For some reason, when Bill was away last week, I started watching episodes of America’s Next Top Model. I will grant that it wasn’t the most wholesome show on the airwaves, but it was kind of entertaining. I probably decided to watch it because I figured it would help me pass the time. I was soon reminded of how toxic that show was. It gave me some food for thought… and fodder for my blog.
I’m not sure why I ever got hooked on ANTM. I’ve never been into hair, makeup, or fashion. I never liked Tyra Banks, either. To me, she came off like a total narcissist– like, my “N” chimes rang off the hook when I watched her on TV. I didn’t even know much about Banks until I stumbled across Cycle 7 of ANTM. Tyra’s show was probably the first reality show I ever really paid any attention to for longer than an episode. I never got into Big Brother or Survivor at all.
Shameful as it is, I must admit that I did get hooked on ANTM, and I watched it until maybe Cycle 18 or so. After that, it simply became unwatchable to me. I think life events also intervened, preventing me from tuning in anymore.
To view ANTM, you’d think Jay Manuel, Nigel Barker, and Miss J (J. Alexander) were all the best of friends. Jay Manuel, in particular, seemed to be in Tyra’s hip pocket. He served as the creative director of ANTM for years, before finally leaving the series. In 2020, Manuel published a satirical novel based on his experiences with ANTM. In January of 2022, I downloaded his book, The Wig, The Bitch & The Meltdown. A few days ago, I finally got around to starting to read it.
In the past, I would have been done with Jay’s book by now, but it’s harder for me to read these days. My eyes aren’t as good as they used to be, and I have a tendency to fall asleep when I start reading. I will admit, however, that I am enjoying Jay’s book. I do think it needs an editor, and maybe some of the characters should be fleshed out a bit more. BUT– I am enjoying the snark and the “T” spilling going on. Yes, it’s a novel, and fictionalized. But it’s also clearly based on a true story, and all I have to say is, the people who were regulars on that show and weren’t as narcissistic as Tyra is, definitely went through some shit.
I will be reviewing Mr. Manuel’s book when I finish reading it. I hope to complete the book sometime this week, because I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts on it. However, I can’t resist mentioning it today, because in writing his novel, Jay did something that I like to do when I need to “unpack” something. He turned his real life experiences into a fictionalized “based on a true story”. I imagine that dealing with Tyra Banks gave him lots of material to draw from for the book. When you’re dealing with a narcissist, you have a lot to unpack… but you have to do it very carefully. Narcissists have a way of bringing the pain.
A few years ago, when Bill and I were living in our last house, I did very occasionally write fictional stories about certain people who irritated me. It was a creative way to get out my angst. Not that many people read my short stories, anyway, so I thought of it as a constructive way to “process the crazy” without causing undue upset.
For a short time, I even considered starting a fiction blog. Our former landlady was legitimately driving me nuts, and I needed a safe place to vent. My fiction blog lasted less than a day, though. I started to write a story, but before I got far, I received a private Facebook message from the now late former tenant. She’d read what I’d written, figured she knew what I was about to do with my characters (though she was actually wrong), and decided to intervene on ex landlady’s behalf. She basically told me I was a no talent hack, and tried to shame me into silence. She also implied that I was crazy and “mean”.
I subsequently scrapped the idea of the fiction blog, but not because I agreed with former tenant’s assessment of my talents and character, or lack thereof. I mainly aborted the fiction blog because I knew that Bill was going to take legal action against ex landlady. I didn’t want to complicate matters with my creative and purely fictional doodlings. Thanks to former tenant, ex landlady and her other flying monkeys were on high alert. I didn’t want to give them the satisfaction of using me to fight against Bill in court.
Former tenant probably thought she’d fixed things when I abruptly stopped writing my fiction story. But it soon became quite clear to her that things were about to get much worse. I’m sure, if she was still capable of hindsight, she might have preferred to mind her own business and not interfere in situations that don’t involve her. Unfortunately, she was entitled and emboldened enough to meddle, and made things a lot more difficult than they needed to be. Really… knowing ex landlady, losing money was probably a lot worse for her than being the fodder for little read fictionalized short stories that were inspired by her narcissistic, passive-aggressive, crazy-making behaviors. I’m sure she also might have preferred my use of a creative outlet rather than my going off on her to her face. Trust me. She got VERY close to that experience, and I feel pretty sure she would not have enjoyed it at all.
In retrospect, for many reasons, I probably should have made the fiction blog invite only, and then opened it to the public years later. Maybe, if and when I feel inspired to write fiction again, I’ll do it that way. Or maybe I’ll just self-publish a book, like my friend Alex is doing. I no longer have to worry about getting any nastygrams from former tenant, since she is no longer among the living. I’m truly sorry she’s no longer with us, mainly because I know she has loved ones who miss her.
I don’t know what former tenant’s motivation was for harassing me. She obviously lacked understanding of the situation on a number of levels. Or, maybe she simply didn’t care. Maybe I wasn’t an actual person to her… or a worthwhile person, anyway. She was clearly a lot more concerned about her former landlady of 18 months, than she was about what was happening to us– the people who innocently took her place for four years. I wouldn’t necessarily expect her to care about us, but I certainly expected her to have a better understanding of things before assuming she had the right to send me chastising and accusatory PMs about my writing projects. In the end, I guess we did the right thing and just let the law handle it.
I know I’ve written about former tenant’s interference before, so I don’t want to rehash it too much. It’s just that reading Jay Manuel’s novel reminded me of that situation. Some people don’t realize that creative people are inspired by literally everything. You might not think writers, artists, musicians, or other creative types ought to be inspired by things that are negative. I’m sure, to former tenant, I should have just suffered in silence… or just privately talked trash to people in the community… or spoken to a therapist, or whatever, instead of channeling that experience into a fiction story.
Or, maybe she felt my complaints weren’t worthy of consideration. Maybe she thought it was okay that I was being screamed at, slandered, and blamed for things that weren’t my doing. Maybe she thought I should have just smiled and sucked it up, rather than trying to process it in a way that was funny and creative. Of course, given what happened to her, I can’t say that she was the best judge of what people should do to preserve their own mental health.
I don’t know Jay Manuel, but he’s obviously a creative guy. And as I read his novel, I recognize the Narcissism 101 traits of his protagonist, Keisha Kash, who is clearly modeled (heh heh- see what I did there?) after Tyra Banks. Last night, I read a couple of passages aloud to Bill. After one passage, I quipped “She sounds like a female Donald Trump!” And yes, it IS a fictionalized book, but obviously, there’s some truth in jest.
Tyra even said it herself to a contestant who got eliminated in Cycle 10. When the exiting model said, “I think I’ll go be an anesthesiologist,” Tyra replied that that was why she was “going home.”
When the contestant said she was “just kidding”, Tyra said, “There’s truth in jest.”
Jay Manuel’s book is obviously snarky, humorous, and satirical, but… “there’s truth in jest.” I have absolutely zero doubts that he drew from a huge well of direct experiences for inspiration when he wrote his book. In fact, as glamorous and exciting as fashion seems to be, Manuel reminds his readers that that world– along with the entertainment industry– is loaded with narcissistic creeps who ruthlessly tear down good people with their obnoxious, entitled, selfish, and crazy behaviors. So… although I think The Wig, The Bitch & The Meltdown could be improved with help from a professional editor, I also congratulate Jay for turning his experiences on ANTM into art… digital art, in my case, as I’m reading it on the Kindle app. 😉
Maybe someday, I’ll be ready to write fiction again. And perhaps there will be some people who will see themselves in my words. There are many ways to be inspirational… and perhaps we can even take heart, realizing that even the most awful people can lead to the creation of something beautiful, entertaining, or educational. I have said and written it often, and it bears repeating… Even the worst things can inspire good things.
When I was a child, the old sitcom M*A*S*H was still airing on television. I remember the instrumental version of the show’s theme song, which was titled “Suicide Is Painless”. The song’s lyrics went:
Through early morning fog I see Visions of the things to be The pains that are withheld for me I realize and I can see
That suicide is painless It brings on many changes And I can take or leave it If I please
The game of life is hard to play I’m gonna lose it anyway The losing card I’ll someday lay So this is all I have to say
Suicide is painless (suicide) It brings on many changes And I can take or leave it If I please
The sword of time will pierce our skins It doesn’t hurt when it begins But as it works its way on in The pain grows stronger, watch it grin
Suicide is painless It brings on many changes And I can take or leave it If I please
A brave man once requested me To answer questions that are key “Is it to be or not to be?” And I replied, “Oh, why ask me?”
Suicide is painless It brings on many changes And I can take or leave it If I please
And you can do the same thing If you please
The story goes that this song was written for the 1970 film version of M*A*S*H, and in the film, the song was sung by The Ron Hicklin Singers. The song’s composer is Johnny Mandel, and the film’s director, Robert Altman, wanted it to be the “stupidest song ever written.” Altman, then in his mid 40s, attempted to come up with “stupid” lyrics, but found that he couldn’t come up with any that were “stupid enough”. So he asked his then 14 year old son, Mike, to write the words to the song, which Mike was able to do in just a few minutes. The funny thing is, Altman only earned about $70,000 for directing the movie, but his son has reportedly made over $1 million for co-writing the “stupidest” song ever written. Absurd, isn’t it?
My early 20s I could see Visions of my life to be. The costs that were laid out for me I realized what I can’t be…
Cuz’ parenthood is pricey! And the job market is dicey! And that is why my womb remains empty.
The game of life is full of chance. So much is left to circumstance. There’s so much that is up to fate. So childbirth, I’ll procrastinate.
Cuz’ parenthood is pricey! The job market is dicey! And that is why my womb remained empty.
Painful student loans will last… It doesn’t hurt ’til time has passed. By then, too many years have gone For me to take parenthood on…
Cuz’ parenthood is pricey! The job market is dicey! And that is why my womb is so empty.
A brave reporter once asked me “Why haven’t you made a mini me? Don’t you want your own family?” And I replied “How can it be?”
Cuz parenthood is pricey! The job market is dicey! And that is why my womb is still empty.
And my friends are mostly doing the same thing…
I remember the urge to make the parody popped into my head randomly. It was a flicker of inspiration that I decided to feed, after I wrote a blog post about reasons why people aren’t having so many kids these days. Of course, in 2018, we had no idea of the epic shitshow that awaited us in 2020, 2021, and 2022. I had written a lengthy and revelatory post about why Bill and I never sought reproductive assistance when it became apparent that his vasectomy reversal wasn’t going to be enough to make us parents. When I was still fertile, we were broke. We aren’t broke anymore, but I just turned 50 and pregnancy would probably either kill me or make me sick, if by some miracle it could even happen. And now, I don’t want kids anymore, because of the epic shitshow I mentioned. So maybe we were lucky things worked out how they did.
I’m not sure if the birth rate is still declining. That’s not really the point of this post. I just remembered the song, and how I rewrote the lyrics. I used to enjoy making song parodies, writing fiction, and engaging in other creative pursuits. But thanks to a former blog follower who mocked my efforts, I’ve lost a lot of the desire to do the funny, creative stuff I used to love doing. It’s like there’s a block there, because I really just want to get through this life with as few altercations as possible.
Ironically enough, that person is now dead, because she committed suicide. I don’t know why she took that action, and I don’t rejoice in her decision, especially since I have seen evidence that many people who were left behind are now hurting. She had two children who have now lost their mother forever, and will always have to deal with that huge loss for the rest of their lives. It will affect other people, too. People they’ve not even met yet, who will have to shoulder the baggage that came from that tragic decision. Suicide is definitely not painless for those who are left in the wake of it. I suspect it isn’t painless for the people who do it, either, even when it’s done quickly and violently.
A few months ago, I wrote about how several people in Bill’s and my world had made the choice to kill themselves. We weren’t particularly close to any of them– they were mainly just people on the peripheries of our lives. Still, we were affected by the fact that they made that choice and it was publicized. There’s always this sense of shock and wonder when someone takes their own life. What made them do it? What was the final straw that pushed them to make that decision? Bill was so shaken by it, he even searched Google for links about it while he was at work. That decision was discovered by the IT guys at his job, and he ended up getting a talking to by his boss, who was concerned that Bill might be contemplating suicide. See how suicide has ripple effects, even toward people who aren’t involved? The three people who ended their lives by suicide affected us enough to talk about it and search for information on the Internet. And then other people– completely uninvolved– felt compelled to talk to us about it, in case we were thinking of doing it ourselves.
A couple of days ago, I learned that yet another person in my sphere took their own life. Apparently, this person decided to exit life on their own terms because of a chronic illness that was causing them a lot of pain and disability. I looked at their most recent posts on social media, and realize that in the days before their exit, there weren’t really any obvious hints of what was coming. A couple of memes are there– they seem prescient now, but wouldn’t have seemed like that at the time they were posted. And now, there are so many tributes to this person about what a wonderful, kind, caring, awesome person they were, and how much they are already missed. I wonder how many of them said that before the suicide happened. I wonder what the point of saying it now is, although I know that many people believe in life after death, and assume that perhaps the person is looking down from Heaven… or maybe up from Hell? I don’t know.
My husband had a near death experience when he was a teenager. I know not everyone believes in those, but I have read enough books about people who have been clinically dead and came “back” from the beyond that I think there might be something to them. I think the experience changed Bill on many levels. Even if what he experienced was nothing but a massive discharge of endorphins as life briefly ebbed away from him, it still gives me comfort. A few months ago, an Epinions friend passed away from cancer, and I remember one of her last posts was that we shouldn’t fear dying. She said that it doesn’t hurt… you just slip away. But what if your death is unnatural? What if you weren’t meant to die? Is suicide that painless? Maybe after it happens, it’s painless. No one’s “home” anymore. It’s not painless for the people who remain in their Earthly existences. A lot of them are left with endless questions, guilt, and grief, as they try to make sense of what may seem senseless to them.
We really are all affected by each other. I used to love to write things that were “creative”. I lost the urge to write creative stuff after that huge mess caused by a woman who shamed me for doing it. That woman is now dead, because she decided to exit life on her own terms. I’m still left the aftereffects of her last words to me. They were her last words, because I blocked her from contacting me a few years before she died. Maybe all isn’t lost, though. That flicker could come back to life, as if it experienced a near death experience or resurrection.
The other day, when I was in the shower, thinking about the whole abortion debate, I had another flicker of inspiration as an idea for a satire piece came into my head. For a moment, I was excited about it. I thought maybe I’d sit down and write something. I wouldn’t be doing it for anything but satisfying my own urges to write and express myself in an interesting way. But then the doubt came back, put there by someone who couldn’t simply leave me alone, and I pushed it out of my head. Still, it was a flicker of inspiration… and maybe it’s time I got back down to business. Because I really do believe that expression can be one way to avoid committing suicide. Even if it’s just expressing oneself to someone who cares and might offer another perspective… one that offers a different reality that the person whose mind is muddied with thoughts of suicide can’t consider at the time.
And now, I am going to repost the article I wrote that birthed the song parody I wrote above. This was written on May 18, 2018, and I’m going to leave it “as/is”. Maybe the flicker will come back again.
My fat ass itches… (I’m sure this is one of the posts I wrote that the former “spy” disapproved of.)
Today’s blog post comes courtesy of my old buddy, Ken Turetzky, who wrote and sang a hilarious song of the same name. I “met” Ken online about ten years ago, when I wrote a review of a compilation album done by comedian/musician Red Peters. I discovered Red Peters when Bill and I went to a karaoke night at Fort Belvoir’s Officers’ Club and the hosts played Peters’ infamous “Closing Song” to finish the evening. I thought it was hilarious, so I bought Peters’ two available albums and became a fan.
Years later, Red Peters got into promoting other comedic musicians. Turetzky’s hit song, “Her Shit Don’t Stink” was among the songs on Peters’ compilation, which I purchased the last time we were living in Germany. To this day, I can’t listen to some songs on that album and not have idyllic memories of our first Germany tour. Anyway, Turetzky happened to find my Epinions review and engaged me in the comments section. Now we’re Facebook friends.
This morning, as I was waking up, I read a news article about how the U.S. Fertility Rate Fell to a Record Low for the Second Straight Year. Actually, the title of this article is misleading. It’s not that Americans are infertile. It’s that they aren’t having as many babies. Frankly, I think that’s a good thing. Our country is well and truly fucked right now and plenty of people are having trouble simply supporting themselves. The Trump administration seems to be doing its level best to erase any protections for American citizens. The whole country appears to be in a shambles. So I don’t blame young people for not wanting to reproduce right now. Besides, we’ve got PLENTY of people as it is.
But seriously, though. Think about what young people are up against. Young people today are leaving college saddled with massive student loans. Student loans can’t be discharged in a bankruptcy. And well paying jobs, which would make use of those hard won degrees, are in short supply. Now… one doesn’t necessarily have to go to college in order to make a good living. Some people are able to learn trades or are gifted athletes or musicians. Some people luck into money or are born into wealth. But, for a lot of people, college is the gateway to a decent career. There are a lot of jobs that require a degree and, in America, it’s expensive to get a degree. So lots of young folks start off their best fertility years ladened with debt. That makes it a lot less appealing for young people to make babies.
I will be turning 46 next month and by September, I expect to have my student loans completely paid. I will be accomplishing this goal about nine years ahead of schedule. When I think about it, it’s pretty amazing, especially since Bill and I started our marriage completely broke. That “broke” period lasted about five years, as Bill recovered from financial disasters wrought in his first marriage and paid massive child support. It finally turned around when Bill went to Iraq and started earning combat pay. I used the extra money to get rid of some debt and start paying ahead on my student loans. I started by paying an extra $20 a month and snowballed it for years.
For awhile, I got letters from my student loan service letting me know the extra money wasn’t necessary. Like hell it wasn’t. When I consolidated my loans, I owed $57,000 and that was before the interest. Of course, I have three degrees. However, I don’t currently use my college degrees to make a big paycheck. Life did not go in a direction where that would have been possible for me. I happened to marry a kind, generous man who was willing to help me. Not everyone is as lucky as I’ve been. Plenty of young people are now leaving college with as much debt as I once had, and they only have one degree.
When you have to pay a lot of money for your student loans and your job isn’t necessarily secure, it might make you think twice about buying a home. It might make you think twice about getting married or having children. And then, once you have those children, you have to worry about all of the things that come from having them… not the least of which is how much it costs. Kids are expensive. Even if your child is healthy, they cost a lot of money. If your child isn’t healthy, then there are other expenses to consider.
And then, as you have your kids– maybe when you’re in your thirties, prime earning years– your parents might start having medical issues. In my case, I was blessed with healthy, independent folks. My dad had full medical coverage courtesy of being a retired Air Force officer. My mom is very healthy and independent and has a good head for money. So she’s doing fine. Bill’s dad and stepmother, likewise, seem to be doing okay. Bill’s mom needs help, but Bill is lucky enough to make good money right now. At any point, that reality could change and screw things up. If your parents aren’t healthy and can’t afford to take care of themselves, then you might be tasked with helping them. And that takes money. Sure, you can tell your parents to bugger off if you’re really selfish or sociopathic, but most people aren’t like that.
So… I can see why a lot of younger folks are holding off on having children. Those who wait until they have money might have a harder time reproducing. Fertility declines as a person ages. Yes, there are women out there who can get pregnant naturally when they are in their mid 40s. Women who decide to wait for their kids until they’ve become settled in their careers might find themselves pondering spending thousands on fertility treatments. Some might decide to go to another country for cheaper fertility treatments. If anything goes wrong, though, their health insurance probably won’t pay for anything related to care they received out of the country. That’s if they can afford to have health insurance in the first place.
I have no idea how fertile I am, since our fertility issues were probably caused by Bill’s vasectomy and subsequent reversal. I never bothered to get thoroughly checked out because when I was in my 30s, we were still broke. Any kind of fertility treatment would have cost money we didn’t have, even if we could have gotten that treatment at a substantial discount, thanks to the military. I didn’t want to stay broke, so I focused on getting rid of debt instead of having children.
I was also influenced by a woman I met while living at Fort Belvoir. Like me, she had trouble conceiving. She got fertility treatments and eventually had a son. Sadly, he was born with multiple devastating birth defects. He needed round the clock care. She went from being a wife in a comfortable financial situation with two dogs, to a woman who spent all of her time trying to take care of her very medically fragile baby boy. I remember very clearly when she warned me that if I had fertility treatments, I could end up in the situation she was in. She seemed bitter about it. I have to admit that I had a lot of empathy for her. All she wanted was to simply be a mother. She was lucky, though, in that she had access to military healthcare and housing. Still, caring for her baby meant she needed extra help. And that also costs serious money.
These are just a few reasons why women aren’t having babies. I haven’t even touched on the fact that a lot of men who might be decent fathers are scared of commitment. Frankly, I can’t blame them for that. If a marriage fails, and many of them do, it can cost a lot of money. Men, more often often than women, wind up being on the hook for child support for years. It happened to Bill. It was a long stretch of being nearly broke while working his ass off, while his first wife denied him access to his daughters, and his second wife struggled to find work. Trust me, it’s not fun, although Bill and I were lucky enough to be able to survive and thrive. Not everyone is as lucky as we’ve been.
I also didn’t even get into people who are involved in religions that demand a lot of tithing. When I met Bill, he was still a Mormon and obliged to give ten percent of his gross income to the church. That was so he could be “temple worthy”… which meant he was allowed to wear the special underwear and enter the temple and participate in culty religious ordinances that were either very bizarre or very boring. Again, ten percent of one’s income, especially when the income isn’t quite enough, is a lot of money. It tends to discourage reproduction, even as church leaders are encouraging it.
Anyway, I posted the article by The New York Times on my Facebook page and it immediately attracted comments. A few comments came from my old online comedian friend, Ken Turetzky. I remembered his silly song, “My Fat Ass Itches” and its bluesy hooks. I suggested to Ken that maybe he ought to write a blues song inspired by the article I posted. But, you know what? Maybe I’ll do it myself. I have all day. I have no job. I have no other purpose other than to comment on the news. And, by some miracle, I managed to get to middle age without defaulting on any loans. But I have no descendants or dependents… and when I die, the mold will be broken. Maybe that’s a good thing.
Yeah… I’ll think about it. If I come up with a blues song, maybe I’ll post it later (see above). If I don’t come up with one or otherwise get distracted, I’ll just write another meaningless blog post about the state of life today.
Here’s a repost from my original blog. I wrote this on September 23, 2018. As Christmas approaches, I think it’s relevant… and I’m still deciding on today’s topic. My mom made the socks on my feet in the featured photo, too.
A friend shared this post from Scary Mommy yesterday. It was originally written in March 2018, but somehow I missed the viral round. I entertained myself by reading it as Bill and I came home from our excursion. The Scary Mommy story was gleaned from a Reddit post that shows just how completely rude and entitled people can be sometimes, especially toward creative people.
A guy on Instagram asked a crocheter named Krafty Katt if she takes commissions. He wanted her to make him a queen sized blanket using expensive wool yarn and employing a complicated stitch. She told him she’d do it for $400, with $200 paid upfront. The guy’s response was very profane and he basically told her she was ripping him off because he could go to Walmart and buy a blanket for $15. He used every trick in the book to get her to lower her price for creating something stunning by hand. She wouldn’t budge and eventually doubled her price. I offer mad props to her for being so calm and handling that jerk the way she did.
I must admit, she was a whole lot nicer than I would have been. I probably would have told the guy to go eat a bag of dicks the first time he started using foul language toward me. Some people don’t seem to understand that handmade goods don’t just cost the price of the supplies. They also require time and effort. The guy’s insistence that the crocheter could buy yarn on sale and basically work for free was extremely insulting, especially considering how rude he was being to her.
My mom was making this the last time I visited her.
She also made this. I did not inherit any of my mom’s talent for needle creations. My sister got that gift.
I probably have even more insight into this phenomenon than other people do. I grew up watching my parents making money from their creativity. My mom ran her own knitting and needlework shop for over 25 years. She ran her shop out of our home and taught countless people, mostly women, how to knit, needlepoint, cross stitch, and candle wick. When I was really young, she even used to make clothes for me. My mom has a gift for making beautiful things and she sold high quality supplies to like minded people who wanted to create beautiful things. She probably knows all about the yarn Krafty Katt wrote of on her Reddit thread.
My dad had a complementary business doing custom picture framing and selling art by local artists. Both of my parents made their livings laboring over beautiful things. People would bring their creations to my mom when they needed help. I remember her “blocking” needlepoint done by other women or finishing up projects for people. I remember my dad and his assistant, Deborah (who took over his business), creatively framing pictures and making shadow boxes for patrons. It all took a lot time, effort, skill, and most of all, vision. Most people were very pleased with the end results, although some bristled at the cost.
Besides running her own knitting and needlepoint business, my mom was also a church organist for over 50 years. People were eager to hire her to play for weddings and funerals because she is extremely talented. I don’t remember her charging a lot of money to play the organ, but I do remember that each event required her to practice. She had to practice for each Sunday service, every wedding, and all funerals. That took time, energy, and effort, and she was entitled to be paid for it.
I have run into this issue myself. I am a writer and a singer. Writing and singing are two of my innate talents, so they come fairly easily to me, but I still have to develop them. I studied voice for several years and put in a lot of time practicing and learning how to breathe. I paid for music and an accompanist, as well as instruction from a teacher. Now I can sing pretty well, but that skill didn’t come without cost, commitment, and a lot of effort.
It takes time and effort to make music or write a piece for someone else. A lot of the pieces I’ve written for money have required extensive research, fact checking, and equipment. Computers cost money. Software costs money. So do subscriptions to publications that provide the information I need to write something factual and credible. I went to school for seven years past high school to develop the knowledge and skills to be able to write professionally. God knows that took money! Some people might argue that one can learn how to write well without a college degree. I might agree with that. However, I went to graduate school and studied specific areas that give me expertise that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. It’s been awhile since my last freelance assignment, but back when I was writing for money, I was earning anywhere from $40 to $80 an hour in the Washington, D.C. area.
I even had a social work professor who told his students that we should never give away our work for free, even if we only charge a dollar. When someone pays for something, they value it more. Although I don’t always think monetary compensation is required for one person to value another person’s contribution, I do agree with the idea that nothing is really free.
A person is more likely to take another person’s work seriously if payment is required. The payment doesn’t always have to be monetary. It can also be given in the form of gratitude. For instance, I would never expect someone to give me money for a gift I present to them. A gift is, by definition, given without the expectation of money. I would hope that the recipient would “pay” me by saying thank you, although that doesn’t always happen, either. Sometimes people are clods… myself included.
Bill had this kilt made when we went to Scotland in 2017. The kiltmaker measured him and created that kilt by hand. It’s absolutely beautiful, but it cost plenty and took about three months to create. Ultimately, it was worth it. I’m glad we went to the kiltmaker instead of a big company that makes kilts in bulk.
Aside from the hard costs of producing something beautiful, there’s also the issue of time and labor. No one wants to be a slave. There has to be a pay off for being productive, and the more productive a person is, the bigger the pay off should be. Krafty Katt is obviously very good at what she does– good enough that the guy who proposed that she make his blanket asked if she does commissions. But then he insulted her by accusing her of ripping him off by demanding to be paid for her work.
I would not have made a blanket for the guy on Instagram for any amount of money. I don’t think I could put my heart into creating something for such a selfish prick. I think his best bet is to go to Walmart and buy something that was made in a sweatshop. That’s the quality of person he seems to be… and probably the quality he deserves.
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