Alex Mathews

Alex Mathews – writer, bared naked dude blah blah blah

The Quarterly Report

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Every few months it appears as though I wake up like a hungry animal in need of a huge feast. My dinner is always the same. I want money, and lots of it. Oddly, the urge lays dormant for a while and resurges like a geyser. I laugh at it now, that hunger, but it still seeks satisfaction, no matter how I look at it. I laugh at the places it has taken me. I cringe at some of the professions I sought entry to in the name of eating. I usually fall prey to the idea of quick money, and all reason gives way to the dream of hitting it rich. It’s a strange notion. Knowing that every scheme has brought sadness and frustration and yet looking at the same idea differently, with the childish hope that this time it will be different.

I find myself vulnerable to infomercials during these times. It never really matters what the actual profession these hawkers of wealth building systems are hiring for. Late at night I can become anything for the right salary—a real estate investor, a stock trader, a note buyer, internet marketer, e-bay millionaire—if they’re giving away money and freedom and the limitless possibilities of getting away from the rat race, I am ready. Never mind that my personality is probably not suited to any of these things really, as they lull me with the testimonials of the stupidest people I have ever seen and the promise of huge checks, I suddenly imagine my new career and the kind of work I would be doing from the comfort of my own home. As I watch these things, I say to myself I could never actually do this. I would never purchase a wealth building kit complete with manuals, step-by-step instructions, DVDs and all the tools I need to make my business a success. I tell myself I am smarter than that. Who buys this stuff, I ask? As I begin to become skeptical, it’s as if the TV hears my thoughts. The more I tune it out, the more it plays in the background, calling me, tempting me, reminding me that I don’t own twenty rental properties purchased with no money down, and I am not at the luau in Hawaii with the rest of the noobs who have made a fortune in the note business.

Weird adages play in my head? What do I have to lose? Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Who am I to say this wouldn’t work? You gotta be in it to win it.

How hard could money be to come by in great measure? Why is it so elusive to me? There are plenty of rich people out there, and plenty of them aren’t as good as me or as smart as me or as nice as me or as deserving as me. What is my problem?

When I hit upon these times, I also find myself at the bookstore with this desperate sense of both hope and hopelessness, searching the shelves for the books on getting rich, staying rich, being the rich guy next door, the mind of the rich guy, creating riches through fill-in-the-blank—the volumes stretch for yards and yet they all seem to serve as a cold reminder. These books are all bullshit. I have read enough of them to know better, yet there is this thing at work in my mind. Maybe this one is different. Maybe this one will do the trick. I play at scoffing, and I go to the fiction section and pretend to be superior. I almost resolved to dismiss them entirely as the intellectual meanderings of the simple, but then the next quarter rolls around and my urge is rekindled. And round we go.

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