Life is a Zero-Sum Game

I will not attempt to torture the reader or myself with the full explanation of what a zero-sum game is. This was a particularly painful epoch in my past during my Economics major training. My professor was an in-the-closet homosexual, and also a sadist, who took out his frustrations of not being able to live freely and happily as a gay man on the students who paid him to teach them. It was not teaching, it was sadistic torture. So in layman’s terms, a zero-sum game is that in which gains are offset exactly by losses, and nothing is created or destroyed. As I crossed from the west side of LaSalle Street to the east side at Adams, where my building is located, I was accosted as I am most mornings by a local vagrant. I don’t know his name, but I think I know his game. He is white, has a long ponytail (which I suspect is a George Carlin-like “skullet”) flowing from beneath a military beret. He usually wears combat fatigues. His face looks like someone put a brush fire out on it with a pitchfork. And also, his legs are both amputated at the knee. He tries to play the wounded Vietnam veteran who has fallen on hard times angle. I don’t personally buy it, but if he can get away with it, then kudos to him. I speculate his amputations are more likely the result of shooting smack into his toes one too many times, then ignoring the stench of gangrene in his lower extremities as he chased the dragon through Honolee. But if he wants to tell people he lost the legs 50 clicks up the Danang, I’m not going to stop him. Some sample greetings (and these are real) that I have received from him are as follows:
“Good morning, have a great day sir”
“Hummnnnnaaa farfffallffffelll mmmiiinnnnggggeeeennie”
(and my personal favorite) “You’re all a bunch of fucking CUNTS!”
So you never know what you are going to get. As I pass him most days I think, “I am glad I’m not that dude”. Today I decided that line of thinking is erroneous. I have a warm home, a wife, a dog, regular meals. But I also have payments to make, schedules to keep. Oh, and I walk into a building each morning to sit at an ugly desk and whore myself out for 8 hours of soul-crushing white collar labor for people who don’t care if I fuck off and die on my way home tonight. Meanwhile Ron Kovic out there in the wheelchair doesn’t have steady meals, unlikely has a warm home or a wife. But you know what? He doesn’t have to pay shit. No one squeezes his soul through a cheese cloth each day so that someone he’s never met can make more money than 1,000,000 people together would not have need for. He’s out there doing whatever the fuck he wants all day, and all he has to do is figure out how to get high every 12 hours or so. So I guess you could tell him that I have a comfortable condo and a car and a designer mutt. But he might, very fairly, fire back “At what cost?”. Touche Ron Kovic, touche. And now I know, it all evens out. For my seeming glut of comfort in domesticity, he has an equal but opposite overabundance of freedom. And this is why life is a zero-sum game.

About Zach

Male homo sapien. Warrior poet. I live in Chicago with one wife, one offspring, and Scout the dog. I enjoy various stuff. Besides skinny skiing and going to bullfights on acid, I also enjoy running, reading, drinking, eating and procrastinating on many things, such as starting this blog. I have a mom, a dad, and a younger brother who recently produced a sister-in-law. I'm the only person in my family, sister-in-law included, who doesn't have a post-graduate degree. I guess that makes me special. I grew up in a small to medium sized town in the middle of Ohio. In fact the even smaller town next door has a sign which reads "The Geographic Center of Ohio". Given this is what they choose to boast you can only imagine how exciting that town is. My town is infinitely cooler. For example on weekend nights people from my town and the surrounding villages and hamlets converge on the public square to "cruise" in their souped-up mini trucks, some bearing Confederate flags, despite growing up and living rather safely north of the Mason-Dixon line. This is high-minded stuff we're talking about here. I graduated sometime during the Clinton presidency from the local high school where I played football and participated in absolutely nothing else. This strategy paid huge dividends when I applied to numerous colleges on the eastern seaboard which were highly selective. When you show up to the admissions table with "HIgh School Football and Nothing Else" on your application, you get respect. After graduating from Ohio University with a degree in Economics that I've used for absolutely nothing, I moved to Boston. Boston is a lovely city. I was doing things I'm not proud of for beer money and I left after 16 months. My next move was to Chicago and 10+ years later there I still reside. I write this blog for therapeutic reasons. Much like some people paint to relax or smoke crack to unwind after a stressful day, I record my thoughts on Al Gore's World Wide Web for 9 friends, 4 family members, 1 person who accidentally clicked through after an unsuccessful Google search for something else, and a guy named Patriot1 who lives in a silver Air Stream in the Nevada desert and broadcasts his own radio show. Is there a point to all of this? I doubt it. Years ago and in a galaxy far, far away (College Park, Maryland, then Athens, Ohio) I was toying with the idea of being a journalism major. I enjoyed writing so it seemed the obvious fit. Then I attended career day and learned that journalism majors could look forward to a salary of $EA,TSH.IT per year with the promise of a fatal heart attack at 47 years of age. I'm not falling for that trick, I told them (them being no one, and told being saying it in my own mind in the shower). Approximately 15 years later here I sit declared the big winner in that battle: I never made any money doing anything else and now I'm writing entirely for free. So suck balls, journalism career day. The views expressed in this website are mine and mine entirely. I don't wish to be an even bigger black eye to my family than I probably already am. As a result of this I will never be able to run for public office and I accept that reality. But this website is a very dignified, well-dressed skeleton full of witty retorts and honorable deeds compared to the disheveled, stenching, staggering and loud skeletons who would come marching out of the closet to White Zombie's "Thunderkiss '65" if they ever unearthed the college years. So enjoy your train ride, your hangover day at work, your AA meeting or your dump. I'm here to serve.
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One Response to Life is a Zero-Sum Game

  1. Aaron says:

    This is a fact I have tried to mask with 60+ hours a week of work for the past 8 years…not really working anymore either. Did Stober really have it right this whole time?

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