The Unbearable Banishment: Defective (cont'd)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Defective (cont'd)

This past week there was a gigantic lottery payout here in the U.S. The jackpot was a staggering $588 million. Over half a billion dollars! I didn't buy a ticket. I like to fancy myself a super sophisticated student of the odds and at, literally, 175,000,000 to 1, I felt it was a boorish bet to make. I won't even lay 35 to 1 at a roulette table.

While on my arduous commute home, past the petroleum refineries and chemical plants of northern New Jersey, I did what every red blooded American did. I stared out the window into the dusk and imagined what it would be like to suddenly win that preposterous amount of money. My first thought was, of course, no more life-sucking hours spent commuting. The second was the cliché palatial apartment overlooking Central Park. "Please don't show me anything below the 30th floor," I would instruct the real estate agent.

Then, very quickly, my mind drifted towards all the trouble it would cause. The relentless phone calls and pleadings for help. The whacked-out investment schemes and long, lost family, friends and ex-colleagues who would emerge from the mist of my intentionally forgotten memories. The unrelenting tsunami of temptations and guilt.

Do you see what I did there? I took a fortuitous event like winning the national lottery and immediately fashioned it into something bleak. I turned it into a problem. What the hell's the matter with me? I don't understand how my mind works sometimes. I lead a pretty decent life. From what deep, dark crevice does all this angst emanate from?

Do you know the plot device in the Harry Potter novels whereby memories and thoughts can be extracted and shared? In the films, those thoughts and memories are depicted as long, sparkly, glistening threads. I'll bet my thought strands would be brown and dripping with rust.

Not every post can be pizza commentary, casino hijinks and theater boasts. Nor should they be.

*     *     *

Self portrait #7. The Canine and I are getting along much better. I haven't been bitten or seriously growled at in quite some time. Just in a playful way.  Still, if I were a wizard, I'd dramatically slice the air with my wand and turn her into a cat.

*     *     *

City sidewalks, busy sidewalks.
Dressed in holiday style.
It's Christmas time in the city.

Here's the first of several holiday shots of the city. I love Christmas for purely secular reasons. The town gets all gussied up like a cheap, glittery, 10-cent transvestite. People are genuinely nicer to one another and I like the music. I'm not even bothered by the holiday throngs that residents constantly complain about. If you hate crowds so much, why the hell did you move to New York City in the first place, you idiot? Go live in Omaha. I hear they have room to breath. Merry Christmas!


Blogger dinahmow said...

People who win big money are almost always people who have no idea what to do with it.

You and Coco look cute together. Not bad, for a cat-man!

December 1, 2012 at 2:48 PM  
Blogger Gorilla Bananas said...

Your dark mind is right. If you had that much money you'd need bodyguards, and people would make up insulting names for you like 'The Cunt of Monto Cristo'. Much better to be a wizard who can turn dogs into cats and hoodlums into slugs.

December 1, 2012 at 3:06 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

I find stories of people who crashed and burned after winning a pile of money bizarrely satisfying. I like to imagine that it would NEVER happen to me, but of course it would. A satirical newspaper called The Onion just ran a headline, "Powerball Winners Already Divorced, Bankrupt." They just won a week ago! So funny.

December 1, 2012 at 3:13 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Wealth when you're not accustom to it is nothing but trouble. Actually, come to think of it, wealth seems to wreck a lot of people who are around it their whole lives. I wish I was a wizard! I conjure up a bigger blog audience.

December 1, 2012 at 3:16 PM  
Blogger savannah said...

the deal for me is planning! keep low and figure out how to invest it. but then again, i would ahve to buy a ticket...

i love being in nyc during the holidays! *cheers*


December 1, 2012 at 5:14 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Everyone (including myself) is calm and collect in the planning stages. What happens after the news conference you just can't know. NYC is a good show for the holidays but I've always wanted to be in London for Christmas. I'll bet that's the real stuff!

December 1, 2012 at 5:20 PM  
Blogger OldLady Of The Hills said...

You are truly funny! I understand going to the dark place IF you won all that money---But First---Secure it in some safe SAVINGS....then buy that gorgeous apartment with the view of the park and then, change your identity so no relatives can find!

Love the picture of you and your doggie---And do I ever understand turning her into a!

I LOVE New York at Christmas is gloriously gaudy and beautiful! I hope you will be showing more pictures as the season goes on...!

December 1, 2012 at 6:09 PM  
Anonymous paulo1 said...

What on earth is that dog staring at? It's me isn't it? I know it's going to come get me just as soon as I turn off the very last light. Those horribly, intense glaring eyes. It's alive I tell you, it's alive!!!!!!!!

December 1, 2012 at 6:19 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Mmmmwwha-ha-ha-ha! That's right! Stare deeply into Coco's hypnotic eyes! You are getting sleeeepy. You are getting out your checkbook, a pen, an envelope and a stamp...

December 1, 2012 at 6:29 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

I've got all the right plans if that money ever arrives, although I'm sure they'll crumble to dust within days. More Christmas pics to come! C'mon back.

December 1, 2012 at 6:32 PM  
Blogger savannah said...

i've only been to paris during christmas and spent my birthday (31dec) there! it was magnificent to come up out of the metro to snow falling! and don't get me started on how wonderful it was to have fireworks go off around the effiel tower! everyone was celebrating my birthday with me! ;) xoxoxox

December 1, 2012 at 6:40 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

I changed my mind. Scratch London. Make that Paris, instead.

December 1, 2012 at 8:01 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Och man, you should know better than most that money is secondary to the delight in a weans eyes when you introduce them to natures most beaqutiful of secrets.

Saying that, I can always slash the odds on a deal to make you rich! Come see me on Tuesday, bring a waterproof hat and a small concealed weapon.

Kidding... just kidding. (Or am I?)

December 2, 2012 at 4:08 AM  
Blogger Cat said...

I have a very close relative who won a large jackpot in the NJ lottery - not half a billion, but enough for both of them to quit their life sucking commutes. The husband went from a hard-working, physical job that kept him trim and healthy to a life pretty much centered around watching TV, eating and smoking. He died 6 years later in his mid-fifties of a heart attack.
Before winning, the wife was a chronically depressed person who complained about every single thing. Before the lottery, one sentence out of three was a gripe about someone or something. After the lottery it changed to one out of two.
That said, because of her money she has lived much longer and more comfortably than she would have without it. Also she has been very generous to a very small number of her very, very close relatives - myself included. Of course, I feel we earn it by spending lots of time with her, listening to her complain.

December 2, 2012 at 8:49 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

I know for a fact what money is and what place it should occupy in your life. But the seduction is always there. The yearning for it never really ceases, does it? It doesn't for me! My human frailty.

December 2, 2012 at 8:56 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

I'm always fascinated by this stuff. I saw a documentary on lottery winners on PBS not long ago. It was a pretty balanced report. Not just the sensational failures but also people who kept their cool and are quite happy. I wonder how I would handle it. And congrats on your lottery windfall! It must be worth the unending dreary conversations.

December 2, 2012 at 9:00 AM  
Blogger Pat said...

Enormous wealth would be a worry and an embarrassment to me. Hiowever I do realise - with advancing age - the importance of being able to pay for aids to maintain one's independance.

December 2, 2012 at 10:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The worst part would probably be the friends and family vying to get a piece of the winnings. Some people spend their whole lives craving that kind of attention, but I would hate it.
I agree about city lights, one of my favorites things about xmas!

December 2, 2012 at 2:26 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

There are studies that show a certain level of wealth and income is necessary for a normal, happy existence. However, there's a threshold (I forgot the dollar amount) whereby your enjoyment of life does not increase proportionately with more money. It's a hard lesson.

December 2, 2012 at 5:33 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

I prefer to keep my anonymity, thank you very much. I think wealth could be coped with but fame and attention is fool's gold. [Although if you scroll up, you'll see I just told Gorilla Bananas I wanted a bigger blog audience. Trapped in my own hypocrisy!]

December 2, 2012 at 5:37 PM  
Blogger mapstew said...

People sometimes ask if I would quit being an entertainer if I had lots of money... :/

December 2, 2012 at 6:49 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Do people really ask you that it are you pulling my leg? Martin, I barely know you and that question wouldn't enter my mind. The answer is so obvious.

December 2, 2012 at 7:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

my defect is similar - with each beginning, i see the end. summer starts, and i think "cool! but the pool will close in 3 months". relationships start and i say "i wonder how THIS one will end?" it's been an adjustment, but i try to take it from the obvious negative into the positive - i try hard to appreciate every beginning, and enjoy the 'now' a little bit more...

you aren't defective to see the downside of random, statistically improbable wealth. you are realistic and practical.

oh, and your dog? only has one eye. she either needs a haircut, or the lighting was off... (LOVE seeing you cuddle that furball, by the way!)

December 2, 2012 at 8:33 PM  
Blogger mapstew said...

I'm joshin'! But I AM asked if I would quit if I didn't need the money. The answer? Not. I have no choice, I love it and it's what keeps me sane.

December 2, 2012 at 8:51 PM  
Blogger mapstew said...

You DO know that ''waterproof hat' & 'concealed weapon' are euphemisms?! :¬)

December 2, 2012 at 8:54 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

I wonder if it's an Ohio thing? Are we a product of a bleak culture? Would we be different if our shared home state was California? The pooch has NOT had an eye knocked out. Both left and right are present and functioning. I'll text a photo to you proving as much.

December 3, 2012 at 6:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes---I agree with DF. My version of your form of doubt often comes out in relationships. With Trina I doubt its ability to last several times a week, and it is a conscious effort of will to banish such unhelpful thoughts.

I don't understand lottery winners going public with it. I'd be very careful who I told and wouldn't change my lifestyle too much. It'd give me immense pleasure to be able to buy houses for my mum and dad, and my brother and his family. None of them have ever owned property. Also, for a friend of mine, a single mother, who lives in a very expensive part of the country (because she has done since going to Uni) and is suffering now with the benefit cuts of this despicable government.

Of course, another possibility is that I'd end up like a walking pharmacy and go the same route as Cat's relative.

December 3, 2012 at 7:24 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

It's important to steer clear of all wisps of doubt. I believe that thinking long and hard enough about a bad result will actually cause it to occur!

Here in the U.S., lottery winners are compelled to go public by law. It's one of the conditions for receiving a payout. Not announcing who actually won large jackpots would be catnap for conspiracy theorists.

December 3, 2012 at 8:07 AM  
Blogger Joe Jubinville said...

You don’t want to see my thought thread after reading this post. It began with wondering how many 10 cent transvestites one could buy with a half-billion dollars. Can one ever have enough...?

December 4, 2012 at 2:29 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

They may be cheap to buy but their upkeep and maintenance is murder. least, that's what I hear.

December 4, 2012 at 3:11 PM  

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