Con Artist

At the nearby park the other day I bumped into a couple who I know from being fellow dog owners in the neighbourhood. They brought up the idea of having me care for their dog if they both pass away at an age before 60. It sounded like a conversation of shits & giggles but they sounded more serious as the discussion progressed. They started talking about putting me in their will and it sounded like they were planning to give me everything they own if I agreed to care for their dog in case they both simultaneously died in a mass shooting or car accident.

“You’re the only person we would trust with our dog,” they said.

Ummm…okay. Am I the world’s greatest con man? I had entertained the idea that some of the seniors who I volunteer to help would stick it to their kids and will me their possessions but I never imagined this couple would beat them to it. Life is funny in that way. A lifelong cigarette smoker fears they will die from lung cancer but they could end up dying from choking on a piece of broccoli.

So…

  1. I’m the world’s greatest unintentional con man
  2. Everyone they’ve known in the last 50 years is an asshole

The two of them dying before the dog is unlikely but not crazy. They both have had serious health issues, both requiring major surgery. A mass shooting while they are shopping at Walmart is unlikely but now they have given someone incentive to have them disappear prematurely while ensuring the dog remains alive. I may or may not have watched the film, Leon The Professional, more than a few times.There’s also the possibility that when one dies the other dies soon after due to heartbreak.

It’s very possible that a higher power has secretly anointed me as a Chosen One. I’ve always felt that I was more special than others. It’s a reasonable explanation given the situation. In my biography it will read, “Mr Johnson credits his good fortune to having read the book, How To Win Friends & Influence People.

Shopping and Selling Shopping

I saw a Poshmark commercial on TV today and it reminded me of their stock that had gone public not too long ago. I find the idea of an app that allows you to sell used clothing slightly interesting but I’m not totally sold on the idea. What I might be missing though is that I’m not a female so it doesn’t necessarily matter what I think since it’s highly likely it will be a mostly female dominated platform. I downloaded the app and listed an item for sale to familiarize myself with the platform. The most interesting aspect of it to me so far is that unlike eBay, Poshmark takes care of some of the shipping details. They charge a flat rate to the buyer and the seller is responsible for packaging and taking it to the post office. The buyer has 3 days from receiving the item to complain about the possible shit stain on the scarf you sent them to possibly get a refund. From what I understand, Poshmark will pay for the return shipping if it is agreed that you were sold a shit stain scarf. And of course they have a social media aspect to it where you can “like” and do other community oriented actions. It seems as though eBay and Craigslist are having their market share nibbled on by services that offer a more targeted experience. But Craigslist is free and always a good local option.

On the topic of shopping, I bought a kettlebell today from a discount store. The idea is that I’ll use it while watching TV or when I’m outside at the front of my home looking like a strange person standing in front of his home. Let me tell you, symmetrical objects made of metal with no moving parts are not cheap. As a conscious shopper I quickly browsed the prices of 15 lb handheld metal objects sold at reputable retailers.

You might be asking, “are you sure that’s the price of a single one and not a pair?” Everything tells me they’re priced as singles except the price. As for my purchase price, $34.99 which is still too damn expensive but what do I know about metal prices and manufacturing of metal objects.

Same name brand as the one above!

I had always wanted to buy shares of TJX, the parent company of the discount store, but it was always expensive to me. During the pandemic I had a chance to buy at depressed prices which I did but I quickly sold for a small profit. My thought was, do I really want to own shares of a business that has its doors closed during the pandemic? The answer was no but I guess it should have been yes because the stock just kept going up.

Lesson #1: The stock market does not care what you think.

During the drive home I thought about how the rich people build shopping malls to entice us to give them our money for things we don’t need so that we can spend our days working for them to perpetuate the cycle. The common person is just a transfer vehicle of money for the rich. Often, this leads to health issues and poverty. You go to the mall to get fatter, poorer but never better. In the case of my kettlebell, I can claim it has the potential to produce health benefits but I could have just found a plastic jug and filled it with small rocks.

Covid Complacency, Probiotics, Cryptocurrency

The other day as I was making my way to the bathroom to brush my teeth I realized that another benefit of mandatory masks is that there is one less reason to brush your teeth. You can also get away with not trimming your nose hairs. I hope this virus never goes away.

I’ve been on the hunt for probiotic foods which led me to wonder if pickles are a good source. Apparently, most pickled vegetables do not contain probiotics because they’re soaked in vinegar or other probiotic-killing ingredients. Don’t believe anything you read here because my research sucks. There’s overwhelming evidence that a healthy gut is very important for mind and body health. There’s also evidence that if an individual is concerned with their probiotic intake it is an indication they’re not suicidal. I may try kim chi or stick with kefir.

Bitcoin is at $60,000 USD tonight. It was $3000 in March 2020. The kid at the liquor store has had a position at a much lower price than the current price. Maybe he should be mentoring me. A couple of months ago he told me he started to deploy funds from his line of credit to buy more bitcoin at a time when the price was in the $35,000 range. He opened the line of credit from my advice after I concluded that he was responsible with credit. He said he had never had an issue with credit card debt. He also had never been invested in bitcoin either and had it wildly appreciate.

Euphoria does things to people. It’s like never having a female kiss you and one day one comes along and touches your genitals — that’s checkmate. In this case, bitcoin is the female. My response to him was that he doesn’t need to invest with credit in such a risky asset class since he already has money invested at lower prices already. His response was, “but it’s a good idea because the percentage I’ll gain from bitcoin will be much higher than the interest on my credit. Bitcoin isn’t risky.” We had a long discussion about risk and the bad feelings that come along with it when it doesn’t go your way. Risk can be like when you share a prison cell with a midget and think he can’t rape you with his midget strength and penis. One night you decide to sleep on your front and he ends up on top of you owning you with his jujitsu skills and third leg. And then, it hits you, it all becomes clear why his nickname is, Tripod. Risk is what you don’t know.

But hey, he’s young and there is a possibility that bitcoin reaches $1 million. He’s not doing anything else with his life right now and has no other plans so this may be his best bet considering the situation. An old guy in the neighbourhood said, “I think bitcoin is overvalued.” I replied that anyone who is not invested in it thinks it is overvalued. I can see bitcoin being comparable to Napster, the first popular music sharing platform. Since Napster there have been many file sharing services but now the the streaming industry has evolved and has been legitimized and improved by platforms such as Apple Music, Netflix, YouTube and Spotify. Bitcoin makes sense but maybe it’s just cryptocurrency in its experimental phase. Often, with technology, something better comes along.

Although I haven’t been playing Tetris as much as the first couple of days of being reintroduced to it, I cannot get the theme song out of my head. The reason I haven’t been as motivated to play it is the same reason why drugs stop feeling as good after prolonged use. You’re always trying to relive the initial highs but once you realize it’s out of reach you’re no longer participating to get high, you’re just doing it to not feel so low. Now that a new high score in Tetris seems less likely, the negative side effects of strained eye balls and fingers are less tolerable.

Several years ago I wrote a post on how my coworkers at the time all cheered the head manager at a meeting when he discredited the possibility of delivery drones would one day replace the parcel delivery drivers. Maybe he’s right since it’s possible the self-driving vehicles will replace them first. Some of them might agree but in all likelihood they conveniently believe this won’t happen until they have reached retirement age. It would not surprise me if they start rolling out autonomous delivery vehicles in 5 years. I would be surprised if it doesn’t happen by 10 years. There’s great reasons to replace some of those ungrateful schmucks. People get sick, injured and milk the time off and compensation for as long as possible. I’m going to stop right there because I just realized how long the list of reasons would be. There’s a quote I came across, “If you need to be trained to do your job then a machine is going to replace you.” Right now you are telling yourself that a machine can’t possibly do your job.

There’s a guy who volunteers with the same organization as I do and we both recently discovered that we enjoy talking to each other. If he was a woman I would date him if she wasn’t as ugly as he is. We’re both not hard working, invest in stocks and enjoy talking about life. He told me last time that him and his wife have spoken about divorce twice in the past but never went through with it. He said, “if the subject comes up again I’m just going to do it.” I don’t think he will anytime soon because it’s too much of a hassle when you have assets and children while not having any great options.

There’s a positive side to almost everything. Mandatory masks allows you to go anywhere without being recognized which means you can do stupid stuff and no one will ever know it’s you. If you wear a mask, sunglasses and a hat, there’s almost a 0% chance that anyone will recognize you unless if you walk funny or have a very disproportionate sized body part. Everyone will be vaccinated by the end of the year so you might have about 12 months to wear your mask without looking weird.

The Tetris of Life

Yesterday someone reminded me of the video game, Tetris, which then inspired me to download it on my phone to try. I have never played video games using my phone but I found out how addicting it can be. It had me bargaining to myself like a drug addict, “one more game” then “one more game.”

As a youngster playing this game I had never analyzed it the way I did yesterday. For those of you who don’t know, Tetris is like a puzzle game with time constraints. You get to see the next 3 pieces that are coming to you so that you can kind of strategize your moves. You can view these future pieces like car insurance, an electricity bill and food. You know that they’re coming and you’re going to have to deal with them. Pieces beyond the 3 are like car repairs, dentist appointments and clothing. You know that you’re going to have to deal with them one day but you don’t worry too much about them for the time being. You might also tell yourself that you won’t have to deal with your underwear issue because someone might give you some for Christmas.

Just as in life, you will do better if you plan ahead, as far ahead as possible within reason. There were many times while playing Tetris I forgot to look ahead which would set me back. I became caught up in the present mess that I forgot my car insurance was expiring tomorrow. I knew my car needed repairs but I told myself that hopefully it won’t be too expensive. Sometimes you’re fortunate and get the long piece to bail you out but other times you get the square piece that has no place nice to land. You knew the square piece could be coming up soon but you just hoped that it wouldn’t. Hope alone is a bad strategy.

The later you have to deal with a situation the more likely that you’re going to put off dealing with it and fantasize that it will just work out in your favour. Because in your head, life cares about what you want. Wrong. Life only cares that you prepare for that square piece in case it comes sooner rather than later.

If you’re unprepared for the square piece early in the game you might recover but if you have to stack it on top of your ageing and sore 60-year-old back then things may not work out so well. The winners are usually the ones who do things well and faster. The lesson here is that if you suck at Tetris you might suck at life.