I am the only child of my parents. My father was married before he met my mom. His first wife frivorced him, gradually turning their five children against him over the intervening years. They grew so estranged, they only learned of his death through the obituary in the newspaper. Dad once said he considered me to be his only son. Growing up as an only child may explain my unwillingness to share my toys and inability to play well with others.
Dad never graduated from college but he found lucrative work in the landscaping business before it became mostly staffed with illegal aliens from Mexico. As an aside, we've all heard the propaganda about the hard working Mexican who just wants to put food on his family as George W. Bush put it. But I remember dad coming home from work, cracking open a cold beer, and going on some epic rants about all the "Goddamn lazy Mexican bastards" he had to deal with all day.
Mom went on to get her Master's degree and taught at the community college level. She was 31 and dad was 41 when I was born. They both urged me to do well in school so I could go on to college. They didn't care what I actually majored in so long as I went to college and got a degree. I don't blame them for how things turned out. They didn't "lie to me," and neither did the Baby Boomer-run industrial-media complex deceive me either. At least, they didn't do so intentionally. The world has changed. Ironically enough, it is the Boomers themselves who led the changes once they became the Establishment they once despised in their youth.
When my parents were young in the 1950s and 60s, a college degree was indeed a meal ticket. You could major in Bulgarian poetry and upon graduation walk right into a job that paid a decent enough wage to live on your own and start a family. There was still enough manufacturing and other blue collar work available that even those who never went to college could raise a family. And the Baby Boomers, for all the evil they've done, were raised by the Greatest Generation. Recalling the deprivations of the Depression, the returning soldiers of WWII made sure their progeny would never want for material provisions.
My father passed away in 2013. My mother has been retired for several years. In her mind, one still follows the path laid out for the Boomers: 1) go to college and get a degree in anything at all; 2) send out resumes; 3) start off earning enough to afford a modest apartment if not a modest house; 4) get married and have children; 5) live happily ever after.
Despite the huge risks entailed by Marriage 2.0, I hope to marry and have children some day. If I had to do it all over again, I probably wouldn't have gone to college, at least not when I did. As my five loyal readers have no doubt guessed, there wasn't a job waiting for me upon graduation. I already worked at what was then still known as Longs Drugs, but I knew I didn't want to do retail for the rest of my life. So there I was, a college graduate in my mid 20s still earning barely above minimum wage. I know now that's the case with pretty much everyone these days, but at the time I found it humiliating. I wondered what was wrong with me. Everyone else in my age group was marrying, having children, working at adult jobs. What was my major malfunction?
I learned not to compare myself with others. Social media only shows us what they want us to see. A lot of those poor bastards have been friend zoned by their own wives who have blown up into tubby alcoholics. My grandmother, God rest her soul, once suggested I find a cushy gig with the State of California. Civil servants have to work at it to get fired, right? Wrong. This was at the beginning of the 2008 Depression and California quickly went on a spree of lay-offs and furloughs.
What my parents and grandparents failed to realize was that there's no such thing as a secure job anymore. I don't care what skills you have, how long you've been with the company, or how you and the boss are good buddies. Your employer sees you as an expensive liability they'd sooner do without if they could. If they can outsource your job, they probably will. If you read this blog and even mildly agree with anything I say or link to, your livelihood is in danger if the social justice warriors find out.
I blog under a pseudonym more out of long habit than from having anything to hide. I've been blogging in various ways since 2002. I've written millions of words over that length of time, not including comments. My experiences in the workplace, in the seminary, and in the spells of unemployment I've had have all taught me that if I can make money working for someone else, I can make money working for myself. My man Victor Pride over at Bold and Determined has provided much inspiration. Many naysayers say that you can't make a living through blogging, not if you're a no name scrub. That's probably true, but Victor Pride, Matt Forney, and Aaron Clarey make the lion's share of their income through selling books (correct me if I'm wrong if any of you gentlemen ever read this.) I can do that. In fact, I will do that.
So mark my words, my five loyal readers: I'll make a living as a writer or I will starve. There's no third option for me anymore.