Things Broke-Ass Loves: The Micro Barter Economy, Part One

One of the things about being broke-ass, obviously, is that you get really, really fucking grouchy. There’s no money for bubkes, never mind anything resembling a treat or legitimate fun. You remember The Shining–and that guy was at a damn resort, not soaking beans in Red Hook. If someone sent Broke-Ass to a haunted resort to write a novel, I can tell you right now that there would be no talk of REDRUM or any other damnable foolishness. Fuck the spooky twins and the dead bartender. Just show me to the jacuzzi, my good man–I can block anything out in a good bath.

Anywho, the point is Broke-Ass, like every other sentient being, needs a little treat, a little fun, or the whole apparatus just caves. In fact, the whole apparatus kind of did cave when Broke-Ass learned that her thyroid had burnt itself out as a measurable result of all the crazy stress to which her life circumstances had subjected it. Not a good scenario in any case, but an even more dire scenario given that Broke-Ass must support her family of five. Above and beyond popping Synthroid, the standard advice is: Get acupuncture, take yoga, get regular massages, go on a date night, take time for yourself. Broke-Ass’ standard, crestfallen response is: No funds.

But as grouchy as Broke-Ass is, she is not foolhardy enough to dismiss the primacy of stress-relief and flat-out pleasure. Indeed, such objectives take on extra primacy when one’s system is perennially on the verge of collapse. So, Broke-Ass came up with an old-school idea: barter services.

Now, this is not an old-school idea to which others in a comparably broke-ass condition have not already decided to practice themselves in this shitbag economy. People are doing it everywhere, and tons of NPR pieces run on it every hour on the hour. All Broke-Ass can say is: It fucking rocks. For example. Back when she was rich, Broke-Ass used to take Kundalini Yoga whenever she damn well pleased. Now, it’s out of the question: The $15 per class ticket is too steep. In the event that Broke-Ass has an extra $15, it goes to buying more dried beans.

So, Broke-Ass’ wonderful friend M., who is a Kundalini yogini and also a certified nutritionist, has offered to give her amazing classes, plus a full analysis and dietary and herbal prescription for adrenal exhaustion in exchange for Broke-Ass’ writing coaching and editing counsel. Awe. Some. I love you, lovely M.!

Broke-Ass is also a coveter of beautiful shoes and boots. Back in the day, Broke-Ass could be spotted in everything from Jimmy Choos to Prada to Rick Owens. Her friends called her the Amish Sex and the City mama. She was so happy then. Today, Broke-Ass smuashes her smudged Dickensian face against shop windows, two lines of tears straining down her cheeks as she gazes at those cracked leather, kick-ass Cydwoq boots. Not for long. Broke-Ass will be writing the Website copy for the store that sells them in exchange for an unreal Ziggy Stardust pair that will fill her heart with love today–she won’t play the game of time! So easy for Broke-Ass, such a relief for the lovely store owners, so much pleasure all around!

And there’s more. Much more. Which Broke-Ass will tell you about later. Right now Broke-Ass has to get back to paying work, so keep those cards and letters coming: brokeassgrouch@gmail.com.

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About brokeassgrouch

I'm goddamned broke and grouchy. I live in the middle of the damned ghetto and raise chickens for eggs; grow all my own vegetables and fruit; bake the bread and make the cleaning products. Why? Because I fucking have to, that's why! That's what you do when you're fucking poor! You have to make the shit yourself, dumb-ass! Broke-Ass Grouch is sick of all you Bennington and RISD trustafarians yapping about your "urban farming co-ops" and your "carbon conscious lifestyle" and your "green choices" in the Times Styles section and every alternapress periodical that you can pick up for free in every eye-wateringly expensive, edgy bakery or green-market. Maybe when you have a trust fund, you can make "choices" or have a "lifestyle" or "decide" how to "spend" your "money." Excuse me, but Mama is just trying to feed her kids over here, you little shits. And stop spraying your art-school graffiti on the fence of the vacant lot across the street from my house. I know who you are, and I'm telling my friend Keith (who lives in the projects) that it was you who painted that cartoon of the African mask. So what can I tell you? I don't fucking know. I know a lot about being broke, sure as Bob's your fucking uncle. I know about how useless an Ivy League degree is when you're flat-ass broke. I know how to unclog a drain with baking soda and vinegar, and I know how to make my own CHEESE, for fuck's sake. You tell me.
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One Response to Things Broke-Ass Loves: The Micro Barter Economy, Part One

  1. glad to meet the grouchy says:

    How about paying my therapist with my jewelry?

    You should compile a list… I think:-)

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