The Laughter Subsides

There is nothing quite so intoxicating as a giggle fit.  It doesn’t really matter too much what I’m laughing about, but it’s usually something silly, puerile, and vulgar.

The important thing is that, amidst my chortles and guffaws, life’s little worries cease to bother me.  So what if I’m unable to sustain a meaningful relationship?  Who cares that I’ve reached the age of 46 and have bugger all to show for it?  All I need to is conjure up an image of glue-sniffing hillbillies greasing a wheelchair ramp for kicks and I’ve put my personal demons on hold.

When no jokes come to mind (and even when they do), liquor consumption has gone a long way toward maintaining my peace of mind.  So has imprudent behavior.  And don’t get me started about drugs and porn.

If you can’t see the flaw in this approach, you’re in even worse shape than I am.  We are supposed to face our problems so that we might grow from the experience.  I get that.  Despite my best efforts to avoid this, I sometimes have no choice.

These unpleasant moments of maturity can occur when I don’t expect them.  Just yesterday, a wave of ugly truth overcame me as I sat in a 401(k) orientation meeting at work.  I’ve been at my current job for over two years but have yet to sign up for a retirement plan.  Fuck it, I reasoned.  Cirrhosis or a glorious overdose will take care of everything.

Or maybe not.  I drink more than I should but not enough to be killing myself and have given up on other substances.  Besides, I may actually want to stick around for my golden years, amusing myself with my bad attitude and wearing my incontinence with pride.

For that, I’ll need cash.  Whatever pittance I can expect from social security probably won’t pay my rent, let alone cover my bar tab.

So I went to the meeting.  Better late than never, I thought.  It was then that I realized that I was a decade late and a hundred-thousand dollars short.

“Start saving now or you’re screwed,” said the representative from Fidelity Mutual (OK, I’m paraphrasing here).  It was sound advice for most of his target audience, coworkers of mine who are on average ten years younger than me.  He went on to illustrate his point with graphs and equations clearly showing how getting into the retirement plan early (them) will put them in a far better financial condition than the poor sap who procrastinated (me).

It was a slap in the face but I was OK.  I tuned out and imagined anti-vibrator decency vigilantes with a telescopic mic who kick in the door of a woman who was only playing the didgeridoo.

I felt much better after that.