Modern Day Indentured Servitude v.s. VAruca Salt

July 1st, 2011.

What is the only difference between a Modern Day American Indentured Servant (MDAIS) and VAruca Salt?

Simple.

VAruca’s mummy and daddy didn’t have to borrow money to pay for all of VAruca’s ridiculous crap.

Do you remember little VAruca Salt in Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory? Who sang “I Want It Now”? The one that wanted her geese to lay gold eggs for Easter? That spoiled fucking brat that everyone cheers and claps for when finally she is ejected out the rotten egg shoot? As an audience, we don’t like her.

We hate her.

She got what she deserved, we say to ourselves. She is truly a bad egg. And we don’t hate her because her parents are rich.

We hate her because she is an over-indulged, satanic spawn from hell and we want her to suffer mercilessly for being the greedy, demanding little shit she is.

But, “I Want It Now” is the mantra that so many MDAIS-types live by.
And “I Can Have It Now If I Want” is what they are teaching their children.

MDAIS-types are not entirely like VAruca Salt, though.
No.
They are in debt.
They owe money on their-
BIGGER house and
TRENDY, gas guzzling SUV and a
NANNY to take care of their little VAruca Salts and Augustus Gloops, whom they’ve inflicted upon society and
FANCY jewelry that makes average joe-kers appear ching-ching and bling and
OVERPRICED designer clothes and
SPA and CELEBRITY SALON body treatments and more and more
SHIT that isn’t worth what was paid for it and now oodles is owed to the bank…
who, by the way, didn’t hold a gun to the MDAIS’s head and force a signature on the dotted line.

Let’s review a little history, shall we, for those of you who slept through grade school.

Way back before any of us were around, indentured servants were commonly young, unskilled, desperate people who sold themselves into the service of a master who then provided them with a roof over their head, food, clothing, and transportation to pay off some kind of debt, usually the transatlantic passage to the colonies from Europe.  After their contract was up, IF the indentured servant was lucky enough to survive the voyage and fulfill the contract, the indentured servant was free to go and hopefully make a good life for himself.

Now, the MDAIS is different. Instead of borrowing money to improve life and invest in the future, the MDAIS borrows money so that lots of things and stuff that aren’t worth the money that was paid for them can be acquired NOW. (Let me point out that the big screen TV might enhance life, but it is not an investment.) And, it is in this way that the MDAIS is exactly like VAruca Salt.

And then…
the MDAIS gets a bigger home with more room to stash all that great shit.
And the shit multiplies. It begins to overflow into the three car garage. When there is no more room to park the cars, a gigantic storage condo is rented… to store even more precious shit.

Ironically, MDAIS also spells MIDAS… the greedy king in the Greek myth who turned everything to gold, his food, his servants, even his daughter, and so lost everything truly valuable even though he was the “richest” man in the world.

American society has lost focus to what is really important. We have filled our lives with shiny, glittery, sparkly things and the weight of our debt is making the ground that we stand on very weak.

Face it .

Americans who have gotten themselves way in over their heads financially have sold themselves into indentured servitude. You hear so many Americans whining today because they are having problems making their monthly payments on mortgages for gigantic homes they couldn’t afford in the first place, they are having to work multiple jobs to stay ahead of their debt, and their umpteen credit cards are maxed out in the 5-6 digit range. And, they’re crying a river over the unfairness of it all.

I don’t feel pity for them.

I’m not saying I’m perfect – far from it. I’ve had my share of credit card debt and wracking up the bills because of my own pure stupidity. But, I’ve never owned a new car, never bought a new home, never lived in a 2,000sf+ house, and never ever felt pressured to keep up with my friends who had more money. I got myself under control and paid the bills I owed.  I didn’t like it and it doesn’t make me better than anyone else, but the debt was mine to pay and I wanted out from under it. Once I was free of it I felt like I was born again – except not.

I used to work with this girl, Shelley. She came into work sobbing one morning because her brand new, shiny white Lincoln Navigator got repo-ed.

“How much did you owe on it?” someone asked her.

“I don’t know,” she sniveled. “My payments were only $395 a month.”

I couldn’t stand Shelley. Shelley was a pathetic whiner who complained about having to work two jobs to keep up with her spending habits. She and her Chiweenie, the $650 chihuahua/wiener designer dog aberration that looked like a killer mutant rabbit, lived together in a three-bedroom condo. Did the two of them really need all that space?

Poor Shelley wore expensive clothes, carried designer handbags and always sported well kept acrylic nails and fabulous hair. I’m betting her boobs were bought, too (on credit). Thankfully, I am in touch with my warning signs. I was able to control my temper, and so my gut wrenching urge to give her a good old-fashioned titty twister subsided.

Some of the other employees really felt sorry for Shelley.

“She’s having a rough time,” they would whisper sadly.

Well I, for one, did not feel sorry for Shelley. Shelley was a empty headed dipshit who got herself in debt up to her eyeballs over worthless crap. She was spoiled. She was selfish. She was stupid.

The bleeding hearts in the office where I worked took up a collection one afternoon.
Gina, the goody-two-shoes helper from hell (who I secretly called ‘Va-Gina’), asked me if I would contribute.

“It’s just a little something to help Shelley out. She’s is having hard times,” Va-Gina said wistfully.

“Really? Shelley’s having hard times? Wow. And I thought hurricane or earthquake victims had hard times. Stupid me.” I took into consideration that Va-Gina was really trying to do a nice thing.

And then (because I’m also nice) I said, “I’ll tell you what I’ll do. I’m going to take the donation I would have given to Shelley – whose self inflicted misery was out of pure dim-wittedness – and I’m going to instead give it to someone who deserves it, an abused child, for example.”

Hey, I fucked up once too, but I handled my personal debt seriously, drastically, without help, without a pity party and without taking other people’s money from them.

For any Shelleys in the world who might be reading, let’s put some things into perspective. Repeat after me… paying “interest” is in the interest of someone else!

If a car valued at $20,000 was offered to you for $29,000, would you buy it? Only if you had shit for brains. It is NOT OKAY to buy things for ‘Only $99 per month’ when you DON’T KNOW what the total price you are paying is going to cost you!

That washing machine that you want NOW for only $15 each month sounds tempting… that’s the point! The basic fact is that if that $475 washer is going to cost you $650, it is NOT in YOUR best interest. That shiny, new car you could drive off the lot TODAY for only $250 per month is NOT in YOUR best interest if it costs you $4,000 extra.

Society should not be okay with this. It is a trap. It is a trap set to lure out the vicious VAruca inside us all. The next step is selling ourselves into slavery, from which we will never be free.

Plain and simple:
If you let the little child in you behave like VAruca Salt, you deserve to have the floor fall out from under you.

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96 Responses to Modern Day Indentured Servitude v.s. VAruca Salt

  1. haha

    this precious little rant would mean more if you spelled the character’s name correctly.

  2. okay

    Veruca*

  3. Andy

    Wow, your writing has gone WAY downhill. The first post in a year and a half and this is really the best you can do?

  4. Caleb

    Seeing as the “VA” is consistently capitalized, and the acronym for this site is “VA,” I’m guessing it is purposeful.

  5. Saul

    I’m so glad I never took you off my RSS feeds.

  6. whatever

    When it comes to a loan, my father multiplies the monthly payment by the total months of the loan. Then he adds any initial costs and final payments.

    It’s addition and arithmetic. Very simple math, of the sort we learn in elementary school. I know it doesn’t take a college degree (he doesn’t have one, never having gone to college), but he acts far more intelligently than most college graduates I know.

    Personally, I could manage my money better. But my car is mine, free and clear (and I’ll drive it into the ground before I replace it). I live in a neighborhood where most of my neighbors make far less than me, and the cost of living there reflects it. My cell phone (my only phone) is one of the cheapest possible, and costs less than a land line. I do splurge occasionally, but when I splurge, its for something I truly enjoy, and I make sure I get my money worth. I shouldn’t be a good example of managing my money, but when it comes to many of my peers, I am, and that’s truly sad.

  7. CUNTbunnies!

    VA for Violent Acres, morons.

    And ZOMG! You’re back?

    BLAWG MOAR NAO PLZ KTHXBAI.

  8. H

    is va back? about time…

  9. Name

    I’ve got to say I agree with all of this, but most importantly I’m excited to see you’re posting once more! Please keep it up!

  10. Viola

    Pretty sure she was being ironic there, kids.

  11. kanklettes

    welcome back

  12. ateenagegirl

    I’m going to guess that as she capitalized the A as well as the V, she may have been making a point with that.

  13. L. Peterson

    Glad to see you back and loved the post. I linked an article here that I think you would find both interesting and hilarious — it’s a little in the same vein but addresses payday lenders.

  14. Sean

    Fuck. I actually missed you and I enjoyed this a lot. The two shits above, so eager to leave a comment kinda missed the point to the point where I understand why you stayed away so long

  15. Jeanette

    Girl, where have you been? Glad your back, loved this post!!

  16. Leslie Ann

    I found this confusing. I thought since the names were capitalized, you were referring to another blog called MDAIS. This post made more sense toward the end, but you kindof jumped in without explaining your reference… I hope to see more posts soon, I just hope they don’t confuse me like this one did :-/

  17. Brianna

    Oh, how I’ve missed you. Great post!

  18. Donna

    I’m glad you’re back!

  19. Jenn

    Hey, thanks for the (completely unsolicited) advice! Seriously though, I started reading this blog because you’re hilarious, not because you’re some financial guru. More funny, less lecturing, please and thanks!

  20. Hazel

    VA isn’t a dumbass, the spelling of VAruca was clearly intentional.

    I enjoyed this rant.

  21. whippetgood

    glad you have found new words, glad i have you back.
    and what can I say; Americans and credit cards, it would be funny if it didnt run us down to the ground as well.

  22. Layla

    Haters, quit hating and go elsewhere.

    V, I’m so excited to see a post from you… I hope this means you’re back! Your snark and honesty are so good for my sanity. Please keep writing.

  23. Cockbeard

    Well hey, I remember this blog. Is this whole “updating” thing going be something that happens again? Because that would be cool. I think I deserve it after all my years of standing by the wayside and reading your things. You owe me that much.

  24. Callous

    Welcome Back ! ! !

  25. KenB3

    There’s some truth to that, but I also own a house. Paying it every month will cost a lot more than the house is worth. However, if I paid rent on an apartment, likely to much smaller, I would pay as much or more than my current mortgage. The difference is that I will eventually own the house completely, where paying rent will never let me own anything. And option 3, living in mom and dad’s basement while I save money, is not very appealing. A car payment isn’t fun, but it means I have a car to drive now.

    Also glad you’re back.

  26. Alex

    huh, glad I still get updates from this blog. Thought this post was a little boring, and not very new compared to older posts, to be quite honest, but it’s good to see that you’re back.

  27. sharonc

    So glad to see you back! Knew I kept your site on my favorites list for a reason…

  28. Cameron

    Oh my god, You’re back. I… can’t believe it…

    I agree with everything in this article, also. please continue posting!

    I have come to this page every day for the last year, waiting for a new article.

  29. Wolfers

    Glad to see you come back blogging!!!!

  30. Mila

    I was so happy to see a new article. I loved it, I know SO many people that tell me to give up my house and buy something bigger and better in the middle of the whitest most boring neighborhood there is because “I can” or because “I make way more money than they do”. I am pretty happy, I like traveling to wherever I can or buying my husband a guitar he will enjoy for years of his life instead of freaking out about bills.

  31. Katie

    I damn near fainted when I checked my e-mail and saw “Violent Acres”. I’m ridiculously glad you’re back. You tell it like it is, and I’ve found myself re-reading old posts just to get that healthy dose of reality.

    I’m ecstatic. Also, great article. Shelley’s a dumbshit.

  32. waeg

    “Seeing as the “VA” is consistently capitalized, and the acronym for this site is “VA,” I’m guessing it is purposeful.”

    This.

    Duh.

  33. Kate

    I actually agree with what V is saying here. I know a family of girls just like Shelley–they live in a little apartment in the ghetto, fill it with ridiculously expensive objects (including designer breed $300 yappy dogs), and take regular trips to Hollywood. Yet they complain that they’re poor. Absolutely ridiculous.

    I want America back and I’m not even 18.

  34. Gloria

    This post made my weekend. So glad to know you’re still alive and kicking VA!

  35. Vibiana

    I stumbled on your blog a few months ago and was so sad to see that you hadn’t posted in months. I read all the archived entries and was so sorry you seemed to have vanished from cyberspace. I am so glad you are back! Looking forward to reading more.

  36. Jada

    I’m so happy you’ve posted. I’ve reread all of your old posts. I hope you keep it up.

  37. Cynical

    I’m so glad your back. I find I agree with many of your posts. It’s not easy to find people willing to tell it like it is these days. Thanks

  38. Tigre

    THANK GOD! I was beginning to think you had given up on us readers. I missed your posts and the idea that I am not totally alone in my crazy antics- ATM tire blowing is right up my alley.

  39. Shmuel

    So glad I kept the eail reminders!!!
    Writing standards may have slipped a little, but that’s what happens when you stop for a while I guess.
    Still made my day.
    Great to have intellegent reading matters back!!! =D

  40. Rebecca

    YAY! I missed you!!!!!! And I totally agree with you.

    I am ashamed, but there was a time when I needed a functioning car THAT DAY with a near guarantee of no repair issues any time soon. So I bought a reasonable new car and hung my head in shame as I drove it off the lot. Because of good financial guidance from people like yourself, I will never HAVE to do that again. THANK YOU for being you and sharing yourself with us.

  41. Scott

    Oh thank fuck V is back. I was becoming a miserable cunt without this sexy catharsis.

  42. Ivan

    V!!! So glad you’re back!!! You’ve been very missed!!!

  43. SenorKaffee

    Never clean your RSS subscriptions! :D
    I hope you’ll come back with regular content, I missed VA.

  44. Elcyion

    Thanks for the post V!

  45. natalie

    Glad to see you’re back, VA.
    Now, if you could just read this aloud to me as you are hitting me over the head with a hammer, I just might get my shit together.

  46. Alison

    It’s all well and good to suggest that people not buy things like cars and houses with loans, but it’s also pretty un-freaking-realistic for most people. I bought a fairly inexpensive house,but if I had been required to save up the total cost of that house while also paying rent on my old apartment, I’m pretty sure it would have taken me a lot longer than the term of my current loan. And all that rent money would have just been thrown down the toilet. Yeah, interest fucking sucks, and going into debt over gaudy junk is idiotic, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with taking on a reasonable monthly payment for something like a house, or even a car in some situations.

  47. irene

    I found your website only recently. I had read each one of the pages. And that’s strange because I never read blogs.
    You’re really interesting. Your past is really interesting.
    Even though the blog seemed to be abandoned, I subscribed. I didn’t think you would come back. I’m glad you did. Thank you.

  48. Boxed Whine

    Here’s to hoping that you post more than once a year! You are proof that common sense isn’t so common. I tend to read through your archives every few months. You are funny like Jen Lancaster, but not a princess like her.

  49. MFH

    Welcome back V!! Excellent post as well. I can’t wait to read your new posts.

  50. Sky

    Leslie Ann: it confuses you because you’re stupid. MDAIS is in the title of the post: “modern day American indentured servitude”

    Jenn: it’s a blog! She doesn’t just write for one person’s entertainment. Actually, I’d be surprised if she writes for anyone’s “entertainment.” I imagine she writes simply because she has something to say and that she’d rather it didn’t fall on deaf ears. And you’re too busy plugging your ears and whining that it’s boring to get the point.

    Cockbeard: Who the hell do you think you are? No one OWES you anything. Especially not a blogger you don’t even know. What do you think? You’ve given her your loyal readership and now she needs to reciprocate by writing about something you’re interested in? You know she’s going to write about whatever she damn well pleases. Why did you subscribe in the first place, dumbass? This is the same bullshit entitled attitude she’s talking about in this very post. “I deserve this, and I damn well better get it!”

    And to everyone else talking about the quality of the writing instead of the content of the post: what?? She has never claimed to be a great writer, why don’t you listen to what she’s actually talking about instead of nitpicking about the way she puts a sentence together?

  51. Oniard

    This is something I’ve been thinking about for years, and I think the whole set up is how the guvmint keeps us in line. Since we have so many bills to pay for all our stuff that we’ve been brainwashed into thinking we need, we don’t step out of line for fear of “loosing everything we have”. It starts with student loans, then you are hooked. You have to accept a job and keep it. You don’t dare stand up for your rights to some asshole cop, because they threaten to arrest you and then your life would be disrupted, as far as earning income. You don’t dare risk hurting your credit score, so you’ll take whatever kind of crap utilities and lenders give you. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but I do think “the powers that be” encourage us to get into debt, to keep society orderly.
    Maybe you can develop this idea better, I’m not as eloquent as you.
    I really love your “tell it like it is” style, and I missed you too. I found your posts while you taking a break from it, and subscribed, and was wondering if I’d ever get a new post from you. Thanks!

  52. eMouse

    People using resources foolishly is a pet peeve of mine as well. I remember quitting a job for several reasons, but mainly because I couldn’t stand ringing up cigarettes and booze for people using food stamps. Don’t cry about your situation being so bad when you do it to yourself.

    Anyway, it’s nice to see a post from you again. Good read!

  53. Ava

    I’m so happy you’re back. Interwebs are interesting yet again.

  54. FeralFairy

    I missed you :D

    Your common sense and attitude make me happy and wish I were a better person.

    It’s okay for you to have a life. But please don’t leave us again, cos we don’t.

  55. Irene

    Please don’t abandon the blog! Tell us more about you, about your past, about your friends, your mother, your opinions!
    Even if I don’t always have the same views as you on everything, nobody can say that your opinions aren’t well thought or that they are pointless. You never say “this is like this because I say so”, you always have valid reasons, you always make me think.
    My father is a lot like you. He also had an abusive mother and ended being impulsive and even violent, unfortunately he’s not as strong as you and couldn’t make it like you. I’d love to know you personally (even though I think I’d feel intimidated by you) but I know that’s not gonna happen, so please keep writing so I can read you at least.
    You’re an inspiration to me.

    (I’d rather have written this privately to you, but I’m not savvy enough to get your email.)

  56. Joe Todd

    Good post.. I think “THINGS” are going to get a lot worse before and if they get better

  57. Zy Mazza

    I just found your website yesterday but ive already read a ton of shit on here. i am amazed. in less than 2 days im pretty sure youve changed my life. while im certain you dont need me to tell you how great you are, i thought i would anyway. please keep writing.

  58. Al

    You left us all ‘cold turkey’. Glad you are back.

  59. Anonymous

    V, I began reading your blog when I was 14, and as trite as it may sound, your writing changed my life. From a young age I learned that the world is full of morons, but your words have always stuck as a resoundingly clear combat towards all of it. You have powerful arguments, strong ideas, and just the right amount of humor to be blunt as well as credible.

    This new post comes as a wonderful surprise, but I just wanted you to know that even if you don’t keep posting, your earlier works are amazing as they are. While your biting commentary would be lovely to hear on modern day issues, the work you’ve created in past years still stands out as a diamond in a field of dumb ass rocks.

    PS I’m 18 now. I apologize that it’s taken me four years to tell you just how amazing of a woman you are.

    PPS I love how the first shitheads to comment are ones that point out simple technicalities like spelling errors. What a polite way to welcome someone back. And also, the trolls who completely missed the point are looming again as well, joy!

  60. Dan

    Nice to have you back, V. :)

  61. Renan

    It is not the best of your writing, but I am glad you are back saying what shouldn’t be needed to be said. Hope to read more from you.

  62. Evan

    So glad you are back! Please continue to write!!!!!

  63. wagthedad

    It’s so great you’re back. I was just cleaning out my blogroll.

    The people above who have the time to pick apart each subtle nuance of the blog, or to criticize your writing after coming back after a year, or to claim that you owe them something, are whiny bastards who obviously have too much time on their hands.

    Go do something valuable to society, instead of leeching.

    But I think the positives DO outweigh the negatives, and the only thing you need to do is keep posting. Because people value you.

  64. yabollux

    Funny, but predictably funny. As for those of you that seem to be nothing more than simpering sycophants of V, get a friggin’ life. I have to go now the maid is plumping my comfy cushions.

  65. Christi

    V, you have some fucked up readers.

    Dear Whiny Critical Readers: If you don’t like what you are reading, it’s really really simple to go somewhere else. Go read the propaganda customized your particular demographic (like talk radio and what used to be news) and only listen and read the stuff that makes you feel warm and fuzzy and right. If what you read here makes you uncomfortable and defensive, it could be because it’s a little close to home. I read this as an entertaining opinion and because it’s thought and emotion-provoking, but because I think V is right or wrong. She’s just willing to put it out there. Perhaps you could reflect instead of react and potentially grow as a human being. Whiny fucking assholes.

  66. Mrs. C

    V-
    I for one, am delighted to see you’re back. Terrific post. More! More! More!

  67. Jan

    I saved this site to my bookmarks and checked it frequently because it always felt like V was writing to me. She became the badass, judgmental Imaginary Mentor I’d run decisions past in my head before making them, once it became obvious my own mentors were great at love and crap at finance.

    The only debt I owe now, having paid off the last medical bill, is a bitty student loan that gets littler every month. I had applied for a college-kid credit card and stumbled onto V’s ‘How to Fight’ post before the plastic arrived, spent an evening reading the whole site, and just in time! My sole card has since been used to pay one consistent monthly utility, paid off in full, for five years, and apart from buying a $78 fender when someone clipped my car, I’ve used consumer credit for nothing else. (And I installed the damn thing my-own-self to save money.)

    When my boyfriend proposed and I later moved in with him, I took V’s advice on relationships -we’ve been together six years, two of ‘em married, and it’s peaks-and-valleys just as she said. Her last post before the hiatus broke my heart, and I resolved to make a special effort with my marriage, which might work or might not, but trying alone is making me a better, stronger person, just as Auntie V would want.

    I’ve taken a second job as a Veruca Salt Nanny to have more to put toward our First House Down Payment Fund, and because I am the only soul who can make the brats obey, sit quietly when appropriate and -gasp!- behave in restaurants and shopping malls, the Mother is paying me almost as much as I make in my official field. The trendy-homeschooled beasts can read now (after 4-8 years with their mom and a month with me,) they have developed sufficient manners to be complimented in restaurants and inexplicably love me like an auntie, despite my not being nice at all. I feel like I’m making a real difference to kids who would otherwise have no future. And it’s all thanks to V’s train-a-kid-like-a-dog advice.

    The money from my second job all goes toward our dream of owning a little three-bedroom house, nothing fancy, just something in which to raise five cats and the child we’ll have or adopt when we can afford to. If my husband is transferred, we live in a rural tourist-destination and can either operate the first house as a vacation-rental-by-owner or an investment property, depending on market conditions, if it doesn’t look like it will sell.

    I want to put down at least ten percent, and since $80K gets a decent place in our market, I expect to meet my goal just in time for my twenty-sixth birthday. We’ll be able to pay less than half of the going monthly rent in our area as our minimum mortgage payment, but since we’ve been budgeting for more, we shall make every effort to pay more and have it done early. All thanks to V’s sensible advice on frugality and real estate.

    We also have, at ages 25 and 29, more saved for retirement than my parents do at 54 and 49. Because we don’t believe in paying the markup for financed cars from dealerships, we taught ourselves auto mechanics and have two respectable old Toyotas which we paid $350 and $700 for respectively and fixed up as entertainment when we were broke college kids. If you use Craigslist, one can find cars with very little mechanically wrong and owners so un-mechanical they think a dead alternator means it’s totaled -just look for ‘single mom’ or ‘make child support,’ in the For Sale ads and then exclude domestic makes. (V’s post of ignoring single-mothers’ attempts to guilt people in real-estate has saved me a damn fortune.) You might have to pack your Mace for some of the neighborhoods, but a good car can be had for cheap if you own your own wrenches and buy the Haynes manual.

    We gave my parents a second car for Christmas a year ago -it’s old and ran us about a thousand dollars in purchase and parts, but it lets my Mom sleep in on days when my Dad has to go in early and vice-versa. It also let Dad travel farther to a promotion and helped them pay off the POS American van they financed at a ruinous rate back when my siblings and I were teenagers. Also, it was fun as hell to work on, anticipating the surprise as we restored the thing, and my two siblings chipped in as best they could.

    We managed to pay cash for most of my husband’s graduate school (he’s an engineer,) and we’ll be able to pay for my next degree in full up front if I ever feel I want one.

    We have no cable, just Internet and cellphones, and formed a group of friends who pool DVD box sets and host floating LAN parties to keep ourselves entertained on-the-cheap. I’ve never darkened the door of the town jeweler or hairdresser, but the librarians and animal-shelter managers know me by name. I hand-raise orphaned kittens and help with publicity and computer stuff.

    I’m self-employed in my field, making decent if not great money, and I have time to devote to things I care more about than Shiny Objects, like kitties, doggies, the Women’s Shelter (I teach basic computer skills to ladies re-entering the workforce,) and fundraising for our local rescue zoo. There isn’t an abused-children’s facility in my area, but I sew blankets for Project Linus and trust that a child in need somewhere will be comforted.

    The volunteering helps me network for my Real Job and has helped me manage my bipolar disorder to the point where I’m off-meds and functioning -and I was on SSRIs from age thirteen to twenty-two. I read Violent Acres with a cat on my lap while I detoxed from the prescriptions senior year and managed not to hurt myself or others, though I did write some spectacularly obscene posts on political web forums. Within three months, I was within a few standard deviations of sanity, working, volunteering and happy at last. (I didn’t want to get married on medication.) My Mom still doesn’t believe I’m off-meds and keeps bugging husband to tell her which one I’m on, but maybe someday she’ll come around and try Altruism, Now With Fewer Sexual Side Effects!

    I’ve even managed to lose about 20 pounds through tricking myself into loving exercise, walking to the store like V does (with a frame backpack, so I can buy cheap, lean meat in bulk and freeze it,) and learning to tolerate yogurt. (God, I hate yogurt. It’s the one thing I’ll never get, V, what is WITH the yogurt?) I am, and probably will stay, a plus-sized girl, but I’m a plus-sized girl who can leg-press four times her own body weight and bench-press half that, so if skinny girls want to start something, they’ll end it so far in the middle of next week that it will take a team of surgeons to get Wednesday out of their ass -and with that kind of self-confidence, people tell me that I don’t ‘seem’ fat anymore. And isn’t that kind of the point of things?

    I have accepted, thanks to V’s teaching, that I will never be what American Culture thinks of as ‘rich.’

    But I have also discovered that with a little discipline, a lot of work and the ability to find greater joy in helping others than owning a sparkly thing that honestly does nothing, I am richer than most people will ever be.

    And I no longer have to pay for my Diet Cokes at the local sandwich shop ever since I told a fellow customer who was bullying the teenage worker to fuck off and die in a bonfire of small-dicked white trash scum.

    Thank you for writing, imaginary mentor V. I will try my best to live up to your example.

  68. Faith

    I enjoyed this. Debt awareness is so important.

  69. Varuca

    Hey V., you know those people that almost always completely outdo your original estimation of them?

    Let’s put it in an academic sense since it’s the simplest. You think K is a B student when in fact K is an A+ student. Not even that, K outdoes the traditional A+ student. Beyond perfection. Beyond reproach.

    You know those people? Me neither. No one clever complains about finding a gold mine. They’re too busy picking up gold.

    I’m just saying…

  70. manny

    I found this blog by googling “Fat fuck” Just cause I wanted to see what i could find. you see, I too have a potty mouth AND a desire for personal development. See, not all people who aspire to financial independence and personal mastery are like Tony Robbins! Some like to cuss, and tell other people to get it together. I do the same to myself. So I enjoy reading about being a better person and getting what I want out of life without all of the foolish “you can manifest your desires and be rich by just thinking about it” bullshit that the internet is so full of. It is work, and it sometimes takes drastic measures. I’m in that process right not too.
    You should post more regularly.

  71. Fay

    I love people sometimes. ONE person corrects the spelling of Verruca, Not less than 10 people rush in to say it was obviously intentional. I gave up reading then, but I wonder how many people have already pointed this out?

  72. Rob

    Dude, there are certainly a lot of people made poor by their stupid decisions, but lots more are made poor by circumstances beyond their control. They buy a car to get to their low-paid job because the boss moved the company out to some suburban office park 5 miles from a bus stoop to save on taxes. Or they have to buy a house they can’t afford so their kids can go to a decent school. The most money savvy middle class person is only a few missed paychecks farther from the edge than your average spendthrift, and we’re all working for the Mastah.

  73. Jean

    As a stupid naive young adult, I just want to say how appreciative I am of your blog V. It’s the slap in the face my parents never gave me. I wish you could be my mentor, but I’ll make do with your posts (some I saved on my computer as a reminder). Thank you V for being so honest and I thank the randomness of the internet that I came upon your blog!

  74. Daniel

    Welcome back. Thank you for continuing to write. Write at your pleasure and we look to hear more from you.

  75. Don

    I found your site after you went on hiatus and have been hoping that you would pick it back up. Your site provides a certain edge that I’ve never found anywhere else. Like sunshine bursting scoldingly through the bedroom window after a night of heavy drinking your commentary cuts past the fluff of polite delusion and shows the world as it really is.

  76. Ava

    You’re such a cock tease, VA.

  77. Greg

    It was a pleasure to find another article published. I had often checked VA for new posts in tha last year and a half and had thought your burned out memories would be the last one!

    This is somewhat relevent to the current Wall street protesters. There are stupid people who obey the part of their monkey brain that says “eat the banana now!” and Wall street execs who want to take advantage of them. Its nice to see a protest about executive and corporate greed, but I would like to see more protests about consumer stupidity!

  78. reader

    I am tired of all the economic negative news. I think the reason the economy sounds bad has less to do with an actual recession than media sensationalism and doomsday pessimism. Everyone was in a panic in 1997 because of the Asian financial crisis, but the sky did not fall. I don’t think the media should lie about a high unemployment rate, but I would like to hear more positive news stories. Just like news reports about Y2K, killer bees, crack babies, Firestone tires, shark attacks, and the Gulf oil spill, people will soon realize any economic downturn is partly due to hype and life will go on.

    http://www.usnews.com/money/blogs/alpha-consumer/2009/1/8/did-the-media-cause-the-recession.html

    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/1998/int/980706/cover_story.one_year_aft33.html

    I did some research and found that there is plenty of good news out there:

    The recession officially ended in June 2009:

    http://money.cnn.com/2010/09/20/news/economy/recession_over/?section=money_latest

    The unemployment rate is falling:

    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11217/1165411-100.stm

    The stock market has risen 53% recently and is still cheap:

    http://www3.signonsandiego.com/stories/2009/oct/15/cautious-optimism/?uniontrib

    Apple, SkyWest, Kroger’s, General Mills, CarMax, Walgreen, Dell, Discover, and Nike are just some of the many respected American companies to have declared profits recently:

    http://blog.seattlepi.com/microsoft/archives/182538.asp?from=blog_last3

    http://www.usatoday.com/travel/flights/2009-11-05-skywest-q3-profit_n.htm

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/15/business/15kroger.html?src=busln

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-09-22/general-mills-first-quarter-profit-rises-12-on-sales-of-cereals-snacks.html

    http://www.fayobserver.com/articles/2010/09/22/1033100?sac=Bus

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/29/business/29walgreen.html

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-02-15/dell-reports-profit-that-tops-estimates-on-business-pc-demand.html

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-03-22/discover-beats-estimates-on-declining-defaults-boosts-payout-shares-gain.html

    http://www.oregonlive.com/playbooks-profits/index.ssf/2011/09/nike_posts_15_first_quarter_pr_1.html

    US housing starts have risen:

    http://blog.al.com/breaking/2009/10/us_housing_starts_rise.html

    Business confidence has grown:

    http://www.bostonherald.com/business/general/view.bg?articleid=1203965&srvc=rss

    Factory orders have increased:

    http://www.telegram.com/article/20110203/NEWS/110209884/1002/busines

    Consumer confidence has climbed:

    http://money.cnn.com/2010/08/31/news/economy/consumer_confidence/index.htm?section=money_latest

    Consumer spending is up:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE65M2WK20100628?loomia_ow=t0:s0:a49:g43:r5:c0.051546:b35270006:z0

    The US GDP rose 3.1%:

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Stocks-rise-on-Oracle-apf-2813128403.html?x=0

    US exports rise:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/09/business/economy/us-exports-rise-to-record-as-trade-deficit-shrinks.html

    North Dakota has an unemployment rate of 3.7%. South Dakota and Nebraska have unemployment rates of less than 5%. Singapore has an unemployment rate of just 2.2%. Unemployed people who move to these places can find work in agriculture, oil fields, schools, and hospitals. These newcomers will need to buy homes, food, and services creating more jobs. If you don’t have a job, move to an area with a better economy. If you can’t sell your house at the price you want, you shouldn’t have paid so much for it. If you don’t want to move and make trade-offs, I guess that you aren’t that desperate for work.

    http://www.bls.gov/lau/

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703803904576152630710927512.html

    http://www.jamestownsun.com/event/article/id/81609/

    http://www.economist.com/node/18488276?story_id=18488276

    The United States will face a labor SHORTAGE soon as millions of baby boomers retire. There are 76 million baby boomers, but Generation X only has 46 million people. Droves of workers will retire this year and next year as they become eligible for Social Security and pensions.

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2002185894_boomers21.html

    http://www.argusleader.com/article/20091107/business/911070331/1001/news

    If you really want to stay where you are and haven’t found a job, think of a way to make money from your hobbies. Find a need and fill it. Do you like to cook? Are you good at fixing things? Do you like to paint? Optimists make more money and I strongly believe that if you do what you love, the money will follow. Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve. If there is a recession, choose not to participate. Just because someone says there is a recession, doesn’t make it true. Just because most people used to believe the world was flat, did that make it true? If you are feeling negative, I highly recommend the book “You Can Have it All”:

    http://www.librarything.com/work/508754

    http://www.entrepreneur.com/management/managementcolumnistscotthalford/article207648.html

    You might also feel less sorry for yourself or the economy if put your life in perspective. How would you like to trade places with someone in North Korea? Would you rather live in Burundi where the GDP per capita income is $300 per YEAR?

    https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2004rank.html?countryName=Burundi&countryCode=by&regionCode=af&rank=228

    Even if things are really bad for you and you become homeless, there is a safety net of food banks, shelters, general relief, and food stamps. You could join a commune or a monastery.

    America needs a good pep talk instead of negativity. I really think Obama would be more helpful to the economy by talking about the positive sides instead of pushing expensive stimulus programs. People should live within their means to avoid crashing the economy, but even when overextended, the United States has managed to pay the massive debts of the Depression and WWII.

    http://zfacts.com/p/318.html

    http://reuters.com/article/2011/09/29/idUS412302169920110929
    Americans need to think more like immigrants. Politicians are too afraid to
    say it, but Americans should stop whining, get up, take responsibility, lower their standards, bite their lips, tough it out, and get busy. Americans should stop buying SUV’s and McMansions they can’t afford and pay off their debts. I have no sympathy for the sheep who went in debt to buy expensive restaurant meals, clothes, vacations, cars, and overpriced homes when times were good instead of saving for a rainy day. Buy LOW and sell HIGH. If people had put their money in the bank instead of wasting it they would still have it. NOW is the time to buy stocks and houses, not when the stock market and real estate prices are hitting record highs. The United States is capitalist not Communist. There is social Darwinism and survival of the fittest here. If Americans want a handout, they should move to Sweden. I have seen refugees from places like Vietnam immigrate to the US with NOTHING and own houses and cars five years later, while some lazy Americans who have lived in public housing and on welfare for GENERATIONS complain about how poor they are. Why can a third world immigrant who doesn’t speak English make more money in five years than some Americans who have lived in the US their entire life?

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2010/09/27/financial/f063017D17.DTL&ao=all

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704895004575395491314812452.html

    The negative thinking about “tough times” and the supposedly “decline of the US” kills me. The USA is by far the richest and most powerful country in the world. Who invented the assembly line, telephones, movies, light bulbs, airplanes, air conditioning, elevators, skyscrapers, television, the atomic bomb, the pill, calculators, microwaves, lasers, the Internet, mobile phones, the space shuttle, and landed on the moon? What country wins the most medals at the Olympics despite having only 5% of the world’s population? If the United States is dying, why do so many people want to immigrate there? If the US economy is so bad, why do so many people flock to buy US treasuries as a safe haven?

    http://www.statemaster.com/encyclopedia/List-of-United-States-inventions

    http://englishrussia.com/index.php/2010/02/14/russian-or-not-russian/

    http://sports.espn.go.com/oly/summer08/medals
    Maybe I am the last optimist in America, but I think the best years of the United States are ahead of us, not behind us. I would be shocked if the USA won’t be the first country to put a person on Mars, invent mass-produced hydrogen and solar cars, and cure cancer. Americans who worry about the future are ignoring the facts and aren’t doing anyone any favors.

    http://www.usc.edu/student-affairs/dt/V142/N24/01-theglass.24v.html

    I have lived through many booms and busts. Every time there is boom, people think good times will last forever. Every time there is a recession, people think it will never end. The change from bust to boom is hard to see at first, but we’ll know when the media reports about the plummeting unemployment rate and the surging stock market.

    While I am not blind to the difficulties that may exist in the present economy, I just think people should be more optimistic and look at the good sides. I remember when I was in middle school in the mid 1980’s and had a teacher who asked my classmates whether the USA was on the way to the peak of power, at the peak, or on the way down. I was the only student who said the US hasn’t reached the peak yet. A few years later the Soviet Union collapsed, the Japanese economy crashed, and America was the only superpower.

    I am not even sure if there is a recession, but if there is one, I think it will soon be a distant memory.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/05/opinion/05douthat.html?_r=1

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2010/04/08/the-comeback-country.html

    http://www.nytimes.com/1994/03/12/business/consumer-spending-in-rebound.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

    ——————————-

    Remember: Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.

    See the glass as half full, not half empty.

    Anyone who bets against the United States will always lose.

  79. n2dasun

    Welcome back!

  80. Giuliano

    So glad i can read again from you! And thanks for the rant!

  81. Chel

    Nice to see you back (and to see the comments open).

  82. trackball

    Can’t say welcome back since I just recently stumbled upon your blog but I do hope you will start writing regularly again. I must I really like you’re style of writing. You’re blogs just put a smile on my face every time I read them.

  83. Amy

    Great to see you are still around.

  84. J.R.

    I have visited this site for the first time, i think this artical really captures the mindset of the new american generations,and the direction in wich the american people seem to be headed if spending habits and paychecks do not balance out in the near feauture.

  85. Loren

    Thanks, V.
    Sometimes I watch “House Hunters” on TV. Mostly it gags me to see how picky some people can be and how willing they are to pay obscene prices for a house, especially their first one when they are just starting out financially.
    If people want to be environmentally responsible (as seems the present mantra), buy a smaller house and be sure it is well insulated. And buy a smaller car; it uses less material which means less energy used in the process. And don’t buy so much stuff, unless you like feeding the Chinese. Get together with friends over a dinner of locally grown food and locally brewed beer instead.

  86. John

    What’s wrong with Americans and dipsticks from around the world is that they try to live a live trying to fucking impress everyone else. Give you an example: my wife has a closet full of nice clothes but she won’t go to UK with me without buying new shits so she can impress her British aunts. The fuck. She’s rather not spend time with me and see her family than to appear less poor then them. Needless to say, we’re not going to UK anytime soon. I can’t fucking justify giving her $2000 to buy shits that she doesn’t need.

    In my wife’s defense, we’re debt free and don’t have to struggle. But that’s precisely because I don’t want to fucking impress anyone with material shits. A car is a machine, a tool that takes me from point a to point b. Nothing more. Fuck you to people who try to judge me based on the material I own and flaunt.

  87. Stephen

    I’ve been reading this site since the mommyblogger-bashin’ beginning all those years ago and nothing makes me more miserable than to type in “viol”- have the autocompleted address and see that there have been no more posts.

    I’ve resisted ever commenting something so ridiculous sounding but I really do love your writing and would be thrilled to see an update, even if its just the final goodbye!

  88. Brandon

    This world is a shitty fucked up place and your blog
    was one of the few bright spots, your rants, fucked up
    childhood and despise for the majority of other humans
    hits home. God damn it I want V back! Start blogging
    again you probably need to vent and we need to hear it

  89. melissa

    Indeed. I have a friend who I would never consider to be stupid or spoiled, yet she tends to find herself in the position of endless debt. I worry about her sometimes, because I just can’t understand how certain people get into these difficult situations.

    I understand medical things, rising cost of food, disability, worming out of abusive relationships (perhaps with babies in tow), housing in this particular city (when you’re alone) and maaaaayyyybbee student debt depending on the type of schooling.

    But I can’t understand struggling with a VISA bill because he/she absolutely “needed” a large tv for his/her spouse to play video games. I can’t understand buying clothes 24/7 when you can’t afford to wear them anyplace. Actually, I can’t even understand using a credit card for every single purchase imaginable. How does one even keep track? And I certainly can’t understand how this all happens when they’re earning higher than minimum wage.

    Sometimes I even think there is something wrong with me, because despite working short weeks at minimum wage (at $7 below poverty no less) we seem to be doing fine. The only debt we have is on this tiny apartment and I think we’ve already paid nearly $20,000 off of the principle in the first two years.

    Yeah my life is pretty eventless and boring, but what the hell is so fun about drinking in clubs? Watching huge televisions? Whatever it is that fun people do?

  90. Veronika

    I’m so glad you continued. I’m a newcomer so I’d be pretty sad if I found out
    that you’ve stopped writting ages ago :)

  91. R

    Ah, so true. There is an art to picking and choosing your debt, though. Whether you can pay it off before the interest builds up, whether you need an object quickly and you’ll be able to pay for it soon, just not right now. A lot of people don’t get that.

    I try to keep my spending reasonable. Yes, I did just get a loan for a brand-new truck. However, I make more than enough money to be able to pay the loan off quickly and with little interest, and I did need that sort of vehicle due to my job. My college loans will be paid off within a year, and they’ll have accumulated very little interest. It’s the reckless spending on things you don’t really need, without considering whether you’ll be able to afford it, that tends to be a problem.

  92. Kalietha

    I just got done reading all your posts for probably the third time since I originally found this site, and it occurred to me that I’ve never actually posted a comment – which I should have long since, given that I might be able to change some of your seeming preconceptions about your readers that are inaccurate. And yes, I am well aware that you undoubtedly think that anyone who’s read all your stuff here three times obviously either has no memory or has way too much time on their hands. The truth is I wind up rereading your archives periodically simply to reestablish in my mind the knowledge that there ARE others out there who possess a modicum of common sense, even if they are few and far between. The hope grows thin over time.

    First off, you have more than eight female readers, I’m sure. Just because we don’t speak up doesn’t mean we don’t exist.

    Second, if we really all took off on you the minute we didn’t agree with you, there’d be none of us left. While I agree with most of your more article-like posts, I don’t agree with them all. Truthfully, reading the ones I thoroughly disagree with and ‘considering their source’, so to speak, has taught me more about controlling my temper (particularly online) than your post on the subject. It’s easy to learn to be amused by an insulting or annoying comment or article when the ‘speaker’ you practice on is one you know wouldn’t even be annoyed about it.

    As for your quality of writing – I know you don’t think much of it, but maybe it’d help you to understand why people like it if I put it this way. When you write, it reads like a conversation. I can easily imagine siting in a coffeeshop with someone, discussing the topic, and when they start getting enthused(aka going into rant mode) the words coming out exactly as you wrote them here. This is a very informal style, true, but it has the effect of reaching people more easily. I know that back in school I always got better grades on papers where I wrote as if I were talking about the subject with a friend than the papers where I wrote in the dryer, ‘proper’, theoretically recommended format.

    It occurs to me that those who agree with most of your posts, can stick through those they don’t agree with, and who aren’t rabid fans might fall in the same category as me. That is, they have at least a touch of common sense, have encountered or been friends with someone who came from an abusive situation (and thus know that it IS real, and have at least some idea where you’re coming from), and who have made and recovered from some whopping mistakes themselves. In my case real estate – in college I decided rent was wasted money and bought a house (first one I actually went and looked at) on the theory that my friends were going to rent rooms for a couple years. Big mistake.

    At any rate, the point of this meandering comment is that there are people who value your writing for very real, not-so-frivolous reasons. I hope this is reason enough to convince you to keep posting on occasion – even if it’s just a story you consider silly and inane.

  93. Just

    I simply adore this blogging! The information is invaluable. Thank you for all of the posts and making my personal week. Special regards, Just

  94. Hollybrynn

    So glad you’re back! When did you get a job? I thought you were into the flipping property thing? Seriously glad you’re back.

  95. Anne

    Really enjoyed reading your common sense ( which we know is not common) with and edge. Thanks!

  96. Sam

    Hi V,
    I hope your life has improved a lot since your heart broke. I know this one post likely will not bring you back, but like the others I wanted to say I enjoy returning to your website to reread the archived posts.

    I wrote you a few years ago when I was dating a man who had issues from being abused by his mother as a child. While I did finally break up with him because we were not a long term match, I did finally find my one (at least insofar as he can be the one.)
    He had nearly criminally neglectful parents who each has somewhat severe mental issues. Aside from your financial posts, and your snark, I appreciate you telling about abuse between parents and children. Unforrunately it’s a lot more “normal” than I ever undersrood, and I think reading about your experience really did help me somewhat in my reaction and support of those who I know have had parental abuse.

    I do hope you come back, but if not, please have a fun filled halloween and a blessed holiday season.

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