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To say things have been easy lately would to be guilty of a gross misstatement of truth.

It's hard to remember a time when things were easy, isn't it? Kind of like dim memories of shag carpet and Star Wars toys being unwrapped and throw pillows and white vinyl couches. And Mommy and Daddy got you anything you could want, and if they didn't, you just howled and screamed until they got the message. And if that didn't work, well then, you just became a miserable bastard, projecting vibes of pure guilt and misery everywhere until they caved to your young will.

When you're 25, however, the howling and screaming and melancholy get old real quick.

It's amazing, though, how many people still try the guilt-trip routine. Lord knows I still try and get away with it. "Dad, PLEASE..." You'd think a 25-year-old with a master's degree would have more pride, but no. Not at all. Not when it comes to a taste of the green, dollars and deutschmarks in my pocket. I'll pull out the stops. "PLEEEEASE...I need it!"

Some people bust their ass for money. I whine.

Or, at least, I used to.

I know, I know, it's like me quitting smoking. Which, by the way, I have done for 10 days now (pat pat pat). But regardless. Okay, here's what I'm really trying to say, instead of talking about money...

Who is willing to take responsibility for themselves?

I mean, aside from our oversexed president (and then only after being subpeonaed).

Who is willing to honestly take control of their own lives? True, we can't exist in a vacuum, and of course outside forces influence us. But honestly, who can truly take responsibility for everything they are responsible for?

(Did that make sense? Uh...)

I'm going to do my darndest. There's this wonderful scene in The Godfather (the book, not the movie) where Michael explains to Kay why his father does what he does: because he doesn't trust the people in power to do what is in his best interests. Now, as romantic and alluring the concept of controlling a Mafia family is, I don't have the connections or the melanin. But I hear what Michael's saying. The only person you can trust with your well-being is yourself.

And no amount of screaming and howling will make the world make sense. It won't change anything, except to rapidly annoy those around you. Sometimes you just have to dry your eyes, swallow your pride, take a deep breath, and do it yourself.

And then sneak into your parents' closet to find out if you got the Snowspeeder for Hannukah.

-- sjc