mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Friday, February 24, 2012

You're nobody until somebody loves you...

I was talking to a couple coworkers over lunch a few days ago, and one suggested "you know what you're problem is, you don't have enough self-esteem". (When you blog about your personal life, it tends to cause people to offer you advice).

While I respect this person's opinion, i disagree. I think that, if anything, America is awash with way too much self esteem, and that my own lack of it is not some figment of a mind that doesn't perceive things correctly, but rather one that does. I don't like myself very much, but there's a good reason for that - namely, that nobody else likes me very much either.

Recognizing and addressing our faults is how we grow, how we improve - it's what drives us to do better. For years, I was obese - like, BMI over 40, size 46 pants obese. And for years, I told myself that was OK. It was only when I stopped doing that, realized I had a problem that would have serious consequences if I didn't actively do something about it, and started exercising and watching what I ate did I get down to a healthy weight.

Which gets to the major problem in my life - being single. As the Rat Pack once crooned, "You are nobody until somebody loves you". Which would make me nobody, because throughout my life, while I watched friends and classmates and coworkers do all the normal things people do - date and marry and have kids - I've been forever alone. For a while, I could blame that on my weight, but losing most of it hasn't made much of a difference in finding relationships.

Dating advice columns and blogs are always full of advice about how people can be happy as singles, how you shouldn't let that control your life. I suspect these people have never been single - really single. Not temporary, between significant others single, not I could date if I wanted to but I don't feel like it single, but knowing that there is a pretty good chance you are going to die alone having never known loving someone or being loved single. But that's my life.

And it's not for lack of trying. I know lots of people who have found love online, but I haven't gotten it to work for me. I've used online dating on and off for years, and can count the number of dates I've gotten out of it one one hand. Like the Pontiac Aztek or Microsoft Bob, I've been rejected by the marketplace. And that's why I have low self esteem - not because of how I perceive myself, but because of how other people - well, specifically single female people 23-34 living in the Baltimore Metro area - perceive me.

I know, maybe I just haven't found the right person yet - maybe somewhere there is a reasonably attractive woman in her late 20's or early 30's who is looking for a short, hairy guy with bad posture who enjoys blogging, flea markets and auctions, reading books about business, and running road races (poorly). But the older i get, the less likely that seems.

I keep hoping there's just something I'm doing wrong that i can change - that if I make more money or get a cooler job title or spend more time at the gym I can overcome whatever it is that repulses the opposite sex. But I suspect it's not one specific thing - it's just that I'm unloveable, and thus will always be nobody.

Monday, February 06, 2012

This post will tax you....

So yesterday morning I downed my usual Sunday morning pot of coffee and did my taxes. My effective tax rate came out to 10.85%, which means that I pay a lower tax rate than Warren Buffett's secretary. It also means that I'm getting about $4500 back between federal and state taxes.

Some people who hear this will probably think that I'm an idiot for giving the government an interest-free loan, and that I should change my withholding so that less in taxes is taken out of my paycheck instead of getting a big refund at the end of the year. But there is a method to my madness. The way i figure, if I lower my withholding, I'll get about $50 a paycheck more. That's a nice amount of money, but it's small enough that I'd probably ramp up my consumption to eat it up - a few more pairs of sneakers, a few more drinks from Starbucks, a few more electronic gadgets. But instead, I get a couple grand in one lump sum, which I feel I need to save - so it goes into my savings account, to be put towards bigger things - most likely a new truck and some home renovations.

Yes, I realize there are other ways I could probably still achieve the same result, like decreasing withholding and automatically putting the additional amount in a separate account. But that requires work, and I didn't get to be a blogger with readership in the double digits by proactively doing stuff. This works for me, and requires me to do nothing, the job I was born to do.

And it's hard to get too worked up about the lost interest, since I think my savings account is earning around 0.5%. Half a percent of $4500 works out to around $22, and the actual lost interest is considerably less (since only 1/12 of the principle would earn interest for a whole year).

So I'll continue to smile when TurboTax rings up the green digits of how much I'm getting back. Sure, it's my money, but it's money I probably would have spent on something stupid otherwise.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

We all end up on two tables...

I went to an auction today - a large estate/consignment auction that a local auction company holds in a fairgrounds building every month or so. I've been to their last two auctions, because they had specific consignments I was interested in - one from the estate of a guy who owned a mastering studio, and one from a creditor that had seized the contents of a doctor's office. I did very well on both, and since I was close to being maxed out on vacation time and needed to burn some hours, I figured I'd go to todays as well, even though there wasn't anything specific that interested me in the listing.

I found a couple items I was interested in, but it was an all-day auction and the first item was about halfway through. Since it was a nice day, I bought myself lunch from the lunch truck and sat down at a picnic table outside. While I was eating my hot dog, I overheard the guy next to me say something interesting - "most of the stuff in there is from dead people. After you've lived on this earth, it all comes down to two tables - the embalming table and the auction table".

Estate auctions are a reminder of something that we don't want to think about - our own mortality. I've only been to a handful - I usually look for electronics, computers, and business equipment, so I generally seek out bankruptcy or business closing auctions where there is a lot of that kind of stuff rather than estates where there is a handful of that mixed in with clothes and furniture and knicknacks. But when you go to one, it's hard not to be a little creeped out and a little sad that the person who owned all that stuff is dead. But more than that, it's the realization that one day we will be too, and the things we surround ourselves with - the furniture we sit on, the clothes we wear, the TV and computer we stare at - will probably end up either on a table at an auction house or hauled off to Goodwill.

And with that comes the sad realization that there isn't much to my life beyond my possessions. Besides going to the gym and running the occasional road race, my biggest hobby is my side resale business - buying items to resell on eBay and at swap meets. I use my vacation days at work for it, I plan my weekends around it, especially during the summer, and it's reflected in the piles of merchandise and packing material that fill my house.

I want there to be more to me than stuff that ends up on a table at my estate auction. i want to be a husband, maybe a father. I want to do something with my life that people will remember me for. But I haven't had any success at finding a relationship - either because I'm not working hard enough at it, or I'm just not lovable. I haven't found a charity that I think I'd be a good match for.

About the only living thing I can say that's benefited from me (besides family, but my parents have given me more than I could ever pay back) is my cat, Nibbler. I understand crazy cat ladies, because I've become a bit of a crazy cat guy. When you are lonely and unloved, and a cute furry thing curls up on your lap, puts her head on your chest, and purrs contentedly, you feel loved, you feel important, you feel loved, like you've done something for someone other than yourself. Even if that someone spends most of the day licking herself and pooping in a box.

I'd like to get that feeling from a human rather than a feline. I'd like to leave something more behind than a corpse and a bunch of stuff with consignor numbers. But I feel like I probably won't.