “just dropping it” — not the most transparent way, I admit, but I was still exasperated, and not interested in further engaging with what you evidently considered humor but came across more as mockery.

    As I say, I apologize for getting excessively angry and using extreme language. I don’t think the fault in that exchange was entirely mine, but since you raised it here, I thought I should explain how it looked from my side.

    • I hope I was clear above that I take responsibility in the exchange. It just got out of hand and I think that was due to the fact that we were talking past each other. By the time I realized what was going on, I too was angry. And the whole thing really poisoned my attitude. Your comment cheers me up quite a lot because it means we have gotten past this. I’ll be more thoughtful in the future.

      Actually, I have read your comment policy! I had forgotten about that aspect of it, though.

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