How fucking ridiculous. Do they know where I live? Who is this article supposed to be for? Now, by virtue of my profession my income is unsteady (something that makes buying property all the more difficult) but according to my tax records, I've made between twenty-five and thirty-five thousand dollars each of the last three years. My most successful friend only makes a bit more than twice that and he is considered, by the standards of our generation, quite well off. Presuming that these are representative of people of our age, the very age at which one begins thinking of things like starting a nest egg and buying a home, who the hell is finding houses in the 65k - 150k ranges? Provided I am unwilling to live somewhere that I am likely to get shot simply for being outdoors, where in greater Atlanta can I find a house for that much?
I have one friend that recently bought a two bedroom bungalow in town for 180k. I had another who sold his two bedroom fixer - upper with no yard in one of the aforementioned common gunfire neighborhoods and got something like 120k. Even my parents' post-war era, 3 bedroom ranch house in Marietta would fetch close to a quarter million on the open market and the house is nearly sixty years old.
Am I actually living in poverty and don't realize it? Are property values in Atlanta inflated or wages suppressed by something like four times what is reasonable? According the the last census I'm at precisely the median income for a man of my age and education so am I being bamboozled? Is there some repository of cheap property that everyone else knows about but me? Or, are the professional investors and moneymen that write Money Magazine totally out of touch with the real world?
I don't think anyone has asked me that question since I was barely more than a toddler and back then I didn't comprehend the question. She said that the things I write and the way I carry myself say to her that I am, at my deepest, very sad. I don't know about that but she is right insomuch as I am certainly not happy but what she didn't seem to understand is that unhappiness is sometimes by design.
Happy is what you get when you have nothing to struggle over. Happy is the way one can only be with one's eyes closed. Happiness is ignorance, feeling safe in a world that offers no safety. People's lives wither in the pursuit of happiness. Happy people have nothing to fight for, nothing to strive towards, no seed of discontent to drive them forward. All the greatest people have been, at their deepest, incomplete. Alexander the Great, Socrates, Napoleon, Mark Twain, Ayn Rand, Martin Luther King Jr., Van Gogh, Nietzsche, Marconi, Einstein, Marx, the Wright Brothers, Neil Armstrong, Lance Armstrong, Muhammad Ali, Emile Durkheim, Orson Welles, Susan B. Anthony, Christopher Columbus, Thomas Aquinas, all had an axe to grind. There is something innately pathological about greatness. None of the people behind the engine of history have been, at their core, happy. Indeed, they may not have been capable of the emotion. It may not have been part of their being and this is part of why they fought and strove and risked and made a part of the world over in their image.
I am not so much of an egomaniac as to suggest that I am on the level of any of these people but I do know that I am not fodder and that I will never be content to be part of the vulgar mass. In the words of Bob Fosse "My friends know that to me happiness is when I am merely miserable and not suicidal." Happiness is settling. Happiness is blindness, powerlessness, hopelessness. Happiness is mediocrity. Happiness is surrender. No, I'm not happy and I don't ever want to be.