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As the snowball goes

From roughly the age of 9, when I discovered the joy of rolled coins and the concept of coin collecting, until December of 1997 I knew exactly how much money I had. At one point I even kept a special account in Quicken for petty cash.

Up until December of 1997, despite accumulating substantial debt, I had never missed a payment or been late on a bill.

How is it that nearly 10 years later I sit on a pile of unopened mail nearly 6 years old, receive daily phone calls from crass bill collectors and lawyers, have threatening conversations with the mortgage company, and stare dumbfoundly at ultimatums from the IRS?

A little bit of a breakdown
I said breakdowns come
And breakdowns go
So what are you going to do about it
That’s what I’d like to know

Frankly, I slipped. I fell. And society eats its own! I’ve tried to stand up again but the pack keeps knocking me down. It is real easy for people to offer advice about things they don’t have to face. The truth of the matter is there are no simple solutions.

When you are running the marathon like everyone else, things are fine. The refreshments table is full and volunteers hand you Gatorade and snacks. Services are offered to you to help you along the way: "You can skip this block and rest a bit. In return you’ll run an extra block at the end of the race but because you were able to rest you’ll still finish ahead." But as you fall behind you start to notice the refreshment tables are looking bare. Trash liters the street. Most of the volunteers have gone home. The ones that remain are cleaning up the mess the runners made and only grimmace and curse under their breath at you. The judges penalize you and add blocks to the end of the race without allowing you to "rest a bit." Already you have to run 4 times as hard as the other runners just to catch up yet they add more and more blocks. Short cuts are tempting but have hidden detours, pitfalls and, if caught, substantial penalties. Occasionally golf carts are seen parked on the sidewalks but no one offers to give you a ride to catch up with the rest of the runners. Why should they? You are inferior. But you know that given the opportunity, you could not only run with the pack but could lead them into greatness! Still, the judges often stop you to have you fill out paperwork explaining why you are so far behind. You write furiously knowing the gap between you and the last runner only gets larger, and the further behind you get, more judges want to stop and question your lag. You start to forget why you entered the race in the first place. The dream of winning, even the dream of crossing the finish line, has vanished. You run simply because stopping is not an option.

Update: Of course Philip would post something applicable yesterday. Now where’s my helmet?

1 thought on “As the snowball goes

  1. …and, most part of the race, you’re forced to carry the more fortunate the runners in piggyback. Not to mention that the race is rigged from the beginning; from time to time, you are forced to wear a blindfold and the judges send you running to wrong direction!

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