Fraud, Extortion, and Other Good Habits

I was recently asked to do calligraphy work on wedding invitations for a family friend. Have I ever done calligraphy? Nope. Can I learn? With the help of the internet, I can learn how to row a boat while speaking Japanese. Here’s hoping Mr. Google doesn’t let me down. Am I perpetuating a fraud? Maybe, but I’m desperate for income and sometimes it means stretching the limits on my “professional artistic ability.” It also involves spending way more time on projects that I’m barely getting paid for. I feel guilty for extorting money…which is probably why I’m poor. Everyone but the trusty 1% is pretty much starving or working shitty jobs to avoid starving or cleaning up after a natural disaster or preparing for the next disaster. And the strain on our incomes and the demands of our bill collectors makes us do things we’d never really imagine. I’m not quite to the desperation of John Q, but I get where he’s coming from. Eventually we encounter than we can handle (despite the adage that God never gives us more than we can bear) and we snap. We yell, we cheat, we steal, we lie, we grossly exaggerate, etc. …all in the name of survival. 

For now, my morals outweigh my urge to hurt or insult my fellow humans but I wonder if a day will come when I care much less… My resolve will disappear and I’ll be left as a shadow.

That said, I’m a believer in hope and often cling to it when I’m hungry and tired of eating ramen and hot dogs. So far, hope hasn’t let me down, but it’s come pretty damn close. I worry that eventually the hope will run out. And then what? Fraud and extortion could be the least of my worries.


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