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2016-12-23 08:22 by Karl Denninger
in Musings , 552 references
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Everyone says Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Nice wish, eh?  Some make sure to emphasize the religious aspect of the holiday.  A few acknowledge that early Christians stole the existing festival of the Sun (before we understood celestial mechanics people prayed that the Sun would come back -- they certainly understood that without it they'd die, but not that irrespective of their burnt offering the days would get warmer -- and longer -- anyway!)  And, of course, the mercantile world has turned it onto a debt-fed orgy of buying crap we don't need for people who don't appreciate it.

But let me put the question a different way for the coming year.

What are you willing to put up with?

That's the real question you ought to ask this "holiday season."

For myself, I concluded back in the 2011 timeframe that the people of this country would not force the government to stop allowing the medical system to rob everyone blind, that we would not collectively rise and demand that those who refuse to stop go to prison, and that this meant that either I stop, to the extent possible, my expanding waistline and decreasing physical ability that was coming as I got older or I would have some miserable number of years at a point in the not-so-distant future before I finally met my demise.  This conclusion (and by the way, Congress is perfectly happy to not only screw you but personally profit from it - and you let them do that too) drove me to make a decision.  I decided that I would put up with feeling like I got hit by a bus every day for months and would stop eating a bunch of very pleasurable "foods" that are in fact poisons -- anything laced with sugar, grains, starches and human-generated frankenoils - which are most of them.  I decided to put up with that in order to attempt (with no guarantee of success) turning back that which was inexorably creeping upon me.

The result was that I lost 60lbs and am in better shape now than I've ever been in my life.  But that didn't happen because I "wished" to be able to run a 5k at a sub-7 minute pace.  It happened because I was willing to put up with the demands of getting to the point where I could run said sub-7-minute pace -- and that involved permanent changes in my lifestyle.

There are many who say "well, but there's so much damage I've already taken to my person that it doesn't matter."  Of course it matters; even if your body is severely ****ed as a result of your past abuses a positive change is still positive!  In fact for the person who is seriously compromised today the loss of that 60 or 100lbs is far more important than it was in my case where the really ugly (and permanent) stuff hadn't happened yet because the quality of life improvement is far greater; going from being unable to walk a half-mile to being able to easily do so is a hell of a lot bigger change than going from being unable to run a half-mile to being able to run three.

At the same time I came to grips with the reality that I was (at the time) pushing 50 and if things went sideways I was ok with the outcome.  I've not had a bad run -- and I'm sure as hell not going to ruin anyone else's future gasping for a few more breaths.

I snort in derision at those who say it's "easy" for me to put forward a "cut back to the point of tax neutrality" or "starve the monkeys in DC" perspective, which I have often written about in this column, given that I "made it" in the 1990s.  Why?  Because that didn't just happen on its own and luck had little -- or nothing -- to do with it.

put up with 15 years of insane demands on my personal time, emotional state, effort and stamina, starting from having one foot in the gutter (literally) and impending personal ruin, moved several hundred miles with no guarantee of anywhere to go or any sort of family support, began working my ass off for a paltry, sub-$20,000 salary that often demanded 80 or even more hours a week from me (no, there was no overtime either), found a (rather crappy) apartment that I could (barely) afford and over time clawed my way up, literally, to where I wound up.  I put up with those hours, the effort, the lack of any sort of "vacation" or time off for more than five years straight, a metric ****-ton of emotional pain, whatever permanent damage all of this might have done to my body (which I'll get to pay for down the road I'm sure) and more.  There was nothing easy about it: MCSNet was not my first effort, it was the third, with the previous two being failures -- at which I put in similar amounts of work and in the end got little or nothing other than managing to pay the rent for a while.  Don't even get me started on the long nights in a basement with a kerosene supplemental heater going so I didn't freeze my ass off while writing code that ultimately went into a couple of businesses -- instead of thousands.  Never mind the jobs in that time where I was working for someone else, often for someone who I believed was completely full of crap.

There are many who say we "can't" fix the serious, even critical issues in this country -- such as the medical monopolies that threaten to destroy the nation fiscally within the next four to five years.  Yes, we can, but no, we won't, because the vast majority of people, probably including you, refuse to put up with the costs of doing so.  I remind you that during the "bailout season" in 2008 I of The Market Ticker along with Steph and Randy of FedUP USA called for two protests -- one in NYC, and one in Washington DC.  I attended the latter.  How many of you showed up at either?  I can count the number of people who were there and have the photographic proof.  If you think I'm going to organize another one of similar sort when nobody will show up you can bite me.   In short, I won't put up with the cost of doing so any more as nobody else is willing to do so.

Everyone wants it easy.  I know people in my circle of associates and family who want it easy.  They "wish" or "pray" for things but they won't put up with the costs.  They won't take the risks, knowing damn well there is no guarantee of success. They are 40, 50, 60 even 100lbs overweight, watching their health go down the toilet yet they stuff their faces with sugared soft drinks and Cheetos despite knowing me, watching me lose 60lbs and go from being someone who couldn't run a half-mile without having to stop to being able to run half-marathons in eight months time.

When an election is lost they want safe spaces and cry zones, complete with puppies to soothe them, for chrissake.

All have excuses but few will take the costs.

Likewise there are many younger people who simply don't want to put forward the risk of jumping out on their own to do whatever it is they want to do.  All choices have costs and when you're young it is the prime time to take those costs -- and risks.  I understand some people don't want the drudgery of the effort and that it's easy to lean on divinity or prayer for a "miracle" but in my opinion there is no such thing as a miracle and the continued prostration before "God" simply serves as a means to avoid the decision to put up with the costs of attempting achievement, no matter what it is -- money, a great body, the freedom to travel or whatever.  You want to talk to me about coming to Church where I will be praying and singing? My riposte is that you are asking me to kneel in a building full of sheep who have sat on their asses for the last 30 years, watching our nation go down the toilet to the point that we now have a large percentage of the nation demanding that you can***** in the women's room if you have a dick. At the same time you've been ignoring your flesh, blood and bank accounts being picked dry by a medical monopolist system that has swallowed the entire damned country -- and that's just one of a dozen similar issues.  When you end your invocation with "God bless America" my riposte is "If this is the outcome that defines blessed perhaps we should try damned for a while thank you very little."

Cut the crap folks.

There is nothing that focuses the mind more than hopping out on the beam and realizing that there's no net!

If you never commit you greatly diminish the odds of success, no matter the endeavor.

If you refuse to put up with the costs of whatever you desire up front then you are unlikely to get whatever it is you desire because the only way to achieve said goal without paying those costs is to force someone else to pay them for you.

Fact: The universe owes you nothing because it is incapable of providing anything.  It is a fact that the universe tends toward disorder and you can see it all around you -- a piece of wood left out rots, a nail (or your car for that matter) rusts, everything, without continual effort put in to stop it, ultimately reverts to dust.

So this holiday season spend less time fawning over someone's birthday (which, incidentally, almost-certainly didn't really occur in December, but rather in the spring) and instead decide what you will put up with -- and, at least as importantly, what you won't put up with in this upcoming year.

Make that what you focus on when the calendar clicks over.

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