If You Ain’t Got No Money, Take Your Broke Ass Home

Here are a few pointers to keep from going insane while starving and lonely in your empty apartment.

*Steal Toilet Paper.  If you are lucky enough to have a McJob, take anything that isn’t nailed down and you can’t really get busted with.  For example, toilet paper.  It’s one of those essential things that is easily taken for granted until you have to scrape poop off your ass with your fingernails and have to wash your hands (and you can’t afford fancy hand soaps).  If you do get caught with your pants down, be mindful that coffee filters work well as TP, and they always sell them in such a bulk that it would take a lifetime to go through an entire pack of the “cupcake” model.

*Buy Tools.  Sure, you probably have a messianic complex, which means you suck so bad at carpentry that you have to proclaim your minor in college as “son of god” and prepare yourself for the irony of getting nailed in the most literal sense of the term.  But a hammer, a flathead, a Phillips, a box of big nails and a thick roll of duct tape will save your ass; your furnitureless  existence and excess of free time will occasionally require you to build a joke of a bookshelf from 2x4s you find on the street to get all your crap off the 10×10 apartment you pray to god is not your tomb.   You’ll figure out how to use them when you need to.

*Food. Above all else, there is food.  Ramen seems like the obvious choice, but when you start seeing your heartbeat through your ribcage, and the lack of protein has started to eat away at your brain, causing MSG Madness, you’ll be quick to reassess such a dilemma.  First thing’s first: buy vitamins.  You can stave off MSG madness awhile longer with vitamins, but you will need meat and fat.  If you are vegetarian/vegan,  these are sacrifices you must make if you are truly of single minded purpose.  There are many places you are can dumpster dive for bread. Stay away from meats.  Breads (try a dunkin donuts) is as good a start as any.  If you have the proper paperwork, food stamps come easy if you are white.  Other races get a lot more shit and bureaucracy .  The attitude of “Hey man, I’m just a guy down on his luck for awhile” works very well if you have a very high tolerance for bullshit.

*Take walks. Yes, you are that guy gibbering to himself, walking beside a vacant parking lot, wondering what the hell you are going to do with your life.  You might even wander into a bad neighborhood and die.  However, walks are highly important.  First off, it transforms your room from a prison to a base of operations.  Internet job hunts are a harrowing realization that the odds are against you, but if you do a walkabout, you might find a cozy place you can drop off your resume.  If people see that you have some color to you, it means you aren’t a crazy hermit, even if you are.  Thirdly, you can find stuff, and being unemployed, it can take you all day to take back to your pad.  Planks of wood are essential, be it for an ugly bookshelf, zombie-proofing your pad, or making a bed out of milk crates.  In addition to whatever lumber you find, you can find clothes.  You might find someone raptured.  Someone who has been raptured is usually a bum who has been mysteriously relocated and all of his belongings are still under that overpass.  Go to a local gas-n-go and get some extra plastic bags to dig through this quite literal gross-ass shit.  Bums poop themselves regularly, so a level of trepidation is required in going through raptured piles.  But anyone who knows the true bitterness of chill casts aside judgment—and bums usually keep their best clothes in slightly better condition.  But all these are not the primary blessing of the walk, which leads to…

*Stay Sane. The odds are against you and it’s not as sexy as it sounded when you were in college.  You are living The Last Tango In Paris and you’ve just run out of butter.  You have too much time on your hands and you have unwittingly become a burden on all the contacts and deep friends you know.   Accept it: no one will want to talk to you, so work on being charismatic and squeeze money from the air.  A cowboy’s life was not all Brokeback and Jack Palance, and there are months of watching idiot cattle cross the line.  Don’t beat yourself up when you know life is passing you by.   You chose to be broke for some higher purpose, because no one without vision would choose this life.  Stupid people don’t care enough to be where you are, so don’t sell your modest self short.  A hard life does not mean impossibility, nor does it mean broken defeat (see the Unforgiven for further reference).   On those days that run too long, hone your sense of nuance.  A man who knows his interests is a man of leisure, and there is no sense in being starving, hysterical-naked if you have nothing to show for it.  Hone.  Get that six-pack.  Read your Classics.  Keep busy.  Even if there is nothing going on, write in your journal to keep a dialogue going.  Yes, you are in Jail but have no bars.  Now that you know where you stand, you know where to walk.

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