“Appropriate Behaviour” — Basic Capitalism in My Formative Years

I don’t know exactly what caused me to have an anxiety disorder. During my therapy sessions I elected to manage my mental health as opposed to find out where the darn mess came from.

On some days I speculate, and one of my theories is that it’s because I gained an understanding of how the world works during my formative years, only to be chastised for it. Then, after emerging into the adult world to see that it’s exactly how I thought it was, I get subconscious flashbacks to being told off for behaving like most adults.

Let me illustrate an example for you, using the power of my words and your imagination.

I’ve always been a shy kid. One who’s happy to live in his own world, but who still craves the attention of others like the rest of the damn species. After I started secondary school (age 11 for international reference) I didn’t really find confidence among my peers until I started selling chocolate bars on the school yard before and after classes.

A large supermarket chain, that rhymes with alfresco, built a store directly opposite my place of education. This meant that before school began I could go over to the store and buy ten multipacks of chocolate (candy) bars, in order to resell for a tasty profit.

It’s the classic get-rich-quick scheme for any twelve-year-old smart enough to use birthday money as investment capital.

Due to the multipacks of chocolate being so much cheaper than buying the bars individually (as low as 20p per bar), I could always sell them to my classmates for less than the price of an individually sold unit. Yeah, that’s right, I know the lingo.

Now, anyone who has ever bought a multipack of anything that’s individually wrapped will know that the external packaging has “Not Suitable For Resale” printed in big black letters on the wrapper. And had this been the reason for the shutting down of my hustle, I may have understood.

I began taking requests for specific items, and I would always oblige (providing that item was available in a multipack, if not you can sling your hook Mikey).

For months I enjoyed making a tidy 50% profit on most items, and subsequently saved that money for bigger ticket purchases in my own life — Video games, CDs, a mini fridge; The classics.

The cashiers at Tesco — I MEAN, thing that rhymes with… never mind. The statute of limitations must’ve expired here.

Well, the cashiers started to become a little suspicious, asking a question here and there. I would cover my tracks by saying that my pals gave me money before school and I do a solo run for all of our personal snacks that day.

“Well that’s an awful lot of chocolate bars.”

“I have a lot of friends.”

They’d always laugh at that one, which in hindsight I assume was because of my sickly/nerdy demeanour. Either way, it got me out of the situation and I was free to go about my morning business.

Eventually I started branching out into drinks, particularly as the warm weather started to hit. This meant I had to invest some of my profits into a new backpack, but it was worth it for the increased sales overall.

This little scheme helped me to interact with people outside of my friend group, as well as quickly perform basic maths. It also allowed me to develop my entrepreneurial spirit, which is a key talent to posses in a capitalist society.

I knew at heart that I was cheating the system, by purchasing items in bulk and reselling them as individuals, but even by age twelve I was aware of lying, cheating, corrupt politicians and businessmen. As far as I knew, I was just playing the game of life.

One morning, whilst carrying my two backpacks and one tote-bag worth of goodies, I was pulled aside by my form tutor for a chat. I felt like an unworthy kid at the chocolate factory, called out by Willy Wonka as I protested innocence, only for candy to spill from every available pocket.

homerbadman

See, I’d always been really careful to make sales between classes, so that teachers wouldn’t be disturbed by my transactions. Sure, I’d cut verbal deals in the middle of Maths if the sale were big enough. But no money or goods would ever change hands — The classroom is a place for learning.

So I was surprised to be pulled aside one morning and be told to stop selling chocolate bars. It was that damn cashier, I just knew it. She didn’t know my name, but she must’ve said something to the school about a sickly/nerdy looking kid, and all the teachers rushed to me for some reason…

I asked why I wasn’t allowed to do it anymore, and I wasn’t given a suitable answer. As I mentioned above, if the multipack legality issue had been brought into the conversation, then I would’ve held my hands up and surrendered my candied wares.

However, I was simply told that I couldn’t, because “it’s not appropriate”, and as a child I took this as gospel. The entire world seemed to be hustling to get by, but I guess if an authority figure tells me that it’s not the done thing, then I should probably stop.

I asked my form tutor how he’d found out about my schemes, and he said that another pupil had brought it to his attention. To this day I still have no idea who grassed me up, but something tells me it was the other kid who had been trying to start a rival business for weeks beforehand, to little success.

Low and behold, the second I close my metaphorical doors of business, he swoops in and collects all my old customers. This included a habitual snacker, who would regularly drop £5 a day on confectionary. He’d harpooned my whale. (This isn’t a fat joke, the kid actually had a fast metabolism, it’s a term used in gambling I swear.)

But this was fine, because I had done the right thing, I was now “appropriate”. Except that my confidence gradually dropped, as I’d lost my outlet to interacting with people outside of my friend group. And I became fearful of any business ventures going forward.

To tell the truth I even became suspicious of the concept of Maths as a whole, as I’d replay scenes of being told off for practicing basic maths outside of the classroom. You know, I bet this is also the point where I started to subconsciously criticise capitalism — We’re unpacking a lot here.

Then I entered the adult world, and found that everyone is cutting one corner or another in order to get by. Even if it’s just a petite, “white” corner-cutting.

I guess my point is that I have no idea why I get such bad anxiety in most regular occurrences, but it’s fun to blame this formative experience because it doesn’t effect anyone who I love and respect.

I suppose the positive to come from this time in my life is that I easily see corruption and corner-cutting in world leaders or respected members of the community. Because I’ve played their game, I know how it is on the rough streets of white collar crime. Don’t mess with us, or we might just sell you something for twice what it’s actually worth, whilst breaking several national wholesale laws in the process.


Today is Tuesday, January 8th and I wanted a .gif of all of the candy spilling from Marge’s coat but I couldn’t find one.

Tip My Jar?

If you like what I write and can spare a dollar, then it’d be a greatly appreciated act of kindness! If you like what I write and can’t spare a dollar then I greatly appreciate you! If you hate what I write and also can’t spare a dollar, then why are you still reading this?

$1.00

Brexit: Handing Britain Over to Toxic Capitalists

Sorry for more Brexit, but I have a lot of feelings. I read this over my morning coffee and my blood slowly simmered to an above-average temperature. It didn’t boil, I’m not a cliche, yet.

Given my status as a British expat living in America, you’d suppose I’d be all for any think-tank idea that proposed total free movement between the two countries. My family could visit without an ESTA, and hopping on a plane for them would be as easy and hassle-free as it is to hop on a train to France (for six more months). Had this potentially happened sooner I’d have been able to go back to the UK for Christmas this year, instead of having to wait at least another eight months for my green card.

The legal immigration services in America are currently running at the slowest they have in years. A byproduct of this administration focusing so much on deporting illegal immigrants, is that those of us who’re following paperwork procedures are slowed-down to a stopping point. It’s an immigration traffic jam on the toll road, and I don’t think it’s a happy accident.

However, this morning a right-wing think-tank, sponsored by the Koch brothers and prominent eurosceptics, unveiled its proposal for a new trade deal between the US and the UK. This would mean free movement between both countries; All the benefits of my life now, but without a lot of the messy paperwork and restrictions. Sounds pretty good, right?

nopegif

Well, the proposal also includes a plan to open the NHS up to foreign bidders. The National Health Service is a British institute, and despite its under-funding from right-wing governments, it’s still alive. Even in its dying embers, the model of the NHS still provides light and hope to other countries, for what universal healthcare can look like.

If properly funded by the government, by the taxes of the people, the NHS is a safety net for anyone in society. We learned this week that even far-right elitists like Katie Hopkins need to apply for insolvency to avoid bankruptcy. I doubt her financial advisor would recommend her paying for private healthcare in this difficult time, so even people like her need the NHS.

Seriously, can she be bumped-up the waiting list to receive counselling for her mental health? She clearly has a lot of undiagnosed issues.

Treatments that cost hundred of thousands of dollars in the US would simply be paid for by regular taxes, and if you have the money you still have the option to go private; You have the freedom of choice! Nationalised healthcare should be a badge of honour for any country that upholds the standard. It projects to the world that you put the health and wellbeing of your citizens first and foremost. A government will still make mistakes, but not allowing people to die simply because they’ve been born into poverty is a good platform to start from.

If the ideas of this think-tank are pushed forward into right-wing Brexitier policy — As they likely will be, due to the pressure on Theresa May for a hard-Brexit and the rising support for a second referendum if there’s no deal struck with Europe — Then Britain could see the NHS bought by American insurance companies, who will salivate at the idea of sixty-five-million new contracts of monthly payments.

Okay, some of those people are children, and some will inevitably go full-private, but sixty-five million sounds so impactful. Fine… it’ll more likely be forty-million new contracts. Happy now?

noddingnoah

This deal would seek to remove tariffs for big-business and sell the idea of a free-trade utopia in which government doesn’t get in the way of profit. This might sound great to some, but a completely unregulated society is how you end up with oligarchs and rampant toxic capitalists. The 1% would rapidly become the 0.001% and people who are currently considered “middle class” would be pushing the poverty line. All of this so the winning capitalists can have a third gold mansion, a fourth private jet and a fifth divorce.

Should businesses be regulated by the government across the board? Absolutely not. First-time and small business owners should receive as much help from their government as possible, in the form of reduced-interest loans and free business advice.

It’s important to remember in a time where the middle-ground has been obliterated that not all capitalist policies are bad, chances are you’re currently benefitting from many of them. Policies and ideologies only become dangerous when people go full-force with them, without any thought to the ramifications.

However, the people who’ve been rich for several generations, who’ve known nothing but wealth and power, and who pay for think-tanks from “charities” (lobbyists) that advance their agenda — I believe these people should be regulated.

These people have made a certain amount of personal wealth, more than anyone could ever possibly need in ten lifetimes, and they’re still searching for more gold to fill the walls of their cartoonish vaults? These are the exact sorts of people who should have tabs kept on them, who shouldn’t be allowed to influence policy. And yet, they fly under the radar, pay no tax and have had a strong influence over Western leaders since the 1980s.

Now they’re trying to leave their mark on Brexit, and benefit from the chaos of a referendum where people were lied to over what would happen. I don’t hold any anger to anyone who voted for Brexit, just to the lobbyists and the “charities”. Also the politicians and the multi-national businessmen who lined their pockets. They promised the world and a new utopia for Britain, but it now appears as though the people who funded the “Leave” campaign are the same people who’re looking to sell the NHS to the highest bidder, and cease all regulations for the most dangerous men on the planet.

mikesiri

192 days and counting Britain — There’s no deal in sight and if that happens the choices will be:

1. Demand a second referendum, as a no-deal scenario was never part of the agreement to leave the EU.

2. Let the toxic capitalists who backed the “leave campaign” dictate British policy for decades to come.

It’s funny, a lot of people didn’t want to be controlled by the EU — a body made up of thousands of elected citizens — but it looks as though Britain could be controlled by a handful of US and UK businessmen instead. Democracy indeed.


Today is Tuesday, September 18th and it’s less than fifty days until the American midterms. Oh boy here we go again.

Tip My Jar?

If you like what I write and can spare a dollar, then it’d be a greatly appreciated act of kindness! If you like what I write and can’t spare a dollar then I greatly appreciate you! If you hate what I write and also can’t spare a dollar, then why are you still reading this?

$1.00