Every bare-bones request I make pertaining to my work at Joe Dirtbag’s farm gets fretted over or sandbagged or discussed to death until, untold months or years later, absolutely no progress has been made and I’m stewing about the inevitable futility of trying to placate a belligerent grand narcissist and the well-intentioned pushovers he’s been intimidating to hell. My personal efforts to clean out that abandoned block of semillon and return it to proper cultural standards have to be coordinated with Joe Dirtbag’s exquisite sense of dictatorship over the operation of the farm, which may or may not agree with the propriety of keeping developed parts of this farm productive at a time when I continue to bankroll it for $15,000. Discussions of paying me for future work have to be coordinated between my dad, who would provide the actual money, and Joe Dirtbag, who would pretend to be the party paying me, but only if he feels like not toying with us and actually delivering the fucking goods for the first time in a decade.
Then there’s the advisory meddling of that fucking Palo Alto accountant. He wants everything to be beyond kosher on my parents’ end, except for the matter of their investments and gifts being pooled to bankroll Joe Dirtbag’s criminal activity, which he apparently considers unfortunate but insoluble. For reasons that I can’t fathom, he has advised my parents against directly paying me for my work at Joe Dirtbag’s farm. He must hear woeful stories every week from pained SWPL whose grown children need trust funds on account of drugs, gambling, Teach for America stints, year six at a bachelor’s program in political science, or Coachella. I’m not goddamn unemployable; I’m just getting screwed over year after year by an asshole who handles accounts receivable in cash or direct deposit but accounts payable in waterlogged firewood and meat that he bought on discount an hour before its code date expired. I limit the total amount of work I do for him because he keeps reverting to antisocial behavior around me and has never paid me a cent. It’s quite simple.
This is the man my dad insists on bringing into the loop of any payroll arrangement. If I’m working for him but being paid for it by someone else who isn’t a borderline-sociopathic narcissist, my payment would be one less thing for him to obstruct for shits and giggles. His involvement in discussions of whether or not I’ll be brought onto payroll, as mandated by state and federal law, is just another opportunity for him to manipulate me and my parents. His hiring me would not be such an opportunity: in the event of workplace safety problems or managerial abuse, I would summarily resign with cause. I can tell the difference between good-faith unpleasantness, bosses who are out of their minds (Mother-in-Law), and gratuitous asshats.
That’s the other thing. There’s this expectation hovering over me that I make some kind of commitment to Joe Dirtbag and to the farm in exchange for my being brought on payroll. That’s totally bogus. This isn’t the Marine Corps on Guadalcanal. It’s a fucking farm job. I’m not in it to be flaky; for one thing, I’m probably the most motivated person on earth about cleaning out the abandoned semillon; but neither am I of a mind to be the martyr on demand for a shithead who insists on throwing his weight around just to show that he can. That would be the purpose of any commitment that I might be cajoled into making. Nothing about his vineyard and winery is labor-intensive, time-sensitive, or crucial enough that someone else couldn’t be found to do it. He isn’t running a dairy. Hell, he can hardly be bothered to make time commitments to his own farm when extraneous scheduling conflicts come up at crunch time. I’m not going to be the last bitch standing for a mess like that. Nor is there a chance in hell that I’ll make any sort of commitment to a man with a history of deliberately committing crimes against me. He’s lucky that I’ve lifted a finger for him over the past four years.
The only people who demand pledges of commitment without articulable, compelling causes are influence-peddling thugs who should be purged from all positions of authority over others. This is the kind of bullshit I expect from MBA wannabes. It shouldn’t even be under consideration. The improvement of my soft workplace skills can happen somewhere else. It already has happened elsewhere. I’m not sticking it out with an abuser. The moment I see an alternative, I’m gone.
My dad has said that Joe Dirtbag and the Family Shrew probably resent me for having the option not to have to work for them, but that I mustn’t breathe a word to them about it. For fuck’s sake. It’s not like they were paying me. There was never any financial argument for my having a thing to do with them. Every time I’ve worked for them I’ve sustained net financial losses. What in holy hell do they expect? Yes, that’s right: I’m a “helper,” in the Shrew’s words. We all had the option of not giving them a combined quarter million-plus in dividend-free investment capital, and they had the option of actually showing financial independence instead of talking about it all the fucking time. I lose money plying a trade for these mooches, and then I have to cater to their proud cracker act while they pretend that my dad didn’t pay for their last car after Joe Dirtbag called him up and whined about money problems.
The bizarre thing is that they’ve bust ass their entire adult lives. To look at how they act now, you’d think that hard work isn’t worth John Nance Garner dumping a bucket of warm piss on your head like a postgame Gatorade shower. They’d probably have quite a bit to show for their hard work if they didn’t keep insisting on being laid low by their own pride. I’ll be damned if I’ll be smeared as the only mooch around here. They’re proud crackers only until proud cracker shtick becomes painful, at which point they go scurrying to the nearest moneyed pushover for tens of thousands of dollars, then they go right back to being proud crackers. Our duty is to stipulate the narrative as it fluctuates. Eastasia has always been at war with Eurasia. That kind of thing. For a couple who have solicited hundreds of thousands of dollars in handouts, they’re sure against accepting handouts.
I just know they’re smearing me behind my back as a flaky trustfunder whenever they feel threatened with exposure or burned by my refusal to submit. If I had evidence of it, I’d go balls to the wall with both of them. What’s actually at stake for them is their quasi-hobby farm. Their primary residence is safe; they have free and clear title. Hard work got them that much, at least. That, and buying low and holding. I’m expected to join the ongoing pity party for these fuckers who own real estate and have rental income and guaranteed federal pension income because they’ve been in danger of losing the farm on account of their absurd irresponsibility. I sleep in my car once or twice a week, so yes, that’s an excellent idea.
The Insurance Schmuck made a very wise point the other day about the possibility of my parents buying out the farm and putting me in charge. I’d be frightened of the burden of being the sole principal operator, but I’d probably be able to cobble together a reliable workforce to fill the gap, and I at least wouldn’t allow troublemakers to take the place over. One thing I’d do without hesitation is to bar Captain Flimflam from the property on pain of arrest for criminal trespass. I’d do something about Psychotarp, too. He means well, unlike Captain Flimflam, but he’s insane. The farm has deteriorated to the point where no one who isn’t a walking dumpster fire would fail to improve it.
Is it financially prudent for my parents to buy out the farm? Probably not. But it’s more prudent than letting Joe Dirtbag keep running fin-dom on them. Somebody needs to bring him to heel and put an end to this horseshit, but we’re the sputtering weenies and he’s the caterwauling prick.
Boomers: it figures that Stephen Spielberg praised returning WWII veterans for raising them.