Monday, April 9, 2012

The Most Evil Thing in the World

Money, money, money.

There is nothing in this world more evil, more despicable or more reprehensible than the green stuff.

And yet, there is nothing, and I mean nothing, that the overwhelming majority of the world wouldn’t do to possess as much of it as possible.

Murder, deception, theft – nothing is above the greedy.

If it means raping the very planet on which they live, if it means killing any living creature – from human on down – if it means selling out every dream, belief and ideal they’ve held dear since the womb just to increase their bank account, consider it done.

Money is the universal answer to the continuous question, “What is wrong with the world?”

From “Why are people such assholes these days?” to “Why do my taxes, energy costs, food costs, entertainment costs and education costs keep going up?” to “Why is there such a heinous act as war?” The answer is as obvious as a $100 bill.

There is very little in this world that has nothing to do with money.

It’s why we get up in the morning and why we go to bed at night. It’s the reason we go to school and the reason we need to find work. It’s the ultimate prize. People may boast about their priceless art collection, their state-of-the-art automobile, their custom-built home on the Riviera. But what is every kidnapper, thief or con man chasing when they pull off their abduction, heist or scam?

I’m not law enforcement official, but I don’t recall anyone asking for a Picasso, classic Duesenberg or royal tiara in exchange for the return of Little Miss Snatched Off The Playground. Nope, they want the green, the ducats, the dead presidents – and they want a lot.

Isn’t it the ultimate irony that the absolute worst item on this planet’s check list of atrocities is that which is the most coveted?

And yeah, folks, you want it. You want it so badly you’ll pass on spending time with the family just so you can stay late at the office and make more of it.

You’ll endanger your own health by going to work sick, and then put in overtime just so there’s more in your paltry paycheck.

You’ll take more crap from your boss than any human should have to endure just to keep working so that those paltry paychecks will keep coming.

You’ll shove some frail octogenarian to the curb because she’s blocking your path to where they’re selling lottery tickets just so you can put down your hard-earned on a billion-to-one chance that you’ll become wealthy.

And you know what? I’m doing exactly those same disgusting things, day in and day out.

I’m debasing myself, selling my soul and pissing all over my once-cherished dreams and visions.

I’d like to think I have my principles, too.

But the fact of the matter, folks, is what choice do we have?

The powers that be, the kings of the hill, the one percent – whatever you want to call them before you begin that litany of expletives – have us by the balls. (And yes, ladies, they have you by the balls, too. That’s how relentless these scumbags are.)

Of course, they’ve always had us by the balls. But now they’re squeezing so hard I can feel it in your socks.

Gasoline? Food? Taxes? Automobiles?Education?

You name it, and somebody’s got their hand out grabbing for it. And they’re no longer satisfied with spare change.

You feel like, perhaps, eating or, maybe, walking around your house in the winter without wearing an overcoat?

How about driving to work, or giving your kids a fair shot at spelling “cat” one of these days?

Get ready for the squeeze. And when the squeeze is on these days, there’s no slipping through those clutched fingers.

They got you. They got you for life. They’re on the beach wondering what hand to use to stir their peach margarita. You’re up a creek wondering whether to pay the water bill or the utility bill this month.

I was watching the old sitcom, “Happy Days,” the other day. It was later on in the run of the series and Howard and Marion were talking about their grandiose plans for retirement after Richie and Joanie were out of the house.

They were talking about what most about-to-be-retired folks used to realistically talk about – traveling, finding hobbies, doing all the things they could never afford to do when they were raising their brood.

I didn’t know whether to laugh or put my size 12 through Howard’s forehead.

Retirement? Traveling? Enjoying life?

I’ve no idea when, or if, I’m ever going to be able to retire. My wife and I, who have worked our entire lives, are worried about such trivialities as being able to afford food, utilities and a means of travel when we hit our “golden” years. Will Social Security even exist by then?

It’s not a pretty picture.

And the reasons are wide-screen obvious.

While the one percent are refusing raises or hacking away at salaries and benefits, we’re paying a pretty penny for gas, a king’s ransom for food, a small fortune to keep our house warm and a first-round draft pick’s salary to educate our children.

In a nutshell, we need a lot more of the most evil, despicable and reprehensible thing on earth.

And I despise irony.