I was listening to this King Missile album today, and it has that song “Detachable Penis” on it, and that song is pretty cool because when you think about it, having a detachable penis would be both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, you could slip it into your pocket when dancing with a girl so it didn’t get in the way, but on the other hand, in the song, the guy wakes up and his penis is missing again. He checks the medicine cabinet and a bunch of other places and eventually goes out and finds some street vendor selling it. That would be bad. I’m glad mine is stuck where it is.
Anyway, that album also has the song “Martin Scorcese,” which is just a bunch of screaming about how Martin Scorsese MAKES THE BEST FUCKING FILMS, HE MAKES THE BEST FUCKING FILMS and the singer goes on to say all of the things he’d do to Martin Scorsese if he ever met him, like bite off his ear and spit it out in his face because HE MAKES THE BEST FUCKING FILMS and I’m not pretending that the song is kind of full of mixed messages, both for Martin and for the listener.
Anyway, that album is called One Step Ahead of the Spider, which is what got me thinking of writing this post because I kind of realized that the album title is a good metaphor for how I’ve been living my life for the past year or two.
Because as I build this online THING, I don’t have to storm my way to untold wealth, and I’m definitely not doing that quite yet. For now, I don’t have to make a zillion dollars.
I just have to make one dollar more than I’m required to spend.
I just have to stay one step ahead of the spider.
(And that’s THE spider, not “stay one step ahead of Spider,” who was this smelly toothless chess genius I once ran afoul of. Although come to think of it, it’s a good idea to stay at least one step ahead of him at all times, too.)
You may be wondering where I’m going with this. The answer is that this post kind of has a metaphysical message to it. Just you watch; I can do that starting from dick jokes. I’m that good.
Anyway, I’ve mentioned before that I’m foo-foo enough to believe that everything really does happen for a reason, and that when bad shit happens, it’s something from which we’re supposed to take a lesson. i.e., if I hadn’t started having panic attacks while pursuing my genetics Ph.D., I would be festering in a lab somewhere right now. So, it was a good thing. And if I hadn’t had my real estate bummer, I would never have started this blog and this business, which now accounts for 100% of my income. So, it’s a good thing. I guess.
I’ve learned a lot from the past “bad” things that have happened in my life. I’ve learned to follow my gut, to listen to my mother, and to make my income through my talents rather than through what feels like easy money (real estate, ahem). I’ve learned, to some degree, which risks are worth taking and which are not.
What I haven’t learned yet is true faith.
(And by “true faith,” I mean faith that is true and real and whole and honest. I’m not talking about that New Order song “True Faith,” because I actually know that pretty well. It’s the one that goes, “I used to think that the day would never come, something something filet of the morning sun” and had much less of a Joy Division feel than their hits back when they were Joy Division and eschewed such traditional concepts as “hits.”)
Anyway, I believe that everything happens for a reason, and I try to have faith about things that seem uncertain, but part of me just won’t listen. So life keeps kicking me in the nuts until I figure it out. Until I accept that whatever problems arise, they will be handled.
Until I learn to see seemingly insurmountable obstacles arise and instead of saying, “Oh, shit,” to instead say, “I’m going to enjoy the ride.”
Now, I imagine some of you may be reading this and thinking, That’s not how things work for me. All of your talk of income and faith and problems resolving as if by magic? Yeah, that doesn’t happen.
Well, maybe that’s not what you’re supposed to be learning right now: Faith about money.
Or, maybe you’re knuckling under and spending all of your time worrying and fretting, instead of trusting and continuing to place one foot in front of the other. You won’t learn the faith lesson that way for sure.
Or maybe I’m the crazy one, yammering on and on about Martin Scorsese and his detachable penis.
But all I know is that despite the fact that things feel like they’re going well, I keep getting interesting… challenges… thrown at me. I’ve already tossed a lot of money down the real estate sinkhole this month, and today was supposed to bring a check for late rents of just over $1000. It was under $400. I have $1000 in insurance due in a few days, and other things due, and I’m tapped out.
But I’m not going to sweat it. Not this time. Because this has happened like twenty times in the past few months, and I know exactly what will happen.
The money will appear. Because what I’m supposed to be learning right now is to have faith.
If this has gotten too metaphysical for you, I won’t be offended if you call me a hippie douchebag and then leave.
But yeah, that’s my thing. Faith. Another thing you could call it is living by your wits. Something always falls out of the sky in front of me, or some solution presents itself. Quite often, money I’m expecting in the future shows up early. I then have the time between now and when that money was supposed to show up to earn the difference. Somehow, I always do. Like, in ways I couldn’t predict ahead of time. I can’t count the number of times that exactly the right unexpected job has plopped onto my desk at exactly the right time, worth exactly the right amount of money.
The thing is, if you can let go of the fear and the worry — i.e. if you can just have some faith for once — it’s one hell of a ride. It feels kind of like speeding along a curving road in the dark without the high beams on, turning this way and that with only the slightest inkling of whether or not the road continues in the direction you’ve turned.
It’s kind of like stepping out onto a bridge that you have no tangible reason to believe is actually there.
It’s kind of like saying to the world, “Okay, I’m not going to raise my hands to block this time. Instead, I’m going to trust that you’re not going to hit me in the face.”
I realize how this sounds. It sounds borderline irresponsible. My dad lives in Philadelphia, and after a break-in in his building, he wanted to buy a gun. Then he thought, Do I really want to live that way? Do I really want to live in fear? Or do I want to trust that what’s supposed to happen will happen?
And so some of you are saying, Get the fucking gun. You don’t have to use it. Just get it and have it.
But see, if you get the gun, you’re not having faith. That’s like saying that yeah, I totally, totally, totally trust my kids not to drive the Lexus, but I’m still hiding the keys. If you hide the keys, you don’t trust your kids. And if you buy the gun, you don’t have faith.
Faith is about belief in the absence of any reason to believe. It’s about not gathering proof and evidence. It’s about not having a backup plan. It’s about operating without a net. The irony is that the minute you have any reason to have faith, it’s not faith.
The only way to have faith is to choose to have it. The only way to work without a net is to trust that you will never really fall.
I have three days. I need around two thousand dollars.
Now just you fucking watch what happens.