Reality 101: Earning Money For Coke

Welcome to the new section of That Weirdo, where the weirdo in question gives you some useful advice (well, not really) and tells you more about living in the real world (if this is what reality is).

This week, let us start with a very sensitive issue for most of us – money. Money is the aromatic paper that makes a pleasurable swish between your fingers; money is the cool, gleaming metal with that unmistakable jingle; money is the dit dit dit dit of the ATM machine, and the black ink on the bank book pages. If that didn’t get you aroused, I don’t know what will.

In our daily grind for success, whether we tell ourselves that success means satisfaction, fulfillment, family, love or even a better world, we forget that we are working for one simple reason – Money. There are people with money in their blood, every haematopoietic cell in their marrows guarding the hyper-recessive genes coding for money. And then, there are us. People with the so-called “zero-dollar sense” (if it’s even legal to coin such names). We fight against the waves of riches, the crests of dollar bills threatening to drown us, to bring us to the bottom where we become their eternal slaves. Oh look! There’s Jimmy from school, riding the waves with a surfboard. How easy. Only we can’t afford surfboards, because we’re not the recessive smartass that he is.

Do you know what your current interest rate is at the local bank? It probably is less than 1% per annum. Screw that. Below 0.1%. If I hadn’t thought about the half can of Coke I can buy with that, I would’ve just kept all my earnings in my underwear drawer. Don’t use a safe, it’s too obvious.

Now, there is such a thing called a fixed deposit account which offers you a much higher interest rate, depending on the bank’s mood (and degree of desperation for your moolah). When your bank realises that they’ve run out of funds to invest in the next big thing (I honestly don’t know what that is), they clamour for your money. “Deposit your money in our fixed deposit account for 6 months and qualify for our unprecedented interest rate!” Ooh, that’s enticing. You just have to stick your savings into the bank’s emergency cash vault and go back home to Fluffy and his wagging tail. Six months later, voilà! Your bank account has grown… by 6 cans of Coke. With 90 cents left for a can of iced lemon tea.

Ah ah ah, before you run helter-skelter to your nearest bank, there is a catch. Apparently, everyone else from your neighbourhood had become privy to the news. Like you, they think it’s a free meal, or 7 free drinks for that matter. The bank, for once, looks like a supermarket on Black Friday. Oh, that’s alright, I’m free all day. Alright, no one’s stopping you. The tellers are situated just upstairs. It can’t take more than 30 minutes, can it?

In fact, it takes just about 120. Between reading your hilariously scandalous novel and trying to hide those incestuous scenes away from innocent eyes, you look up to check where you are in line and pat your aching back with a fist like an old woman does. When it’s your turn finally, you heave a sigh, not exactly of relief. You stopped just at the word ‘sex’, which came just after the word ‘oral’. Bummer, right?

After the deed is done, you slither down the steps, shaking your head at the still-snaking queue as you go. Part of what you feel is disgust: are people that desperate for a little money? The other part is as close to sympathy as it can get. You feel like patting the poor man on his shoulder and saying “we’re all in this together.”

You know what? It doesn’t feel that horrible after all – being part of the drowning mainstream. At least we’re strong in numbers. And Coke is all it takes to make us happy. It can’t get any better than that.

So here’s your first lesson in Reality. I’m just on the brink of adulthood (actually just out of my teens), so I can’t qualify as a life coach, but I do hope you had fun learning to live with me and do, do check out Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. I can’t remember ever finding incest funny and not in a bad way.

P.S. Apparently the sweet flipping sound of the cash dispenser is fake. Twenty years I’ve been fooled.

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