How many of you have friends who logged more hours on Black Ops 2 last week than they did at their job? Or maybe they constantly complain that they're never going to find someone, but the last person they asked out was over a conversation about how they heard that the new Star Wars films were going to be all about Darth Vader and how it was going to be the best thing in the history of cinema? They just sit around in a funk, and it takes every ounce of willpower to stop yourself from grabbing them by the ankles and screaming at their crotch until balls appear.
It's those goddamn excuses. Every time you try to help, they have a retort that makes so much sense to them -- but to anyone who has lived through even five minutes of adulthood, it's just bullshit. And believe me, I know these quite well. I was a master at saying and believing things like ...
#5. "The System Is Unfair! I Refuse to Participate!"
Back in the early '90s, fresh out of high school, I tried to get a job at a local candy factory, because hell yes. At the time, I had virtually no work history. No experience with job interviews, no experience with applications, and barely anything to put on them, outside of my name and address. I didn't get the job, which was not unexpected, because even if you factor out my extensive arrest record for "genital terrorism," many of the "any dumbass can do this" jobs required heavy, repetitive lifting, and at the time I was built like a losing game of Hangman.
My mom's boyfriend worked there and told me later that the interviewer didn't hire me because of my hair (the left half was shaved, while the right half was down around the middle of my back). Now, hindsight tells me that he explained it because that interview marked the beginning of a very long string of job rejections that I couldn't figure out. But at the time, I got offended and exclaimed, "That's discrimination!" Then I asked him, "If I press the issue, would you be willing to say in court that they discriminated against me based on my hair?" And he looked at me the way you're looking at your monitor right now: a cringe, laced with "You are the dumbest twat alive." But instead of fixing the hair problem that was preventing me from gaining employment, I instead dyed it green out of protest, thinking, "If I have to change who I am in order to work, that's not a job I want in the first place!" In my mind, I was standing up against a horrible injustice.
"I cut my hair like you asked."
The problem with this excuse isn't about the job. It's about our juvenile sense of entitlement -- our naive belief that we can do whatever we want without repercussions. If you want to see what I mean in action, pull up any video of a cop using a Taser and read through the comments. I can save you the trouble if you value your sanity enough to decline that experiment. If the cop was in the wrong, it will be post after post from people frothing with rage, declaring that it's time we stood up and took back our country from "corrupt fucking pigs." They'll compare police officers to gang members and say they're on a power trip. You'll see the phrase "Nazi Germany" more than when the Nazis were actually in power in Germany. It's "abuse of power" and "They need to be fired and put in jail!" A third of the people will claim that they'd kill the cop if they were there, because the Internet is a perfectly logical place with people who aren't completely fucking stupid at all.
And the cops who were totally in the right? Same exact response.
From the moment we were crotched into this world, we've been taught that nobody has the right to speak to us with a certain tone of voice. But we have a right to speak our minds no matter what, and that other person has to listen and give weight to what we say. So when we're in a situation where there is simply no fucking discussion in the matter (traffic stop, meeting with the boss, redneck wedding trying to fist fight the police), our gut reaction is "NO! You will listen to what I have to say, because I have a right to express my feelings and opinions!"
We think that because the boss is being an asshole about our work performance or the police officer is yelling, "Get your ass on the fucking ground" (instead of "I'm terribly sorry for the inconvenience, but could you please do me a favor and lie face down for just a few seconds?"), it excuses us from having to listen to them or follow their instructions. Instead of complying, we rebel out of this weird sense of justice. "I can't let them get away with that. I'm not doing what they say because I don't have to- OH MY GOD, THIS HURTS SO BAD, MY BODY IS BURNING WITH ELECTRICITY, FUCK!"
"I'm so sorry, I just feel terrible about this."
When we're kids, that's a great lesson, because it's teaching us important morals about communication and expression. I'm not saying that you shouldn't stand up for your rights or should let injustice go unchecked. I'm saying that when you become an adult, you learn where that shit is appropriate and where it will earn you a free face-kneeing. People who never get past that original childish viewpoint find themselves on the pavement with a Taser shoved trigger-deep in their asshole while they scream "WHAT'D I DO?!" Adults know that battling authority on their grounds only makes it worse -- you fight that shit in court.
#4. "I'm Just Not Ready to Settle Down Yet!"
You'll hear this from bachelors who don't want to get married or party lovers who aren't ready to give up the "drink until three, sleep until two" lifestyle. Other variations include "There will be time to slow down when I'm older" and "I'm living life to its fullest." Followed by intense puking noises.
It sounds pretty straightforward, I'll admit, even from an adult perspective. Hell, I know adults who still live by that motto. Here's the problem, though: Most adults understand that the idea of basing the quality of your life on the amount of liquor you drink or the strangers you fuck is an illusion created by the unweathered mind. That's not an insult -- it's a product of biology. The body is still getting high off of a fresh supply of hormones and impulse, and it's not quite ready to step outside of the "If it feels good, do it" mentality. We all go through it -- there's nothing wrong with it at the time.
"Dude, that had better be your finger."
Eventually, though, you start to mature and realize that every second you spend living like that is a second you haven't spent building your career or securing your retirement or building a legacy. And the longer you put it off, the more of a head start you give your competition for the perfect job or the perfect spouse. You start realizing that all of your friends bought their first house at age 30, while you're counting wrinkled wads of singles from the strip club the night before to pay your rent.
Does that mean you have to give up everything that's fun and grind through endless identical days of work with a scowl and a puckered asshole? Hell no. Just like all of these points, it boils down to "there's a time and a place." Settling down does not mean "giving up." It means "It's time to stop talking about what I want to be in life, and actually become that thing."
"Got a master's degree in helicopter dick."
When you're younger, that perspective is hard to see. You see compromise as a negative thing that means "Stop having fun" instead of a means to the most dramatic personal growth you'll ever experience. In this respect, the difference between juvenile and adult is "more" versus "better." When you're young, your mind will hammer you for more orgasms, more buzz, more parties ... When you're an adult, you work your ass off, and as a side effect of that, you can afford better wine. You focus on building a solid relationship where the sex is better and actually means something.
The unfortunate problem with this point is that until you actually live it, it sounds like bullshit. But believe me, any adults who tell you that they'd rather relive their teenage years than their current life aren't doing it right.
"I miss all that dick."
#3. "I Can't Make It on My Own!"
Once upon a time, I lived my life in a perpetual state of partying and sleeping on whatever couch was available to me. Two of my closest friends at the time had their own apartment, but their mothers paid all the rent and bills for them, so I found myself hanging out with them a lot. None of us worked, and we didn't make much of an effort to alleviate that problem. Mostly because we didn't see it as a problem. Some of our other friends had part-time jobs but didn't make enough to pay basic bills, so they lived at home with mom, trying and failing to save up. Again, never making the effort to find a better job or tack on a second one to fill the financial gaps.
"Finally landed a sweet job as a pig whisperer."
This isn't even close to uncommon. Thirty percent of young adults live with their parents, 53 percent if you look at just the 18-to-24 age group. If you're not in this situation, that's awesome -- no sarcasm, I'm sincerely proud of you. If you are in the situation I described above, though, I need you to do something that's kind of painful, even in the realm of imagination. I need you to imagine that the person helping you out becomes one of the 10,000 people a year who die in a DUI-related accident.
Just driving home from work, completely sober -- never even knew what hit them. Bam. Gone.
What happens now? Fuck the funeral costs -- what are you going to do in four days when the fridge is empty? In two weeks when the rent, electric, gas, car payment, phone bill, and trash pickup all become due? Do you know how to wash your own clothes? Can you cook more than a couple of meals that don't come out of a box? When a future job asks for your Social Security card or a copy of your birth certificate, do you have one? Do you know how to get one if you lose them? You should know every last bit of that shit right this second. And you should most definitely have enough of an income locked down that if God forbid something does happen, you can survive.
"Well, it's not much, but I call it home."
I know that many of you are in these situations because you graduated from college and can't find a job in your field, but you need to hear something that may piss you off: Fuck your dreams. Fuck them right exactly in their dream asses. Not off to the side -- not a grazing ass poke. Right in it. Right now, you're working for survival.
Got a degree in music? Fine, you can look for a job in that field while you're collecting an actual real paycheck from whatever job is willing to hand you money -- and sometimes that means working two or three of them to ensure that you have a place to live, while using your lunch break to hand out resumes for your dream. Every famous person in entertainment who wasn't handed a gift-wrapped career has a string of "shitty job" stories that he or she had to endure while working on becoming something better. Very few of them say, "I got my degree and then hunted around for a few years before I found a job in acting."
Acting is hard.
Unless you're flat-out rich, the economy will not allow you the luxury of cherry picking your employment. You cannot use the economy as an excuse -- you have to use it as motivation.