The stock market plunged this past week. I know I should be concerned, upset, or at the very least – willing and able to justify an urgent trip to the watering hole to chat up my fellow proletariat while we try to figure out solutions over several swanky designer pints of beer. Truth is, I ain’t much for swanky beer. Also, that while I do care about everyone who may be experiencing the fallout of the current world economic crisis, I personally have been in one for decades. In other words, empathy notwithstanding, this news is so twenty years ago…
Most recently, I had not worked for nearly two months. Off-season in Alaska generally guarantees less money and less job prospects on the non-horizon. Off-season began two weeks ago. While I am feeling kind of f*cked, I sure ain’t feeling the love that might accompany said expletive. (And this is the point, methinks, where karma personified steps in and says, “Hold still, baby, I’m trying to care.”)
Nonetheless, righteous indignation gives way to humble resignation. Hey, my own personal stock market crashed long ago, which technically makes me a freaking expert! Therefore, I am plumb thrilled to share some of my very own, little-known success secrets that just might save your life. Okay, not your life, but maybe your stock portfolio. Okay, not that either.
Here are some coping strategies that one might employ during, what I like to call, times of Exponential Financial Suckage:
1. Learn new skills. Dumpster Diving is an art form that has gained in popularity in recent (say, eight) years. Dumpster diving offers you the opportunity to glean as much from your community as a full semester of college – tuition free! Additionally, this pastime can be enjoyed alone, on a date, or even with children. Worst case scenario: Here in Alaska, as in many rugged places, it is always advisable to check out the local bear situation before you dive. (In other words, I lose more boyfriends that way…)
2. Utilize free resources. Go to any library and enjoy free internet, newspapers, magazines, books, and assorted media in a comfortable, climate-controlled environment. An added bonus is that if one is stealth, there are a bevy of indiscriminate indiscretions that can be entertained (with discretion, of course) in the obscure aisles of antiquated reference books. Worst case scenario: You have recurring nightmares of the librarian that caught you and she won’t stop shh, shh, shushing you.
3. Enjoy the great outdoors. Go to the park, the beach, the mountains. Pay attention to nature. Plenty of exercise and fresh air are the upside of an economic downturn. Worst case scenario: you get a room at the Open Air Hotel for a while. Just remember to moisturize frequently and wear sunscreen year round. Just because your finances went to the dogs doesn’t mean your skin has to.
4. Make new friends. You would be amazed at the eclectic cross-section of people one might encounter at the bus stations, truck stops, and homeless shelters. Attend some AA meetings; participate in school board, city council or chamber of commerce meetings. Try to care. Worst case scenario: You get elected to serve on a committee and now you have to attend all the meetings and try not to care.
5. Hone your skills. Learn the words to a few good songs like “Career Opportunities” by The Clash, Roger Miller’s “King of the Road,” or pretty much anything by Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, or Leadbelly. Shoot, if you’re any good, you can make a couple of bucks a day by singing for yer supper. Worst case scenario: You actually think you are good and try out for American Idol. The judges don’t agree.
Finally, and most important:
6. Poverty sucks. Learn to swallow. Essentially, this means you have to buck up and put your pride aside. (More importantly, this skill looks great on a resume!) Need I say more?
p.s. For a real taste of being poor – Read this piece by John Scalzi… Turns out, I ain’t so poor after all.