In an effort to be more patriotic, I’ve recently decided to start spending my personal income in the same increments as our federal government spends its revenues. First I pay off my numerous debt obligations, and then I have a certain amount left to spend.
This leftover amount is what I call my “discretionary spending”. Here’s what it looks like:
The smaller slices pay for my smaller, unimportant expenses, like the power bill, school, food, and rent. I could almost do without those things, as could we all. But do you notice the big blue slice that takes up almost half of the pie? Like our government, for the sake of my own safety, I’ve decided to spend almost half my money on this one thing. I’ve decided to spend almost half my money on…
While typing this blog post, I’m currently surrounded by a squad of heavily armed soldiers securing my house. But don’t worry: they’re part of my very own private paramilitary security force! I just hired them, and they’re only here for my protection. They’re here to keep me safe.
I’ve hired these brave soldiers to equip my house’s perimeter with an electric fence, barbed wire, and pillboxes, from which machine gunners constantly monitor my house and its surroundings. A cluster of land mines has been placed under my driveway, just in case an enemy vehicle tries to penetrate my defenses. My toilets will henceforth be filled with sulfuric acid instead of water, so that no enemy can penetrate me from the sewers. And twenty-four hours a day, a grenadier sits perched on my roof, targeting any planes, helicopters, or birds that may or may not intend to spy on me. The grenadier will blow them to kingdom come before they can penetrate my airspace.
I’m also building a garrison for my personal troops at every single house on the block! The neighbors don’t mind. I need to make sure my neighbors aren’t plotting to kill me, after all, and nothing will deter them more than platoons running tactical exercises on their lawns at midnight, or my generals threatening to take their money unless they follow the guidelines set up by the Homeowner’s Association I run.
Speaking of generals, I really strained my budget and I even went into some debt, but I’m proud to report I was able to hire twenty-six of them to oversee my house’s troops. My girlfriend thinks twenty-six is a little excessive, but fucking generals, right? Generals are awesome!
Here comes one now. His name is General Brock Duderson, and he’s the guy who commands my chimney’s new missile system. He’s usually pretty great. A few minutes ago he told me we received a credible threat that the Arab family down the street is in possession of WMDs, and I didn’t understand what he was waiting for. I just kicked him in the ass and told him to launch everything we had! They were gonna get us if we didn’t get them first!
So my scheming neighbors really do cause me trouble. To further guard against them, I’m equipping my allies to fight terror wherever it rears its ugly head in my neighborhood. Specifically, there’s a small colony of homeless people who live in our forest who’ve always looked up to me, so I gave them all body armor and AK-47s and warned them that if the neighbors start doing anything fishy, they should preemptively attack them. The homeless people seemed thrilled at their sudden good fortune. They’re happy to be working with me.
My garage has been converted into a high-tech intelligence center, and my living room is now outfitted with dozens of security cameras, hanging from the ceiling and walls and poking out of the furniture. I also signed a contract with an arms manufacturer for guns. Lots of guns. And bullets and tanks and combat drones and a fighter jet. The bank almost didn’t loan me the money for this, but when I told them it was necessary to keep my house safe, they understood.
I can’t believe it, but my girlfriend actually asked me if it was necessary for me to be spending so much money on this. DOES SHE NOT SUPPORT MY TROOPS?! Ugh.
Aw, dang it. Now General Duderson is telling me the missile we shot at the Arab family missed its target and destroyed our local hospital instead. And apparently new intel is telling us the Arab family didn’t have any WMDs—we mistook the groceries they had in their minivan for a pile of suicide vests. But oh well, you can’t be right all the time.
Now the General is asking me to authorize a bank account withdrawal so he can have a private jet to fly in, and after all the hard work he just put into that missile launch, I’d say he’s earned it. My girlfriend isn’t too happy that the internet is down and the shower isn’t working, but I keep telling her these domestic expenses she keeps complaining about are absurdly petty.
The best part of this whole experience came last night, when I penetrated my neighbor Bob’s territory and kidnapped him from his bed in the middle of the night. He was screaming and crying when I yanked the burlap sack off his head and he found himself in my basement.
“What do you know?!” I screamed at him. In response he just whimpered and drooled and stuff. “WHAT DO YOU KNOW?!” I screamed even louder. Bob swore he was just living a normal life and begged me to return him to his family, but I knew better. Bob was hiding something.
Bob, you see, is a terrorist. I just know that he is. So I tossed that burlap bag back on his head, poured a pitcher of water into his face, and I wouldn’t let him leave until he admitted he was a terrorist. And what do you know, he did admit it! Later on, the police called me a “psychopath” when I tried to warn them about Bob, but what do they know? Bob’s still in my basement for now. I’m gonna make him sweat.
I was so angry about Bob and the police this morning that I spent an hour or two out back beating up my punching bag, and that’s when my arms manufacturer informed me the fighter jet I ordered just arrived… but it doesn’t work. I told him I didn’t care and to park it in the backyard, then I took out another loan to order a second jet. My arms manufacturer has always been a swell guy, so I was sure he wouldn’t screw up twice in a row. But then he said something completely impudent to me right before he left. He said, “Josh, I’m happy to take your money, but you’re spending twenty times what the other houses in your neighborhood spend on defense. Do you really think you should be spending so much on this?”
Can you believe his audacity?! DOES HE NOT SUPPORT MY TROOPS?! I spun right around and socked him in the face.
As if that weren’t enough, my yelling at him upset the nearby homeless people, who promptly brandished their AK-47s and gleefully opened fire on some of my hedges. I, of course, freaked out, ran to General Duderson, and told him the people we gave guns to were now using them against us. Neither I nor the general could understand why they’d do something like that. No one could possibly have predicted this.
So we launched an ICBM at them. It missed and hit an elementary school. C’est la vie.
And oh, jeez. Problem after problem: my girlfriend just walked into the room and now she’s whining that I liquidated our 401ks to finance the golf course I built in the empty lot next to our house. I keep telling her not to worry, that the golf course is necessary for the cause and that golf will help keep us safe, but apparently she doesn’t think safety is important.
She even remarked that I’m crazy. That no one else in the neighborhood does stuff like this. But you know what? No one else in the neighborhood needs to do stuff like this because of all the money I generously spend on defense on their behalf. Our whole neighborhood is safe because of me!
“Fine,” she responded. “Then why don’t you intervene with the neighborhood bully who beats up kids when they get off the bus every day?” I asked her what I can get out of it and she said nothing, so screw those kids. They can fight their own battles. I’m too busy keeping them safe to keep them safe.
Oh! And this argument reminds me of what happened on Christmas! Christmas was pretty wild this year.
I was really feeling the holiday spirit, so I decorated with camouflage stockings over the fireplace and a mushroom cloud instead of a star on top of the tree. It was pretty romantic, just me and my girlfriend sipping hot cocoa by the fire, the seventeen troops surrounding us guarding each of the room’s possible entry points. I even gave them all Santa hats to wear!
Several dozen of our neighbors gathered on the street in front of our house, brandishing pitchforks and torches, but my soldiers bravely kept them at bay. Goodness knows why the neighbors are so mad at me. It must be their extremist ideologies. They just hate my freedom.
Anyway, my girlfriend opened her biggest present from me, and it was, naturally, a nuke. She flipped out, not in a good way, and pointed out that the dog was throwing up, that we hadn’t had bought any groceries for a month, that she’d developed an infection on her arm from when she accidentally cut herself with a kitchen knife a week ago, and nag, nag, nag. Like I’m actually gonna spend money on fixing any of that crap. I even pointed out that the red of blood and the green of vomit are Christmas colors, but she couldn’t get into the holiday cheer. She just kept asking how I could afford a nuke. I politely explained that the Joneses—a Korean family down the street—just bought a bow and arrows, therefore we needed a nuke and we didn’t have money for frivolous expenses like healthcare.
She was even less thrilled when she opened her next present: a full-fledged marching band. She again called me out on my spending, so I sat her down…
… And I admitted there’s a deeper reason why I’ve been doing all this.
As the fire crackled, the shadows loomed, and the soldiers and marching band stood awkwardly around listening to my story, I explained to my girlfriend that a murderous nutcase had just escaped from the loony bin upstate. It was all over the news, and I can’t believe she didn’t think it was a big deal. Not only had this escaped maniac killed several people in cold blood, but he’s also a hardcore Ancient Egypt enthusiast who runs around dressed like the Egyptian god Isis. They call him the Isis killer.
I explained to my girlfriend that it was very likely I’d be forced to carpet bomb our entire neighborhood soon, just in case the Isis killer is somewhere nearby. I told her that if I hadn’t spent all this money on my private security force, there’d have been a 1000% chance that the Isis killer would have snuck in through a window and slaughtered me, my girlfriend, our pets, our stuffed animals, and any assorted insects and rodents that may exist on our premises. And also the entire rest of the human race. That’s right: the same Isis killer who escaped from a mental asylum five hundred miles away is coming for us—all of us—right now. We’re far less likely to be killed in a car accident or even by cancer than we are to be murdered by the Isis killer, and this one man represents an existential threat to the very survival of the human species.
But before I knew whether I’d convinced my girlfriend, some Chinese guy showed up to repossess our SUV, kind of ruining our Christmas, and our house has been pretty tense ever since.
And oh boy! Speaking of tense, intelligence is just now informing me that two local teenagers are throwing eggs at my house right now! The machine gunners are asking me for permission to engage.
I just told General Duderson to smoke ’em. I actually said that! I feel like such a badass.
And now I’m watching on my monitor and OH SHIT, those two teenagers just ate some lead. There’s blood everywhere! Good riddance, I say. They were clearly bad people.
But now General Duderson is telling me we need to respond to this unprovoked attack with maximum force, to send our neighbors a clear message not to mess with us. I told him to launch a missile, but then he said no. No, we shouldn’t just bomb them. We should invade!
I’m so excited I can barely type fast enough. Hold on, I’m gonna take my laptop outside with me so I can update you on what the general does. Looks like… Oh, wow. Six or seven of our Humvees are converging on my neighbor’s lawn. There’s a helicopter circling above. This must be the house where those egging teenagers lived. And now we’re gonna make their parents pay! Hell yeah! Justice is about to be served!
I’m in my full tactical gear, and I’m moving forward with the soldiers now. My arms manufacturer is here telling me how expensive this will be, but I don’t care. You can’t put a price on safety.
I explain this to him as the troops are placing a breaching charge on the house’s front door, but then one of the soldiers turns to me and says—and he actually did just say this—“Sir, do you really think you should be spending so much money on this?”
What an insubordinate, ungrateful snowflake! “DO YOU NOT SUPPORT MY TROOPS?!” I yelled at him.
He responded even more disrespectfully by saying, “Sir, we literally are your troops. And your money would be much better spent on other—”
I smacked him in the face. I’m the one signing his paycheck, after all, so he has no right to talk back to me. And with an attitude like that, he can sleep on the street when he’s done fighting for all I care.
Anyway, they just detonated the breaching charge and now they’re penetrating the enemy’s territory. Looks like Jack and Mary were just watching TV when we came in, and now they’re screaming and backing into a corner, but I’ve heard that some terrorists watch TV. And since Jack and Mary were also watching TV, that’s enough evidence for me. I knew all along they were terrorists—probably colluding with Bob. I’m sure their kids will grow up to be terrorists too, and I’m sure it’ll have nothing to do with the home invasion my men and I are bravely undertaking right now.
We get Jack and Mary on the ground, handcuff them, and take them to my basement. But now the whole neighborhood’s in an uproar, so I fire off some missiles and level a few houses. The neighbors manage to burn down part of my golf course, but my forces are too strong, and we keep them from penetrating any further into my property. That’s right. No one penetrated me. No one will ever penetrate me. I win.
In the middle of the combat, General Duderson pulls me aside and asks me for a raise so he can buy a yacht for himself, and of course I immediately approve the raise, because General Duderson is doing such a stellar job ridding the neighborhood of my neighbors.
Anyway, after a long night of fighting, the whole block is in shambles around me. Some trees are still on fire, and there are craters and shrapnel everywhere. I think my dog is dead. My girlfriend and I weigh about ninety pounds each because we haven’t eaten in weeks. It looks like my own landmines exploded accidentally and took out a big chunk of my garage.
But you know what? We got the bad guys. We accomplished our mission. And I’m proud. I’m proud to live in my house, and to have defended it with honor and bravery. It was a lot of money to spend, and a lot of people died for no reason, but ultimately, the sacrifices were worth it. Because now, at last, in the middle of this destroyed neighborhood where everyone who’s still alive hates us…
… We’re safe.