Random Thoughts #7: Abundance, Taxes and Mongol Hordes

December 6, 2021

There comes a time each winter when the days are short, the wind is sharp, and I feel bored as hell.

It could be the dark, or a lack of Vitamin D.

But my lizard brain always thinks it’s something more.

I start to question all my life decisions.

My birthday being towards the end of the year doesn’t help. I’m one year older, a bit closer to death, as each new year approaches.

“You’re wasting your life”, a voice in my head whispers, as I look sadly at the shelves of detergent at the supermarket. “You have no home. And nobody cares about you.”

I try to focus. Look at all that detergent. Aren’t we lucky to live in a world of such abundance? Bleaching! Color enhancing! White clothes! Black clothes! pH neutral and eco-friendly!

el nacional barcelona

In a second, though, the voice is back.

“You’re a tiny, disposable cog in a civilization-sized machine that’s hurtling towards oblivion.” (Imagine it in a sarcastic stage whisper.) “You’re going to die in a gulag, your body will be made into artificial food pellets for entitled Gen-Z babies, and they’ll use the calories to erect public monuments to Taylor Swift!”

“SHUT UP, INNER VOICE!” I say, hopefully not out loud.

Then I choose the color-enhancing detergent and head home.

If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet

One thing on my mind: taxes.

Since I fired my boss and went full-time as a writer, actually, taxes are on my mind a lot.

Steinbeck and Hemingway never mentioned this, as far as I know, but being a self-employed expat is a bitch. Maybe things were different in 1920s Paris, but I’ve got an accountant in Spain, another in the US, and bills coming out my ass. The IRS has a helpline, but if I call it the robot says all lines are busy, and hangs up on me.

As a result, I’m on Investopedia and Infoautónomos 28 times a month, looking for answers to my pressing questions about deductions, inflation, and the time value of money.

Then I get on Excel and plug numbers into spreadsheets. Cash flow projections, invoices, income statements.

It is, in a word, boring as fuck.

Although I assume if I’d kept my job at Safeway back in Arizona, I’d probably be just as bored.

(Who am I kidding? I quit Safeway, but they would have fired me anyway… I’m not a Safeway-caliber human being. Maybe 7-Eleven caliber, tops.)

One thing I’ve learned the last few years: you can achieve your biggest goals, but you don’t get away from having “problems”.

You’re gonna have to struggle for something. At least try to make it something meaningful.

Or, as Mark Manson says, “What’s your favorite flavor of shit sandwich?”

Barbarians, monsters, and Mongol hordes

Another thing on my mind?

Well, like I said before… the impending collapse of Western Civilization.

The barbarians are at the gates, and we’re debating what gender pronouns to use when referring to them. Don’t wanna offend the barbarians, after all.

Think of those historically oppressed minorities like the Huns and the Mongol hordes before you just use pronouns willy-nilly, you monster.

(Although technically, I should apologize. The word “monster” is, as they say, deeply problematic. Many members of the monster community, in fact, were historically oppressed, just like the Mongols. All that time hiding in little kids’ closets and under their beds. It’s apartheid, basically.)

Listen, people: love always wins. If the Volga Bulgarians had responded to Genghis Khan with hugs, rather than by putting up walls, he surely wouldn’t have massacred them.

But Genghis was facing systemic discrimination, and logically, he was hurt. What choice did he have?

Sorry, I meant to say: “What choice did ze have?”

I hear ze was fully-vaccinated, too. And practiced a lot of social distancing, out there on the steppe. A good guy – uh, human – all around.

gehghis khan photo
Genghis Khan, photo by William Cho, Creative Commons 2.0.

And in case you’re wondering, my pronouns are thou, thee, thine.

En fin…

I’ve got a lot more on my mind, of course.

The fact that I’m almost 40, and therefore halfway through my statistical life expectancy, is definitely giving me some things to contemplate.

And I was thinking about writing more about it, but my article on getting old still expresses more or less how I feel about that. Honestly, it’s not that bad. I’m a bit stiff in the knees when I wake up, some mornings. But otherwise healthy and doing fine.

So don’t worry too much about me, your humble narrator.

I don’t feel great about things today. But I probably just need some Vitamin D. Brain chemistry rules everything around me, as the Wu Tang says.

Anyway, I hope you’re having a good day, wherever you are.

Enjoy the abundance!

‘Cause civilization could end tomorrow.

Thoughtfully yours,

Mr Chorizo (AKA Mr Daniel).

P.S. If you liked this article, you might like some of my other Random Thoughts articles. For example, here’s one about the controversial but highly popular President of the Madrid Community, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, as well as the demise of Pablo Iglesias. And over here you’ve got a bit about “Anti-Capitalism”, Afghanistan and more. Have fun!

P.P.S. Update, 2023: Since writing this, I actually had a little tax inspection from the good folks at Hacienda. It’s fine, I survived. But it definitely kept taxes at the top of my mind for half a year. I also turned 40, and it was kind of a bigger deal than I thought it was going to be. Oh well.

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About the Author Daniel

How did I end up in Spain? Why am I still here almost 20 years later? Excellent questions. With no good answer... Anyway, at some point I became a blogger, bestselling author and contributor to Lonely Planet. So there's that. Drop me a line, I'm happy to hear from you.

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  1. A lot of people don’t make it to 40.
    There is no such thing as a waste of life. I channel my cat’s thought process.
    “My next meal will always be my favorite…ever”

    You can’t believe how jealous I am that you can get jamon and vermut whenever you want. They just don’t sell that stuff here in the states.

    keep laughin’
    MAC

    1. Hey Mike / Mac, thanks for commenting! Do they not have some sort of vermouth over in the US, like a Cinzano or something? I heard they were going to start letting jamón in, too, but it might be $200 a pound or something… Have a good one!

  2. I find jamon serrano sometimes in different types of stores, of course I buy it immediately. Cosco sometimes sells whole jamon Iberico, and whenever my daughter sees it, she buys one and her family loves it, even though her husband is from Wisconsin, a true American. The one thing I eat a lot of when I go to Spain is Morcilla, that I cannot find here. There is a store called La Tienda which sells all thing Spain. Chorizo from Spain I also find sometimes, which means I buy immediately, especially when I visit my uncle in New York. When I lived in Brooklyn in the 50/60s we used to go to a store in 14th St, the owners where from Spain. I love my memories of food in Spain, the arome caming out of the buildings at lunch time.

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