February 12th, 2003

flavored with age

The whine king

I've been thinking about getting the fuck out of here.

I don't mean in the abstract "why if Bush wins this election I'm moving to (insert foreign country I can't afford to live in here)" sense, but in the specific "noting when my lease is up and looking at the want ads in Toronto" sense.

Why? Because in a more profound way than I have ever felt, I don't really feel like I'm wanted here. And this is a strange feeling to get, because I've been far outside the American mainstream for as long as I've been an adult. I always sort of feel not wanted. But for over a year now, I've felt rather severely not wanted: so disenfranchised from the terms of the national discourse, so deeply removed from any sense that the things I care about and the paths I think we, as a country and a culture, should be following will be considered, that I wonder what's even keeping me here. I was born here by accident; why stay here when I'm no more in step with the national values than they are with me?

Maybe because I'm a news junkie. Maybe it's because I'm way too immersed in the natterings of the ultra-orthodox punditocracy. Maybe I'm just getting hysterically dramatic, like people do in moments of crisis (this latter possibility seems the most likely). But contemplating on the one hand my fellow Arabs who would be happy to see me choke on blood because I happen to have been born in America, and on the other hand my fellow Americans who think of me as morally equivalent to Stalin because I don't support the systemized slaughter of Arabs, I can't help but wonder why I don't get a shitty job in Christchurch or Winnipeg instead of keeping my shitty job here.

This is all melodramatic vaporing, I know. I probably won't go anywhere; I'm lazy, I'm broke, and for some reason, I like where I live. And I probably won't be lucky enough to get out before both sides start making things explode. But some days, I tell you. Some days. The world weighs heavy on me at times, considering that I don't have any real problems.
flavored with age

You gotta make a living

Of course, it would be much easier to relocate to a less ugly country if I didn't have to get a job once I got there. Fans of the Leonard Pierce Cultural Whinging Unit are well aware that I hate working worse than anything; however, like most ineffectual losers, I am either unable or unwilling to do anything about it. The traditionally favored ways of becoming a dilettantish gadabout who flits around the globe, forcing his irritating opinions on people who have to work for a living, are sadly inaccessible to me. Let's take a look:

1. INHERITING A LOT OF MONEY: The all-time favorite. Alas, my family are all impoverished southern white trash. If everyone in my extended family died and left me everything they owned in the will, I would probably come out behind on the whole deal.

2. BECOMING A RICH PERSON'S SPOUSE OR LOVER: Unlikely due to my ugliness and abrasive personality.

3. EARNING A HUGE AMOUNT OF CASH AND RETIRING YOUNG: The method preached by politicians and TV commercials for financial management companies, and the explicit ending of the American Dream. Problematic here is my lack of marketable skills and complete absence of drive and ambition.

4. STEALING THE MONEY: Ah, it's the life of an international jet-setting supercriminal for me! This is far and away the most appealing possibility, although at a certain point I begin to suspect that it would be a little too much like working. Alas, though, while I have the mind of a supervillain, I have the body and soul of a thuggish henchman. In the comic book of life, I am the guy whose only line is "What the -- ?!?". Others get the glory and prestige, while I just get "Rocko! Get him!" yelled at me.

5. WINNING THE LOTTERY: This has been my plan for a number of years now. Unfortunately, it's taking a lot longer than I anticipated.

That's why I turn to you, my devoted readership, and announce the "HELP LEONARD BECOME A LOW-RENT VERSION OF GORE VIDAL" CONTEST! If you donate money to me, so I can move to a foreign country and snipe cattily about America from a relatively safe distance, then once a year I will pay your way to my opulent mansion for a delightful holiday!

Won't you please help? If everyone on my Friends list just donated five hundred thousand dollars, I would be well on my way. If each of you donated a mere fifty thousand dollars via PayPal to leonard at ludickid dot com, I could at least not work for five years or so. And if all of you got everyone on YOUR friends list to pony up a paltry ten grand, the practical benefits to me would be beyond measure.

It's really not so much to ask, is it, to make me an obnoxious expatriate millionaire crank, after all I've done for you?