Column by Dan Newman
It’s that time people, it is Christmas! Most adults complain about it, but the fact is the vast majority enjoy the festivities. I loved it as a kid, hated it through those awkward years, mainly because I was the literal embarrassment of the family, but I’ve warmed to it over time.
My kid wishes every day was Christmas, so when it finally rolls around it’s the best thing ever, and it’s so cool to share that with him. That’s why I’m excited for this year, and it justifies the more uncomfortable parts of family gatherings.
I sat at the kid’s table until I was like 30, so I guess I sort of never grew out of it. I get way more into Nerf wars with the kids than stuffy career talk over drinks, sprinkled with vacay memories, topped with humble brags, and garnished with investment deal’s that’ve paid off. I got none of that, but I’ll sure as heck cap a 12 year old in the forehead with a round from a Nerf cannon.
And maybe I need a good ole fashioned Christmas to unwind and regroup. You see, I’m in serious need of some reprieve. Also, if you follow my socials, I need to explain the TV … I … broke with a baseball bat.
Wait, I’m still the embarrassment of the family? Eh, it’s cool. No way around it, so why not own it?
Anyway, this financial black hole I’m in is really kicking my posterior. Thing is, I have a stable job and it pays okay, so it seems like I should be fine. Well, that’s where the problem lies. There isn’t much extra money to pay on my bills. I’d be fine if I was caught up, and that’s where I wanna be. Catching up is what’s ruining my life.
The way out is the way through, so I gotta pay my way out of this hole. It’s awful. There’s no money ever, and bad things happen when the money runs out and so does everything else.
I’m focusing on fixing one debt first, the bitchiest one, which also has the most at stake. It’s taken me so long to get not very far and I’m always flat broke. The week I get paid, I get the things I need and give the rest away. That stuff runs out by the second week and go without until payday.
Food can go a long way with a little planning, so I usually do okay there, but other things are harder, like juice for my e-cigarette. I’m always running out of that stuff, flat broke, bumming juice off this nice girl at work. It’s pathetic and I hate it. I feel bad. And these hard weeks have been getting worse.
This past week, I ran out of food, caffeine, nicotine and gas. On Sunday. By Wednesday, I snapped. I took a baseball bat and smashed my TV, my nightstand and a lamp. Broke one of my photo light bulbs too, which strangely enough is the loss that hurts most.
I know it doesn’t make sense, but it is what it is. I don’t talk about this stuff. Only my best friends and my kid even know what’s going on. Things build to a head and then pop like a zit. Circle of my life. I usually write these aggressions out, but this all at the same time was too much. I called a lifeline and got some help, so it’s all good now, but it was the worst it’s been since forever.
I feel dumb about this, but I will never apologize for it. Outbursts like this happen mainly because I ask for help so often that I can’t stand doing it. Hate it, hate hate hate asking for help. It’s the worst feeling ever. Like, “hey, I suck at life, so can I get a $20 spot?” Feel like a maggot squirming in a pile of guts.
But sometimes, there’s no choice. It has to happen, so I do it. I’m thankful I’m surrounded by folks who will help me out, but I hate needing help. There is, as always, a light at the end of this horrid tunnel.
My immediate debt is going down. Soon, it’ll be paid off and then on to the next one. The one I been working at is the biggest one by a landslide, so it’s the best to get out the way first. Then the others should fall back to normal in short order. It’s been so hard, but I need to remind myself that I am making progress, and that this suffering too will end.
And all this is what I’ll be leaving the ‘F’ at home for this year’s Newman Family Christmas Celebration. Merry Christmas, happy holidays, or whatever you and yours prefer to call it.
Have fun, be well, and bust out a Nerf gun and cap a child for your boy! See you next week.
Dan Newman is a freelance writer from Wausau with over 15 years in the game. His focus is on the underprivileged and those society tries to forget. In his free time, Dan enjoys writing, making YouTube videos, and singing to his cats.