Money might be tight, but ... really?


My life is full of empty promises,
And broken dreams.
I’m hoping things look up,
But there ain’t no job openings.
I feel discouraged, hungry and malnourished,
Living in this house with no furnace, unfurnished.
And I’m sick of working dead-end jobs with lame pay,
And I’m tired of being hired and fired the same day.
— Rock Bottom, Eminem

When white rapper Eminem burst on the scene several years ago, he was an enigma. He was foul and flagrant in his disregard for following the standards of society, alienating himself from many of the Fortune 500 companies and adulthood in general, while his talent and ability to connect emotionally with many young people of all races made him as in-demand as any star in any field.

Eminem wrote about feeling alone, of being raised by a single mother who was addicted to drugs and didn’t care much about him, and of the anger he felt toward his father — who had abandoned the family when Eminem was a baby. He talked about dreaming of being a rapper, and the violence and rage he often encountered because of his skin color. He was introspective and profound one minute, and crude and deplorable the next. Sad and thoughtful, then funny and clever. Always pushing people’s buttons, and often encountering hatred for his words and thoughts — often intentionally, as he knew sparking animosity would generate more attention to his work, as well as a feverish defense of his writings by his followers.

Me? I’ve always kind of connected to him, but I never really defended the guy to anyone. Hey, I believe a person has a right to free speech, and I’ll fight for that right for the rest of my life, but I also feel a person has to be accountable for what they say when they implement that right. Besides, I never really agreed with his homophobic or mysoginistic lyrics, anyway.

What attracted me to Eminem’s lyrics were the songs he wrote from the heart to tell his life story. I was fascinated by his struggle to make a career out of the thing he loved doing and voyeuristically curious about his up-and-down relationship with his ex-wife (who he has since re-married and re-divorced again). But what really got me was his descriptions of his economic struggles and ensuing hopelessness — feelings I went through myself in my early 20s.

Because of my own experiences, I’ve always kind of empathized with people who are just having troubles making ends meet. Oh, I’m not a wealthy man now, but not being able to afford that weekend ski trip to Italy does not depress me the way not being able to afford my next meal or electric bill once did. So, yes, I do relate to being broke, and I usually try to help out when I can.

However ...

Now, I’m really not one to judge people for what they have to do to keep on keeping on. It’s not really my concern what someone does, as long as it doesn’t impact my way of life in any way. That being said, Mark Giorgio of Florida recently crossed the line in terms of doing anything for money.

Giorgio, according to an Associated Press story, was counting his money while walking across the U.S. 41 bridge over the Manatee River in Florida when a $20 bill floated out of his hand, over the railings of the bridge and landed 50 feet below in the water.

Giorgio dove in to retreat the aerodynamic sawbuck.

“I got my money back,” Giorgio told the Sarasota Herald Tribune. “Twenty bucks is a lot of money when you’re broke.”

Indeed, it can be a lot of money. But is there a limit to the tests and tribulations you’d put yourself through in the form of personal survival? If the $20 is really about sustaining one’s life, is it worth jeapordizing your ... why am I even arguing this point right now? Mr. Giorgio, you are an idiot.

You jump off a 50-foot bridge for a bet if you’re young and inebriated, and the stakes are much more than $20. You jump off a 50-foot bridge because you’re a professional rock diver and are preparing for a world-wide competition that could net you thousands of dollars. You jump off a 50-foot bridge because your only copy of the Coastal Point slipped out of your hands and went tumbling into the sea.

You do not jump off said bridge for $20, knucklehead.

Mr. Giorgio, you are a digression.