Thursday, December 8, 2005

Holy F*cking Sh@t

Those were the words. At least those were the first words to even vaguely resemble English. The first syllables to come to mind were something along the lines of ‘Wha-ba-da-doo’, which – I believe – translates to something along the lines of ‘come again’. But ‘Holy F*cking Sh@t’ was the first thing I really wanted to say. I was shocked. Absolutely shocked. I had never – in my entire life – heard anything as ridiculous. I was completely blindsided. I didn’t even think God – in his infinite wisdom – had created numbers so high. I was left almost completely speechless. Except for those three awful, awful words.

My entire existence is based on an underlying financial house of cards. If one card was to be removed or an extra one added, the entire thing may very well collapse. For some time now I have been able to survive at an unhappy equilibrium. I make just enough money to pay all my bills and eat a little. Add one more bill, or one unforeseen large expenditure, and that’s it. Game over, man. I might as well fold up my tent, move back into my parents basement, and spend every night crying myself to sleep. Luckily, up to this point, this has yet to come to pass. I’ve slid by, sometimes by the very skin of my teeth, but I’ve always slid by. The one thing for which I’ve always fallen to my knees and thanked God for is not having car payments. My old Lumina – affectionately dubbed the Silver Bullet – has been a warrior. Received on the cheap from my grandmother, I’ve hoped it would last until I was on sounder financial footing to get a new one.

Of course, life doesn’t always go as planned.

This brings me back to ‘Holy F*cking Sh@t’. Yesterday I had the Silver Bullet inspected. Now, when the lip-ringed kid behind the desk told me my car didn’t pass inspection, I was fully prepared. I knew the car wouldn’t pass inspection. It almost never did. By my amateur estimation I figured the car needed at least two new tires, some brake work – the Silver Bullet is hard on brakes – and maybe a new mirror. My mental math put the sum total for the work at somewhere between five hundred and sixteen hundred dollars – a hefty sum but still, ever so barely, within reason. So, I was prepared to hear some high figure, but I sure was not prepared for what came next. Fifteen hundred dollars. That’s all I heard. The guy was explaining stuff to me, but it was a silent flapping of lips devoid of any semblance of reason. All I heard was ‘Fifteen hundred dollars’. All I could think was ‘Holy F*cking Sh@t.’ Needless to say, the number quoted me had one more digit than I was prepared to handle.

So, now I’m screwed. My entire life could easily fall to earth in one little cloud of dust, hardly noted by the world at large. I was completely dazed. I wandered around the garage waiting room like one recently lobotomized. Where was I? What was I doing? Why couldn’t I feel emotions? The only thing I knew – the one unshakable truth which refused to leave my mind – was ‘Holy F*cking Sh@t’.

Now, a day later with a cooler head, I am better able to survey my situation. And still, all I have is ‘Holy F*cking Sh@t’. It really is quite a hard thing to come to terms with. I can’t afford to get the work done. The car’s not even really worth getting that kind of work done to. I can’t afford a new car. I called my parents. I asked for a new car for Christmas. They laughed. I started listing my assets. Looking for things I could sell. I have an old 19 inch television: worthless. I have a car which needs more work than it’s worth: worthless. I have four years worth of liberal arts education in English from an accredited, well-regarded college: worthless. I have two kidneys: now we’re talking. I don’t need both of those bastards. What are kidneys worth? Has to be a few hundred dollars right? I’ll just put one up on e-bay. I have bone marrow: score. I have – I assume – potent sperm: more money. I have two livers…right?

That was my line of thought for some time. I turned my body into a big operation board and wherever I found a valuable, unnecessary asset, I placed an imaginary plastic dollar sign. Every time one would be removed my nose would light up with a cash register ka-ching sound. I was a desperate man willing to take desperate measures.

Then my parents saved me. Apparently, after they stopped laughing at me – three or four hours – they talked it over. Since my mother walks to work, they can do without one car for at least a little. Thank God. So, I’ll get my dad’s sweet-ass Ford Escort with all four cylinders of pure, unrelenting power. I can have it for a few months while I save up some cash and try to find a new ride all my own. So, I’ve been saved. At least temporarily.

Of course, if something else were to go wrong again, ‘Holy F*cking Sh@t’.