23. Being Broke

I have recently ended a two week long broke period. Three and a half weeks at the beck and call of a crazy Vietnamese woman has finally paid off. During this time, I came to a rattling conclusion: It’s fucking really nice to have money all the time. Two years at art school should have immunized me against that, but alas. That’s because being broke is one of the most miserable experiences you can ever have.

The worst part of being broke is that you are always the only one that’s broke. It doesn’t matter if you regularly hang out with drug addicts, gamblers, and people who regularly suffer delusions in which they give away all their money for no reason. When you’re broke, everyone around you has money. The kind of alone that you feel at that point is devastating. You are socially neutered. Nobody wants to be the guy that’s not getting anything at the restaurant. You can always recognize the broke person because they’re the first one to suggest just going outside.

When you’re broke, you exist in a kind of quiet desperation. You wish you could walk around with horse blinders because everything you see reminds you of your financial failure. The gas tank that needs filled, the groceries that need bought, you’re out of weed. etc. These reminders are plenty and hound you throughout the day. At a certain point in the Broke Cycle, you begin to seriously fantasize about pickpocketing and robbing the local gas station just so you could maybe afford a Grand Slam at Dennys. You go through what I call the Poverty Desolation Effect, in which the poorer you are, the more cool things that you can’t afford surround you.

You begin to feel like Roddy Piper in They Live, wandering blindly from market to market, becoming violently aware how insignificant to society you are with no money. Waiters, salespeople, clergy, everyone is unconsciously aware that you have nothing to offer them. You’d rage against the sad state of human culture, but you’re too busy calculating exactly how much spare change you left in your car.


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