12 Feb

Is it just me, or is civic responsibility over rated?

Imperfect as I am, I will admit to not having always followed the path less travelled and committed to doing the right thing. I suppose if one takes into account the last twenty or so years of my indentured servitude I’ve raised my societal standards somewhat and am now entitled to consider myself a worthy-citizen – a toga wearing civus romanus. I’ve spent my hard earned cash, paid the bills, fed the economy, and contracted myself into monthly payments that have enriched those who would like us to think of themselves as pillars of the local community. The bankers who pretend to be our local go-to-guys; akin to the green grocer perhaps or the candlestick maker. Just the kind of neighbor you’d want to spend time with, chit-chatting over football results and weekend highlights, I don’t think. More a blood bank than a savings cooperative or building society! 

When was the last time you dropped off a fresh pint of blood at Vlad’s castle only to be told, that one blood donation really wasn’t enough? Very much the same thing with the institutions. No matter how much you give it’s never enough. Sure back in the day, I was suckered in with their phony smiles, free checking and their gratis plastic tooth brush holders. Years of watching my wages disappear into the black hole of what my friendly banker liked to call fees, with no word of appreciation. It’s my money after all. Why am I paying them? 

Even Vlad I assume would send the occasional Christmas card, “Come around. I vant to suck your blood.” 

Sure I owe them for a mortgage, and yes I have a car loan and understand perfectly that it’s a quid pro quo relationship; we give back a little more than borrowed – nothing is free and everybody deserves to make a living. 


Commerce is the corner stone of the capitalist society. One hand washes the other. But after having bent over backwards and been taken roughly from behind, time and time again, I am starting to question my own sexuality. Clearly I must like the way they do me or I wouldn’t be going back for more. You know, a little lube would help, but I can only imagine the fee that would be attached to the convenience! 

Sitting on a client’s roof surrounded by undeterred pigeons I gaze towards the horizon, the Arizonan sunshine beating off my face. Life is good – the body is at one with the universe and I can see forever while feeling pretty good about myself. The work is easy and the fee I am charging my customer is exorbitant. There is minimal interference and zero stress. It’s not as though they can check on me! I’m on the roof for god’s sake and I don’t suspect either of the octogenarians will peep their heads over the roof tiles any time soon. This is the way life ought to be; no pressure, cash flowing in, and no final demands. The only thing missing perhaps is a cold beer, although rethinking that beer and ladders aren’t necessarily to be recommended. 

Since the easing of the Arizona laws I’ve been considering medicinal tobacco. Not something I’ve experienced before but something that would undoubtedly help remove me from my terrestrial anxieties. A huff and a puff and a whole world of cares and concerns would evaporate to reveal an inner piece; a window cleaner’s Nirvana. 

 I’ve never smoked so I’m sure that the first few drags would rasp my throat and probably cause me to cough my guts up, but anything worth doing, as society has taught us so well, is worth percerviering with. Therefore I am decided. Despite the taste, the cost to my lungs, and the thought of possible incarceration for being high, whilst being high on somebody else’s roof, I will consider the experience. How bad could it be? I’ve experienced alcohol induced insobriety and can’t really say that I recommend it especially when one is purging from both ends. I have vague memories to remind me of my drunken debauchery, so perhaps a little medicinal greenery wouldn’t be so bad? 

Strange! I would never have thought about this in the past but what with the daily grind, the continual strive for the Yankee dollar and the need to ingratiate my boss into giving me a single digit pay rise, a little bit of mind altering herb might just be what the doctor ordered? Let’s face it; Johnny Depp looks pretty damn cool with an opium pipe in his mouth. The logistics of locating opium on this side of Phoenix may be an issue however, a five foot long hand carved pipe nearly impossible? Clearly this might be problematic. I may have to rethink my drug of choice. 

So it’s got to the point where I have to decide. Do I go on with my interminable mortgage or do I put a stop to the madness. The property is so far under water I have to wear a diving mask and scuba just to leave the house in the morning. The mortgage that continues to go to my bestest-friend every month continues to rattle into the bottomless void of a thirty year loan. I’ve thought it over, weighed the pros and cons and spent sleepless nights tussling with the consequences. Am I doing the right thing? Should I continue to do the right thing i.e. fulfill my contractual obligation, or should I finally grab the bull by the horns and cowboy up? 

The bell has tolled, the ink has dried, a decision has been made in, what can only be described as, a hand-wringing hair-pulling flash of clarity. Sure I’ve heard the morality argument, that it’s my duty to pay and that I’ve promised to reimburse the bank ample remuneration over a period of thirty years, Seemed Like a plan at the time, now however not so much. If I keep the house for the next thirty years I’ll be paying through the nose for what can only be described as  millstone; a big rusty anchor that will sink me and my loved ones far beneath the financially survivable waves. If my house price matures by 100% (Imagine a world…) I will still be in debt.

Q.E.D. What’s the bloody point? 

The time has come to cut the cord and release myself from the noose that is slowly strangling me, walk away and write the whole sorry affair off as a bad investment. 

In fact isn’t that what corporate America does when things turn south; amputate the limb to save the body? Isn’t that the American way? House prices are at an all time low and sinking. They’re giving money away at the bank because the dollar isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on, a financial storm is clearly gathering on the horizon. All over the west side of town they are building new houses, that rather than stimulate, will only help to repress the market and take the ability away from the home owner to sell his house for a fair price. 

 In the words of Noah, “It’s time to build a bloody boat.” 

The way I see it, from my vantage point on the roof, the bank is making out like a bandit. They already have my monthly payments of the last six years in hand, my down- payment, the federally insured mortgage that guarantees them their money back and the house which they will foreclose on and resell under the same terms. The table is rigged, the dice are loaded. 

No I don’t feel sorry for the bankers and feel no moral compulsion to continue to pay what I cannot afford. 

As I reach for my virtual opium pipe I understand that it’s time to let go.

What would Johnny do? 

“Got Cocaine running around my brain…!”

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