28 Dollars Later

..Seriously, that's how tight things are for me right now.
I'm certainly not the only one in the world with money problems, and there are plenty of people out there who are much worse off than me -- but that doesn't mean it's not incredibly frustrating to try to work the numbers over and over and not see any daylight at the end of the tunnel.

The worst part of course is that I have no one to blame for this but myself. I'm the one who over-extended things, and I'm equally the one who didn't start filling up sandbags when the heavy rainclouds started to form on the financial horizon -- but it's amazing how something like this seeps into everything else.
It's an astounding moodkiller.
Luckily, it's one of those rough patches where the bills are (mostly) paid and there's just nothing really left over. As a result, I've been staying in a lot and catching up on Netflix stuff that's been growing moss on top of my DVD player for no apparent reason. The results haven't been all that great, but sometimes it's more about the journey than the destination -- right, Josh Hartnett?
Yeah, bullshit on that. As far as I'm concerned you owe me five bucks, pal.
The thing about being really broke though, is that it's a good time to assess your own financial weaknesses. You get to sort of see first hand the things that get you in the most trouble -- because those are the things you know you can't really buy, but you want more than anything, especially when there's really no petty cash to be found.

Of course when you look back through history, you get the chance to find out just how much I don't really know what broke is. Sure I can't afford a tank of gas right now, but it's not like some of the hard times this country has seen in the past.

A fact that sometimes gets lost when you look back at some of the entertainment of the times. I was thinking about this the other day when I was going through some of my classic cartoon DVDs, many of which were made in the 30's and 40's -- created by artists who grew up through the great depression. But when you think of the jazz and the movies and the absolutely fantastic cartoons of that time -- it's interesting to realize just how much of it was lighthearted and optimistic, even in the face of everything that was going on in the world at the time.
A couple of notes on this short:
  1. The Henpecked Hoboes was banned for a while and then later broadcast in an edited version because of a quick gag based on negative stereotypical imagery that shows up about halfway through. Certainly it's not the most sensitive thing in the world, but even as a child (when I didn't know what it was supposed to imply) I always thought these jokes were more about the explosion than anything else. This YouTube clip includes that bit, which I hope you'll see through the eyes of history as a representation of some of the outdated cultural ideas that were prevalent when this cartoon was made (1946), and not as anything mean-spirited or insulting.

  2. Every time I watch these old Tex Avery shorts, there's always a second where I wonder whatever happened to expressions that start with the words "Leave us." I know it's kind of old school, but as far as I'm concerned "Leave us not get excited" is a phrase that should have never gone out of style.

  3. If I ever get the chance to sit down and talk with a cartoon historian like Jerry Beck or John Kricfalusi, one of the fanboy questions I would love to ask is about just how deeply John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men was ingrained into peoples minds in the 40's. Sure it's s a great book and all -- but when you start to consider just how many of those golden era cartoons were riffs on that idea, you get the impression that it was a pop culture favorite of perhaps Star Wars-level proportions. Or to put it another way -- if Kevin Smith had been born in the 1930's, it's possible all of his increasingly-lame jokes would have been about George Milton and Lennie Small.

  4. Speaking of "Mice and Men" -- cartoons like this always serve to illustrate a point that I've been making for years about John Steinbeck novels -- which is: Not enough ass-kicking. The Grapes of Wrath especially is a novel that could have really benefited from more scenes where people told their partners to "bend over."
Back in college being broke was just sort of a state of being, which looking back -- made it sort of a bonding experience for the people who you hung out with, who usually ended up (whether they wanted to or not) being your safety net.
..Not so much of that happening when you screw up the books in your mid-30's.
Not that I'm looking for a couch to crash on or a handout, but it's just weird to
think that the last time I was in a hole like this, it seemed like a lot more fun.

[Listening To:  Blackstreet"Don't Leave Me" ]


dorian said…
Re: "Leave us"...

I never understood why there was such an emphasis on the difference between "leave" and "let" during grammar lessons in school. Even growing up in the South - I never really heard these two words interchanged or confused... but maybe I'm one of the few who didn't :)
Heff said…
You're not the only one out of cash, brother...
whatigotsofar said…
I read somewhere that the unemployment rate during parts of the Great Depression were around 70%. 7 of out 10 men out of work. That's messed up.

And I've also had similar thoughts about Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath. Steinbeck must have been a huge icon back then.

Those cartoons, you gotta figure, were all shown in theatres before movies, not on TV. Movies throughout the Depression were all either really happy or really depressing. The public, for the most part, wanted an evening of escapism. Two, three hours of Betty Boop and Shirley Temple.
Werdna said…
Great post.

straight out of low cash.
Hex said…
Dorian -- You think there wouldn't be a problem with it, but it was one of those things they hammered at us during those early years. I still love hearing it, though.

Heff -- Times are tough. But I'm rich with friends.

WIGSF -- The other thing I learned recently is that there was really no such thing as unemployment insurance or pensions at the time, so out of work was like -- all the way out of the loop. It could be easily said that all the bearaucracy that came out of that period is what's killing us now, but it's hard to even imagine just how bleak those times must have been.

Werdna -- out of cash is right, bro. Geez.
so it's a no-go for '30 Days' huh?

i don't mind a bit of vampire fantasy - shall i give it a miss then?