Tuesday, June 10, 2008

All Too Common

The Flowfield Unity is one of my favorite online comics. It's deep, it's dead-on, has a fantastic fan base, and the artist is a neat guy as well. The most recent strip, In Commons starts out as a mashup of NIN and Nintendo, and then raises the question of how the ordinary everyday artist is expected to make a living giving away free things, like how Nine Inch Nails gave away their music under a Creative Commons license.

This brought out two immediate reactions from me. First, the Closer vs. Super Mario Brothers theme mashup by DJ Roomate.

And then--it was late, and that's when I get honest--I mentioned how my earliest mix tapes were populated by songs taped off the radio, and it snowballed into an admission of how I single-handedly killed the economy of the United States.

"The movie industry will also have me on a list for waiting for movies to hit cable. I may have come off as a raging pirate in my first reply, but I do buy songs I absolutely love online, I paid $5 for In Rainbows mainly to support the idea that more artists shouldn’t rely on the industry, but I’m more likely to do it if the artists or bands are lesser known. I’m not the kind of consumer the industries like at all, though, I wear shoes and clothes until they disintegrate (not that alluring, really), my computer is heading for ten years old, my mobile phone is only a phone, and my car is thankfully low on emissions but so old the garage has to take out a special machine to inspect it (mind you the garage also had to use a “special” razor blade to scrape off the previous year’s sticker, and it looked suspiciously like a wallpaper scraper to me)."

I keep my comments light, because I don't like bringing people down. It comes from the reality I live in, I suppose.

That car? I only fill it with gas once a year. The clothes? Mostly hand-me-downs or things I bought when I was a teenager, which was around the time I last saw a doctor, come to think of it. I'm poor, you see, and I have a chronic, pre-existing condition. I am, obviously, uninsured. All this talk of "These Economic Times (TM)" makes me laugh because what everyone else is waking up to is how I've lived my entire life. The only difference between the hysterics flailing about financial ruin and me is I'm happy. I don't feel poor, I never have. I don't want granite counters in my kitchen or blinding white teeth. Oh yeah, I've never been to a dentist in my life, either. That's what it's like to grow up with no insurance. I've been very lucky with my teeth, I still have all of them and am capable of cleaning them myself, but don't worry, I was punished with the metal in my eyes and the whole allergy to the sun thing. That and the tumor took any money I saved up for anything else, and when our trees started dying that even cost us the deed to the house until the day I can pay it all back. And I will pay it back, even though there is no one interested in hiring a freak like me for longer than it takes for this body I was given to fail.

So there it is. That's a fraction of me. Pigeon-hole me, judge me, write me off, don't believe me...I don't care. I'm happy with what I do have. Money means nothing to me beyond fixing the most recent leak in my roof or making sure my family is secure. Not that I don't want to be given money for my work. But that's the other thing...I rarely get paid in money. Funny how that works out.

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