Sometimes it all smacks me in the head like a sledgehammer. Friday night, Mike and I were walking to the Farmer’s Market in Sugarhouse and it hit me. The vision of it was so striking that I couldn’t speak. Mike was talking, but I didn’t hear him. There they were, piled up and forgotten by Lifestyles 2000. There was a pile of unread and yellowing Wall Street Journals, forgotten and ignored.
I immediately stopped walking. I handed Mike my purse while I fished out my camera. I needed a picture of it. Mike panicked, imagining the brawny and the buff inhabitants of the gym protesting at his wife turned paparazzi. When he saw me bend down to the ground, he quieted. I wasn’t pointing the camera at the exercising minions. I was taking a picture of garbage.
Not just any garbage, mind you. This was weeks’ worth of a newspaper subscription that was never read. The hope and inspiration of the open market was yellowing and untouched in front of the local gym. The vision of it said it all to me.
I remember. I remember when the Dot Com industry was skyrocketing. We placed our bets and hoped the big slot machine back east would pay off. We watched CNN religiously and checked the market on the Internet until 3pm every day. We thought we were investing, but we were gambling. That’s what the stock market is: gambling. Anyone who tells you any differently is lying, even if it’s The Wall Street Journal.
I was only twenty-five years old. Vegas and Wendover held no power over me, but Wall Street struck a core in my bones. I was investing in America and just like our great country, my investments would pay off. Gambling can look like investing if you’re young or a little stupid and I fell for it. I fell right off the cliff for it.
When the Dot Bomb happened, we not only lost our investments, Mike’s income was severely changed for the worse. I worshipped at the great altar of the Computer Industry and I found that my offerings were never eaten. They just rotted and attracted flies and maggots.
A funny thing happened when I stopped worshipping The Wall Street Journal. Things picked up for us. Mike found other avenues for revenue. Web advertising started to pick up again. I started publishing my writing every day without a thought about how much money it would make me. I could be silent no more. It didn’t matter to me whether it was profitable. I had sacrificed to the God of Profitable only to find myself selling my house and using the funds to pay off the IRS. I was finished with Profitable and all I wanted was to tell the world that I survived.
The minute I stopped hoarding my writing, my writing flowed far easier than it had for years. Sure, I’ve had days when I was tired. Sure, there are times when I feel empty. Sure, there are times when I shun the keyboard and the notebook for the video game and sci-fi. On the whole, however, I have been far more productive over this last year than I have in my entire life. I owe it all to abandoning The Wall Street Journal.
Seeing those papers on the sidewalk, yellowed and forgotten by their owner said it all to me. Come here! See the spectacle! See The Fall of The Wall Street Journal! Follow me and enjoy the bliss that I have encountered for the last year! That’s why I had to stop. That’s why I had to pull out my camera like a proud mother or starving paparazzi. I had to share the vision with you.