Bar Exam

I suppose it is not saying too much of my aspirations when my dream in life is to be able to get paid to paint, write and drink – not necessarily in that order. My high school guidance counselor in collusion with my father conspired to direct me into the life of a certified public accountant. Yeah, right! I do have a penchant for numbers, but I am not good at it. I mean, I love Sudoku, but don’t ask me to balance a checkbook. I can add the same column of figures five times in a row, and come up with a different answer each time. Yeah, that is a talent, just not a very marketable one. This is why I swear by Microsoft Excel. And no, I am not getting paid for the plug. But I live and die by Excel. I set up a worksheet to balance my checking account. It automatically adds and subtracts and gives me the balance; the only caveat being that I do have to input the correct numbers.

I sucked at the accounting classes I took in high school when we jumped from Sole Proprietorships to Partnerships and Corporations. It is not that I didn’t understand the concept, I had that down pat. It was the actual practice of adding columns of numbers on my cheap-ass non-Texas Instruments calculator. My family was of modest financial means. The other kids in the class all had their own adding machines with the paper tape to record the input. The paper record made it easy for them to double check their math. I never could touch type, let alone add on an adding machine without looking where my fingers were. None of my numbers ever added up the same two times in a row, which led to an insane amount of frustration and finally a vengeful hatred of anything mathematically related.

If they had had QuickBooks back in 1979, I might today be stuck behind a desk crunching numbers and then drinking myself into oblivion at the yuppified neighborhood bar every night after work. But there would be no paintngs, no prose, just boring conversations with other accountants about Accrued Expenditures and Accumulated Depreciation; our tips to the bartenders would be exactly 15% of the total bar tab divided equally among the group…

Instead I followed a circuitous and convoluted route to where I am today – a member of the working poor, somewhat articulate, and wishing I had enough money to be sitting at the bar in the evening discussing Accrued Expenditures and Accumulated Depreciation. Well not really. I prefer to discuss politics and religion at the bar, simply because those topics seem to piss everybody off .

I doubt that I will ever get rich following my dreams. I am not sniveling; after all I made the choices. I have never been one to chase after the dollar – most wealthy people I know are miserable. They struggle to figure out new ways to clutch onto their possessions, and are jealous of anyone else that would attain what they already have. Would I love to win the lottery and be set for life? Sure thing, but I am certain that I would cut decades off my life were I to have such wealth thrust upon me. But the lottery is such a long-shot, anyway. First of all, you have to buy the lottery tickets. I am too cheap to do that.

I suppose I will have to be satisfied working my 8-5 job that allows me my creativity and ensures a regular paycheck, some of which I will blow at the local dives and privately owned establishments, after all there are far worse stations in life.

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