Are you doing anything you can to survive? You are not alone. Grit, hustle, perseverance all come to mind when I think about survival. I want to share with you an experience that happened to me in 2010 that made me think about how far each of us will go to survive.
One night, I was playing poker into the wee hours of the morning with some buddies. The poker game ends and the team of entrepreneurs and new media types say their good-byes. I leave up $51 bucks, which is a nice return given my $100 buy-in. But, it's a pittance against others leaving with wads of cash big enough to substitute for butt-cheek implants if so desired.
The last time I was out until 3:30am was when George W. proclaimed we won the war. There are so few cars on the road, when I do see one, I wonder what trickery lies ahead. There's a certain tranquility one feels when others are sleeping. Dim yellow lights glow in San Francisco's misty haze. Nobody bothers you because nobody is conscious enough to care.
Almost home, I decide to instead drive towards the Bay and take in the silence of black murky waters and a revolving spotlight that perpetually emits from Alcatraz. I wondered if this calm is how Frank Lee Morris felt before he tried escaping The Rock some 48 years ago.
TAP, TAP, KNOCK
TAP, TAP, KNOCK I suddenly hear on my passenger side window as a dark lady in glasses mouths a question. Not sure exactly what's going on, I buzz open Moose's window two inches – wide enough to hear her speak, but narrow enough to prevent foreign object intrusion.
The lady reiterates her question again, “Hey baby, want to have a good time?“
Shocked at the apparent breach in normalcy, but relieved about not being carjacked I respond, “Whatcha talking about?“, knowing full well what she's suggesting.
“Only $50 or $100, that's what I'm talking about,” as she whispers with a smile.
$50 was almost exactly the amount of money I “worked” so hard to earn in poker for the past four hours. There was a time I was up over $100, but I couldn't hold on. Here was a mysterious young lady willing to sell herself for at least $50 bucks for a presumably much shorter duration, but potentially much higher risk.
“No, thanks. I'm just enjoying the night miss“, I respond back. She apologizes for disturbing and walks 20 yards to another car. Tap, tap, knock. This time she gets in.
Bump In The Night
There's a different world out there when we're all sleeping. It's filled with creepy crawlers and mischievous beings looking to get ahead. When you wake up one morning to see graffiti all over your neighbor's wall, you know it wasn't done while you were awake. When tires are slashed and pots are smashed, you know it happened while you were asleep.
My car was parked in one of the most expensive parts of one of America's most expensive cities. And there she was, a woman looking to extract and make a living. $50/$100 were her poker blinds. Despite the obvious illegal activity, is it so bad for her to hustle and make a living? If you've run into serious money trouble, doing anything you can to survive is bound to cross lines.
It's apparent there are men out there who disappear in the middle of the night to “clear their minds” in front of Alcatraz. Is it so bad this lady was addressing a demand? Maybe this woman is a single mother with a child to feed, who knows.
When I finally drove away, I noticed multiple walkers roaming the streets. Women just randomly strutting their stuff as if everything was normal. All I could see were walkers everywhere whereas before I never noticed. Life is strange that way.
For example, as soon as you buy something, let's say a white Honda Civic, you'll suddenly start noticing white Honda Civics everywhere. It's as if we are blind, and only want to see what we want to see. Or at least only see what's at the front of our minds. When you're doing anything you can to survive, chances are you'll see lots of others doing the same.
Doing Anything You Can To Survive
When the going gets tough, we need to do things, almost anything we can to survive. I'll don my old McDonald's purple and black for minimum wage if I have to in order to may the mortgage. Maybe they'll promote me to manager and pay me $13/hour if I work hard enough. Or maybe I'll be a male gigolo for $100/hour instead. One can only flip so many burgers before carpel tunnel sets in.
Money is so flippant when we have some. You've got pocket jacks, so lets go all-in pre-flop for $200, why not. Yet, as soon as you lose your job, or start drowning in debt, maybe you're not going all-in on a whim anymore!
Maybe you're hustling at night looking to make a quick buck despite risk of arrest. Whatever it is, I admire the lady by the Bay for trying. She was courteous, stated her price, and gracious upon rejection. All I hope is that whatever money she makes, she puts some away in savings!
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Readers, what would you do if you suddenly lost your job and everything you owned? Would you be willing to do anything to provide for your family? If prostitution is the oldest profession in the world, why isn't it still legal? After all, prostitution on camera (pornography) is legal. If you're doing anything you can to survive, what risks and sacrifices have you had to make?
Sam @ Financial Samurai – “Slicing Through Money’s Mysteries”
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