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The Inimitable Fred Reed
Old 03-14-2005, 08:59 AM   #1
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The Inimitable Fred Reed

Up north vast swarms of people with maxed-out credit cards wobble in ethylated pre-suicidal fugue states engendered by uneasy contemplation of the mortgage on some prestigious McMansion in Brookmill Estates or Dalebrook Mews or Meadow Brook Dales. (No mews is good mews. I can't brook those mews. Sorry. Blame Padre Kino.) Outside of these badly constructed shoeboxes creeping across the landscape like mold, two Volvos with massive payments. A Volvo is a beautifully engineered, well-built statement that the owner has the soul of a dung beetle. Twenty or thirty years roll pointlessly off into the future because they are trapped in the retirement program. It's like sharecropping, but without a crop.

Pasado manana my other lunatic daughter arrives. The Reed family sloshes in and out of Guad like barrels from a shipwreck.

I tell my kids, never get into a retirement program. Save your own money. Steal. Set up a business, found a cult. Learn credit-card fraud. Retirement programs are indentured servitude with a better address, the financial equivalent of a lobster trap: You can get in but you can't get out. Half the US is running at $6500 on the Visa and counting the last fifteen years until life begins.

Don't do it.

Thank god most people can't distinguish between what they want and what they think they want. It keeps them up north. A buddy of mine lives in Jocotopec in a $130 a month house, small but nice enough, better than a cardboard box in Brooklyn. Fast internet is $50, his wife is a peach, the ghetto blaster plays music stolen online. He sits on the roof and watches the storm clouds roll in over the lake as if they had a grudge to settle, and gobbles chops and beer under gaudy sunsets like fluorescent oriental rugs.

People pay too much for vanity. Who are we kidding? We all scratch, belch, pick our noses one leg at a time. Are you a partner at some swinish law firm in New York? I'm awe-struck. A tee shirt and shorts constitute adequate cover for anyone who doesn't need props to respect himself. Owning more house than you can live in is a sure sign of insecurity. Suits are what you wear when doing things you shouldn't want to do anyway.

They say clothes make the man, a frightening thought but one that seems to hold true. You wear a coat and tie to the drone farm every day, worry whether the knot is tied right, feel humiliated if you get a ketchup stain, and pretty soon you turn into a very worried creature. I did that for a year once at a mausoleum of the spirit called Federal Computer Week, a trade journal of the governmental dead in the remote suburbs of the Yankee Capital. Just walking in the door made my cojones retract into my abdominal cavity. I'd sit there, looking like an Executive Ken Barbie, with my fingers autonomously seeking something to throttle. I know why boys take their guns to school and kill six teachers. It's because rifles have small magazines.

Switch to a Harley tee-shirt and cutoffs, take up knocking over Seven-Eleven instead of sucking up to some tedious editor with a mind you wouldn't use to blow your nose, and the world changes. In Mexico you never feel like you need a hall pass. It's like being a grownup. Or in the Philippines, Thailand, Argentina.

I'd rather be sailing.
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Re: The Inimitable Fred Reed
Old 03-14-2005, 12:42 PM   #2
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Re: The Inimitable Fred Reed

I think Fred-On-Everything is one of the best columns on the internet. I always wish I had said/written it. The boy's only 59, and if you read a lot of his stuff, he's been doing what the hell he pleases for a long time.
Resist much. Obey Little. . . . Ed Abbey

Disclaimer: My Posts are for my amusement only.
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