Thursday, October 2, 2008

For want of a nail.

For decades now, experts from all walks have provided sage wisdom about the need to save for my declining years. We no longer live in a word of services, they've told me. We live in a world of ownership. It is not enough to save. You must invest. And this can sometimes be hard to hear — because although it's hard to argue against saving for one's old age, your average hard-sf author is generally lucky to have enough cash saved up at any given time to keep going for just the next year. Being told that you have to take that cushion and invest it — that you must hack your life-support horizon down to two or three months and put everything else into an untouchable account to grow and mature while you just kinda hope that the Russians aren't lying to you about the money for next month's groceries being in the mail, and that Tor will only withhold 70% of the royalties they owe you rather than the 100% they kept last cycle — well, it's a bit scary. It's Dumpster Daring is what it is, and the Dumpster is not easily mocked. And given that conventional economics seems founded on premises so absurd you wouldn't even find them in the AD&D Monstrous Compendium (endless growth from a finite-resource base? Value-added information?), you gotta wonder if — given the luck of the average hard-sf writer — the whole house of cards might not collapse the day after you bit the bullet and trusted your life's savings to the Wisdom of the Market.

So my response to all this well-meaning advice, only half-joking, is that my RRSP is contingent not upon maximizing my own wealth, but upon the catastrophic elimination of everyone else's. My retirement plan is to wait until the financial apocalypse levels the playing field between the haves and have-nots, then head out to search the rubble for tinned goods wielding the archetypal Treehouse-of-Horror "board with a nail in it". I'm taller than most, with a longer reach. I exercise. I've already got the board, and enough generalized anger stored up to use the fucker at the slightest excuse. (I've also got an investment account at e-trade, but I have never made a single transaction with it; it's just a place to park my cash where the Revenue-Canada tapeworms can't feed off it.)

That was my plan. As I say, conjured partly in jest. But if y'all look around the current economic and political landscape this week, you might agree that all that writing about the future may have actually stood me in good stead for once.

Now all I need is a big, rusty nail.


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OpenID bec-87rb said...

Hahahahahaha. Every time I think I gotta take this blog off my Tabbing Cycle ...

Question: Wherefore the procrastination on your plan? I can't stop picturing you as one of those tough knotty short guys for some reason - possibly your elbows-out style - but if you're a big guy, and you have the board, why wait?

Why not go out tonight to the dumpsters and start rumaging? Why not crack a few heads and start taking Other People's Stuff now? If you wait until civilization falls, you can never be sure who has the good stuff, who has the canned Spam or the stock of good shoes or the duct tape or the cache of bottled water. If you start cracking heads now, you can tell easily. You can stockpile some items if you start now.

Also, you can more safely eat the brains you liberate. Once civilization falls, mass cannibalism will set in, as well as less pickiness about the health of the meat, so K-J and BSE and the like are going to be more wide-spread, endangering your supply of fresh lipid-rich sweetmeats.

Several times I has been po', and may I assure you, good sir, that dumpster-diving is an honorable and eco-friendly hobby. You probably don't even need the board, just a friend to watch for the cops, and some sturdy bags for to haul the booty.

A not-too-nice and not-too-crappy car is even better, in case you find something too large to haul zu Fuss. Might wanna line the seat or hatch with plastic tarp or layers of garbage bags first, though.

Last Question - I have to ask you yet again to please please post more boringly, or less often? I have end-of-fy sh*t to do over here. *laugh*

October 2, 2008 4:38 PM  
Blogger Madeline Ashby said...

It could be worse. There could be hyper-sequestering perennials.

October 2, 2008 7:26 PM  
Blogger Kisama said...

You sound like me. I've got money invested my zombie bag! Come the inevitable screaming end of humanity, I'll be one of the "lucky" ones with handgun in one fist and compass in the other. Follow me to Canada where zombies will freeze and we shall carve out our utopia.

October 2, 2008 9:42 PM  
Blogger D said...

I also have a rough approximation of a zombie bug-out bag....
and a box of oversized deck nails in the toolbox upstairs.
You should know by now, I usually bring enough for two or three.
Target practice?

October 3, 2008 12:15 AM  
OpenID calculated-loss said...

Lot of zombie hate here. They've just as much if not more a right to brains since they can't control themselves. Besides, everyone knows zombies don't die from freezing. No one ever suggest simply joining the killing masses. What's up with that?

October 4, 2008 4:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Watts said...

bec-87rb said...

…if you're a big guy, and you have the board, why wait?

Because as long as the societal infrastructure remains in place, there will be cops. And those guys are armed, and there's a fucking lot of them, and Toronto cops are amongst the three or four most notoriously corrupt forces on the continent. When they're not beating the shit out of homeless people or arresting/assaulting/charging innocent Jamacians outside 7-Elevens, they're shaking down the owners of local restaurants to pay off their debts to organised crime, or shadowing any city council member with leftish tendencies. Oh, and bellowing with outrage when anyone proposes the installation of cameras in their cars to record their activities.

Nah, you want to wait until the badge confers a bit less immunity. You want to wait until the field levels just a wee bit.

October 10, 2008 11:14 AM  

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