Sunday, Bloody Sunday

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “IMHO.”

Sundays annoy me. Everything that actually opens, closes ridiculously early, and it’s all based on this religious belief that according to some deity, they’ve got to take it easy that day. Easter Sunday is the worst of them, though. A lot of places that would normally be open on a Sunday are closed. Shit, the restaurant I live behind has been closed all weekend. It’s a good thing I don’t live in Birmingham. I suppose none of it matters, though. The only place I’ll need to go is the gas station around the corner and it never closes. I like a business like that. The convenience store that is conveniently always ready and waiting to help me with my energy drink and cigarette needs.

Every Bob Evans, Cracker Barrel and IHOP are packed today. Early morning churchgoers having their Easter feasts. Splashes of pastel colors and big hats dominate American restaurants’ dining rooms. Everyone that goes to church, goes to church on Easter. Along with Christmas Eve, it’s one of the few days that pretty much the entire congregation will show up. I remember as a kid I was forced to participate in the sunrise service we did every year. I hated waking up early for anything, especially church. Even at a young age, I had my skepticisms. I never could sink my teeth into the whole “resurrection” story, or any of the others for that matter.

What always confused me the most about Easter was the Easter Bunny. Where in the hell did that come from? It’s certainly not mentioned in the Bible. I do enjoy the South Park interpretation of it, though. It’s just something else to get us to spend money; money spent on Easter Bunny pictures, Easter baskets, candy and toys. I feel like the ones getting all the presents probably have absolutely no idea what the actual holiday is supposed to be about, which makes it that much more pointless.I sit and wonder why we do all of these things, and the best reason I can get out of anyone is “That’s what the bible says.” As if that’s supposed to mean something. There were holy books before and after The Bible. What makes any of those less true? Absolutely nothing. Every holy book is just a collection of stories created to explain human existence and keep social control, nothing more, and yet 77% of Americans practice the Christian religion.

This is the America we live in. A broken society, centered around a an idea that we owe our lives to this invisible narcissistic deity. Beyond that, we treat the worship of this deity as a social event. Everyone dresses up in their “Sunday best” and goes down to their place of worship to gossip and show off their status. That’s what religion is all about: status. Politicians use it to get elected and special interest groups use it against people they don’t like. People judge you by how you practice your religion, whether it be by your attendance to religious functions or how you practice in daily life. You’re judged by the “sins” you commit whether you’re a believer or not. This is why I despise the infestation of religion into American society.

My only hope is that someday (hopefully sooner rather than later) the people of this country will wake up to the fact that they believe in fairy tales. I dream of a day where religious bias is out of our laws and true reasoning and logic prevail. A world without the consumerism surrounding religious holidays would be nice as well, but let’s not get our hopes up. That part of America is deeply rooted, even more so than religion. Regardless, I will enjoy this quiet day and ignore the fact that it’s based on a holiday that I loathe, if only to defy the idea behind it.

Revisiting Old Ideas

The following is an essay I wrote some time ago, but still holds very true today. I sincerely hope that it can be found possible to live a life free from the yoke of debt and money. Maybe it’s a pipe dream, but someone’s got to try.

“For the love of money is the root of all evil…”

-1 Timothy 6:10 KJV

Money is something most of us think we need more of and that we’ll never have enough. It controls everything from your mood to the way you carry yourself; the kind of car you drive to where you live; and how generally and genuinely happy you are. Why is this so? Why do we think we need money and all of these other things to be happy? Because that is what’s been ingrained in us by our society since birth. We are taught from infancy that to be happy and successful, you need a big house, a nice car, and loads of money in the bank. Thankfully for myself and an increasing number of socially aware people, this is slowly becoming less true.

“The American Dream”, as we commonly refer to it, is in a general sense, a guideline for how we as Americans are supposed to live our lives. I mean, we all know that you’re supposed to go to school, get into a good college, get that high-paying job upon graduation, buy a car and a house, get married, start a family, retire, play bingo and finally die. That is what “The American Dream” looks like to me. The major issue is, not all of us can follow that regimented lifestyle. Not all of us want those things. You may work at a factory, drive a simple, somewhat reliable car, pass on school and still be years away from marriage. Society says that your life shouldn’t be enough. That your life is off-track. Why is that so? You might enjoy your life and not be inclined to do a damn thing about it.

The biggest issue with conforming to the societal “norm” is the crippling debt. Car payments, mortgage payments, insurance payments, etc. The list goes on infinitely. I won’t try to sit here on my soap box and pretend that I live without debt. In fact I’m in all sorts of debt currently, which is literally the only thing I seek to change about my life situation. Why do we pay all of this money for cars and houses and schooling? Because you’re just “supposed” to. It’s what everyone does and you and I are no exceptions, right? Wrong. We can be exceptions. You don’t have to live the rest of your life with a cloud of debt looming over your head. I know that I can break the financial chains. So can you. So can all of us.

The best thing we can do to help ourselves, is to simplify our lives. Do we really need an Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3 or 4, a Nintendo DS and a Playstation Vista? Of course not. Cut it down to even just a couple and we’ll be doing ourselves a favor. We don’t need the 85 inch TV or the latest Cadillac in our massive garages attached to our mansions either. We’re all so concerned about the status that these possessions bring us, that we forget that we don’t really need them. We don’t all need 2,500 square foot homes. We don’t all need to drive race cars. Now don’t be confused by my statement that we all need to cut back with saying that we can’t have fun. There’s nothing wrong with hobbies or recreation. The problem is when you stretch yourself thin to impress society.

All I ask is that you take the time to inventory your life, and start cutting the fat. Start deciding what makes you happy and not what you think will make everyone else happy. We’re not here to please others. We’re here to make this one life we have the best it can possibly be. That’s not something I believe money can buy. Now, for one more quotation:

“…God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need…”

-Tyler Durden (Fight Club 1999)