Saturday, September 01, 2007

Confessions of a Bottom Feeder

Excerpting from an interesting, kind of entertaining, article here
Many modern city dwellers survive perfectly well without a 'regular job.' We live like millionaires but would be hard put to tell you what our true career is. We survive on air. And no, we are not the crazy homeless you see rooting in trashcans. We live in picturesque, old homes with huge, jungley gardens. Not all are rented homes; many are owned, bought with land contracts (monthly payments to old owner) or those new poverty-sector Fannie Mae loans with a low downpayment and no proof of earnings or good credit, only proof of high, past rent paid by showing canceled checks.

How do we afford homes when we don't have 'regular' jobs? Well, I didn't say we don't WORK. We are well-paid for freelance work as artists, healers, mystics, organic gardeners or party caterers. We just never work 40-hour-a-week jobs hoeing other people's row--not unless we love the work; then we happily put in 80 hours.

Job-free people are easy to spot. We drive to mountain and beach on week-days--in old cars it's true--but with a proud smile because we're glad to be in the .0005% of the populace of the planet who own cars. We brake for trashcans in alleys and garage sales, because that's how we furnish our homes. We know that your second-hand, leftover stuff is as good as our firsthand. So we earned our nickname. We are bottom feeders.

Bottom feeders don't make a good living but we have a great life! We have the dollars for rent and utility money and the leftover change is for brown rice and tofu. We're into quality abundance in things other than cash: Gardens, sun, creativity, art... All we need is just enough income to get by. Often, we 'get by' with the help of our friends. Friends sleep on our couches and kick in rent and food. And in hard times, friends lend us their couches and we do the kicking in.

BFers don't have savings accounts; we have 'mattress money.' We don't have regular jobs; we have cottage industries, home businesses. True, we don't make as much as you do in your highly paid drone work, but look on the bright side, our money's all our own. We don't have FICA deductions, pension fund, Social Security deductions and we don't pay taxes. We don't have costly HMO's but not to worry. We don't have high blood pressure either.

We may be forgoing Social Security and Medicare coverage at the end of our lives because we expect--as Clinton predicts, that there will be no Social Security or Medicare by then. Not for you, not for anyone. BFers don't count on Uncle Sam or on pensions. We have learned secret techniques of Surviving on a Nickel that give creativity, earnings and bliss, and bliss is such a super vitamin that we expect to live forever.

Bottom feeders enjoy sunny days at home doing textured wall-painting or digging carrot rows in the yard, or sweating in their ateliers as much as you yuppies enjoy your caffe lattes, Beamers, IRA's and airless, gleaming, monochrome condo-sealed tombs scented with all the formaldehyde in those spanking new plywood boards.

What are the secrets of this mysterious tribe who listens for their own drumbeat and happily live at the bottom of the food chain? What are their methods of achieving a viable lifestyle in Post-Reagan times using advanced Trickle-Down theory?

BFers are often outdoors. They are a fresh-air lot. They have suntans, smile a lot and have no visible means of support. You'll find them unloading a picnic basket in the parking lot at a public park on a week-day. They carry thrift store tennis rackets, drive old Volvos, VWs or 4 cylinder Japanese cars from the early 80's. Look in the picnic hamper. It's full of SALAD. Bottom feeders are frequently vegetarian, recognizing that cows must know how much good protein is in greens, hence they have ruddy complexions and never NEED medical coverage. Their cuts and gashes actually heal without stitches, as they have amazing immune systems.

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