The moon wanes outside as my dear wife finally rests and I hold my newborn son in my arms. His sweet and innocent face blinks away another yawn while I smile and cherish him. He finally descends into the sleep-tide that will sweep his peaceful mind to Neverland. I adore him and cherish my exhausted moment as a father for the third time – an exhausted, overworked, underpaid and under-valued man who is this person’s meal-ticket, his protector and his teacher, at least until he is a teenager and starts to hate me. Then – everything but the teacher.
“Hello!” My four-year-old daughter calls up the stairs from where her bedroom is. When there is no answer, she tries louder: “HELLO!!!” Now she’ll wake up the whole household.
I carry the now-stirring Baby Joey to the stairs an coax Eloise to lay her loud, sweet pixie head down on the couch so that I can put the baby down and then I will help her back to bed, nightmares chased away.
I put the baby down and Eloise and I put a picture that she drew of Baby Joey on the refrigerator. Back into her bed, tucked away with her blankie and her “Stufted Baymax”, I put on Barbie’s Life in the Dreamhouse on Netflix on her TV (again).
“You know that Daddy loves you?”
“Yes. I love you, Daddy.”
I go back into my office and set a video file to compress for DVD. I have a precious couple of hours. I open WordPress and I sit to blog. If I don’t do it, now, it will become another thing that I just did not get done, today. (Whatever “today” means.)
Then my nightly ritual: I grab my keys and hop in the car and drive to the gas station to squander my meager wages on enough Red Bull to kill a farm animal. I look at my watch. It’s 2 am. Just enough time to compress DVD files, blog, edit The Korihor Argument, finish a client’s e-blast graphics and their conference call edits and uploads, blog posts and finish authoring another client’s DVD Menus before giving a last round of edits to the blog by 8 am.
Because I get to go to sleep at 8 am? No. Because that’s when clients start calling for my head. What about the DVDs? What about the uploads? What about the emails? How does spacetime work? Why does time have to pass between their wanting things and their having them? Then I will try to again balance 6-12 hours of co-parenting my kids with 12-14 hours of single-parenting my clients.
Does anyone give a fuck that I am exhausted? No. Does anyone give a fuck that I am probably digging my grave every hour that I work in caffeinated stupor instead of sleep? No. Does anyone care that after all of this, I will have another 8 hours per client to spend on arguing over invoices and payments and standards of professional conduct? Yes – my wife cares about that because those hour are hours I am the most stressed and not earning a dime while the bills stack up and up and up.
But otherwise: no one cares. This is the life that I chose for myself and no one gives a shit if I lie in the bed that I have made for myself.
That’s what it means to be a husband, a father and business-owner in America, today. Oh, sure, we’ll set off fireworks on the Fourth of July and sing The Star-Spangled Banner and talk shit about every other nation in the world. But this is the truth: It is a fucking hell of a lot better to own and operate a business or bring up a family in a socialist country than it is to own and operate a business in America, where you exist solely to keep American Wall Street banks with fresh capital to gamble under the guarantor of your tax dollars. Do they care that you are still making money or not? No. Do they care whether you die of a heart attack? No.
My wife cares. Apart from her, this whole world will slough me off as easily as it rolls from today into tomorrow.
And that – my dear friends – is the new American Dream. You can buy into it or bail out. Take a good hard look. I do – every night – before I drink my Red Bull and repeat my mantra again: “I must be fucked in the head, but I’m in.”
What is my alternative? A job where I’m underpaid and undervalued and overworked only to have the added stress of having three or four underworked and overvalued people constantly working every angle to sabotage me and get my ass shit-canned while they jerk off in the bathroom to their dog-eared copy of The Fountainhead?
Yeah, that sounds great! What the fuck is wrong with me, right? [Insert sarcasm].
When I was a seventeen-year-old Mormon Boy Scout, I decided to get serious about finishing my Eagle Project. I hated Boy Scouts. I absolutely hated it! But every time that it came up, I was lectured with the line that it is “the first thing – the very first thing – that they ask in a job interview!” with that same tone that my elementary school teachers used to use with the phrases “this will go down in your permanent record!” and “with a BIG, FAT ZERO!”
“Are you an Eagle Scout?”
In my entire life, the only person who ever asked me if I were an Eagle Scout EVER was a Mormon girl who refused to go on a date with me if I wasn’t. Even at eighteen, I knew how to recognize “you’re too fat and too Mexican to be with a skinny White girl like me”. I learned that skill early in life and it has proven so much more useful than any knots I ever learned in the goat-fucking Boy Scouts of America.
I went to my Scoutmaster and asked him ot help me to organize my remaining handful of merit badges to get from Life Scout to Eagle Scout. After he looked at my merit badges, he asked me for the cards that came with my merit badges.
“The cards?” I asked.
“The cards,” he repeated.
“I don’t know if I even have those,” I answered.
“If you don’t have the cards, then you don’t have the merit badges. I don’t know that you didn’t just go down to the BSA and buy these or take them off of your Dad’s stuff. How would I know unless I have the signatures of the Scoutmaster from your last ward?”
Notice that he said WARD, not TROOP.
This is a guy I saw and spoke to in Church every week! I know that I’m Mexican-ish and this is Arizona and so that factor has to be weighed, but that I would steal fucking merit badges? Some Republicans seriously need to adjust their twisted heads.
I went home in a panic and dug out a few merit badge cards – the required ones, the Citizenships in Community, Nation, World, First Aid (which I earned twice thanks to similar bureaucratic problems), etc. The rest from the fun merit badges like Wilderness Survival and Archery were long gone. I’d have to mad-dash to re-earn enough elective badges to qualify to do my Eagle Project. But I could do it. After all, it would go down on my permanent record!
“These cards aren’t signed,” my Scoutmaster said.
“They aren’t what!” I answered.
“Signed!” He answered in the same tone. “For all I know you went and bought these! They have to be signed by your Scoutmaster or they are worthless!”
“What is your DEAL!” I broke out.
“Hey, don’t blame me,” he said with his hands up. “I sign the cards for my boys.”
I took a deep breath: “I have less than six months before I turn eighteen and I’m no longer eligible to get my Eagle. You’re my Scoutmaster, advise me! What do I have to do?”
“Track down your old Scoutmaster and get him to sign these cards and date them,” he said.
“I have earned these in three or four different wards,” I insisted. “I don’t know that I can even remember who those people are!”
“Tough luck,” he said.
“Okay,” I breathed. “Say I do that. I still have to finish my other merit badges and organize an Eagle Project.”
“He will have dated them with the current date, though,” he objected.
“So, you have to have had all the required merit badges for six months before you can apply for an Eagle Project.”
I was stunned. What was he saying? After all that work, I still couldn’t do it?
“So what can I do?”
“Go down to the Scouting office and bring the cards and paperwork and appeal for an exception.”
“What if I do all of that and then I don’t get the exception?”
“Then you can’t get your Eagle.”
My jaw dropped.
“This is part of being a man, son. Suck it up.”
“After all that I will have gone through, I will walk away with nothing!” I spit out.
“You will walk away with the sense of accomplishment of -”
I’m sure that he said more as he watched my fat, Mexican-ish ass walk away, never to hold two words discourse with him again.
I got home, took my merit badges and their cards and made a public display in front of my parents as I stuffed them into the garbage.
“FUCK that guy,” I said with angry tears. That was a big deal for me as I was living right and trying hard to be worthy of going on my mission, having given up masturbating and swearing and even R-rated movies so that I could spiritually prepare to serve God.
“Fuck that guy! Fuck the Boy Scouts! Fuck this fucking ward and fuck this fucking CHURCH!”
I stormed to my room and slammed the door.
I still went on a mission. I repented of saying what I had said and begged God to let me be a good missionary, anyway. I have written a book that is in editing about this: The Korihor Argument. It is due out in September.
My mother pleaded with me to change my mind. My friends begged me to just try and have faith that someone would see my plight and have compassion on me. After all, it goes down on your permanent record!
Dear sons of America. THERE IS NO PERMANENT RECORD!
Also: NO ONE GIVES A FUCK ABOUT THE FUCKING BOY SCOUTS! NO ONE!
It is an exclusive club so exclusive, most people who will interview you for jobs, don’t even know what it is! I got news for you – the people who run Human Resources of virtually every company in Corporate America ARE WOMEN! THey don’t know and they do not give a shit about what an Eagle Scout is! Only your Mom and one snobby asshole-ish Mormon girl in Arizona even know the difference between an Eagle Scout and anyone else! You want to score well in a job interview? Here’s the trick: pomade, nice shoes and AXE body spray. Apart from that, you can be a High School dropout with tattoos, a felony DUI and garnishment on your wages for child support and you’re still just as well off as some White Bread boy with an Eagle badge.
You’re welcome. That’s your life lesson on getting ahead in corporate America.
Apart from that advice, here’s some more:
Condoms save lives. Not just from disease – it will save that girl’s life from being ruined by a teen pregnancy. If you think that life is hard for a boy without his Eagle placard, you have no idea. A 15-year-old girl with a baby is damned for life. A 15-year-old girl with an abortion in her past is almost just as bad. ALMOST. Know how to use a condom – you don’t have to be eighteen or answer any questions to buy condoms. Go and buy some at Wal-Mart in the middle of the night – you can check them out through the self-checkout lane without a hassle – I do it all the time.
Learn the value of work, certainly. More importantly – learn how to stay awake for long periods of time while doing complicated brain-tasks like writing and using power tools. It is unhealthy, it is dangerous and it is absolutely necessary if you’re going to be a man in this world.
Learn how to politicize your position. Take your boss to dinner (not lunch) and get him to open up and tell you things from his personal life. If he drinks, buy him a drink – even if you don’t – and then buy him some more. Get him to open up about his marriage, his regrets in life, his ambitions and then do a lot of listening without doing any talking. It will be tempting to tell him about your problems, but that is not the idea, here – you can bitch to your friends. A meal and a drink with your boss is about blackmail. A manager who has to cut his annual budget by laying people off will always choose the guy who has dirt on him, last.
Learn to punch – hard, fast and with alarming accuracy and wanton abandon of any concern for the other person’s nose and face. If I had known how to do that at seventeen, I’d have knocked that Mormon Scoutmaster’s teeth down his racist fucking throat.
Do not go to college – unless Bernie Sanders get elected and college at a state college becomes tutition-free. Otherwise, go straight from high school into a high-power sales job like door-to-door vaccuum cleaner, pest control or home security alarm sales. If you can sell, you can make a living, because in modern America, there is no value in skill or talent. There is only value in cheating, scamming and conning.
for those who do not know: the Mormon Church is breaking up with the Boy Scouts of America, which paramilitaristic and useless organization has stood in lieu of a proper youth ministry for their young men for nearly a century.
Now Mormon boys like my son will not have a chance to be Eagle Scouts, anyway? Good fucking riddance!