Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Hi. I'm Hulles (~ pronounced "hull ace") . Hulles is a nickname given me by either my ex-wife Carmen or my kid Cristina, I don't recall. As it says in my profile, I'm an old white guy who lives with a cat. (Actually, I'm not so old, early 50's, but that's 350 years old in blog years!) I have been profoundly depressed for a number of years, and am extremely poor because of it. Poor, like: My electricity is shut off for nonpayment. My cell phone, which is my only phone and which I use for business, has been shut off also. I’m a cigarette smoker, and I’m out of cigarettes, so I’m smoking tobacco from saved butts in a briar pipe. I have $0.35 in change, and that’s all the money I have.

However, this blog is not about “poor me”. I believe I’m one of the luckiest people I know, and I want this to be the “feel-good movie of the year”, except it’s a blog, of course, otherwise you’d be in a dark theater and you couldn’t read this. Plus, I’m not much of a looker, and am much more charming and engaging in HTML than I would be on the silver screen. Trust me.

My intent is to share some of my stories with you, and hopefully get you to laugh both with me and at me as I regale you with tales of how the impecunious among us survive. Besides, recently a friend said to me, “Hulles, those stories you just regaled us with are the same stories you galed us with last week.” So I apparently need a new audience: you.

I also hope that this blog will be enlightening to some of you. Some people live like I do. Some have less, even, right here in America, land of Xtreme Sports on ESPN2. As an example, a couple of months ago I was talking about nearly starving, and being very serious about it. I was appalled to hear the friend I to whom I was speaking say, “Oh, don’t be dramatic, Hulles. People don’t starve in America; that only happens in Third World countries, not here.” No shit, Norman. You need to get out more. Many people in the Third World are starving, but they haven’t managed to corner the market on poverty (which is an interesting metaphor, if you think about it). People do starve here. I nearly did. That’s part of what this blog is about. Believe it. Do something about it, even.

Not only is this book about raw, grim, visceral survival, but it’s also about a disease called depression. This disease, at least as I am acquainted with it, is very unfortunately misnamed. There is a mood called depression, which does not resemble the disease in many ways at all. When you’re depressed, the mood, your friends tell you to snap out of it and try to cheer you up. When you’re depressed, the disease, your friends don’t tell you shit because you don’t leave the house to see them, you don’t call them, and your car doesn’t have any gas and your phone doesn’t work so you can’t see or call them anyway even if you wanted, because you have no money because you can’t work. That, from my perspective, is the difference between depression the mood and depression the disease. I’ll talk more about the disease in this blog, and I hope it will help some of you understand it better, and perhaps encourage some of you with the same disease to get help.

Finally, this blog is about hope. Hope is why poor people buy lottery tickets. I have hope. I can’t buy cigarettes with it, but by damn I’m glad I have it. I think a lot of this shit is funny, in a weird, sort of detached way. I believe that being in survival mode is only temporary, although I do have to say it’s been an awfully long temporary already. And even if it’s not temporary, I’m prepared to continue to survive, and to continue to feel good about the good things in my life. There are many good things. And I ain’t giving up.

And finally finally, this blog is a how-to manual and a survival guide. I have written much of this as advice for a person in exactly the same situation as I am (but somehow younger and more na├»ve, and desperately in need of the precious wisdom that only I can provide). Of course, it’s very unlikely that you, the actual reader, are in anything like my situation. In fact, I don’t know of anyone else in my situation. But at the very least, if you know someone who is, you’ll know what to get them for Christmas. And who knows – you might be in my situation tomorrow. If so, let me know and I’ll teach you the Poor Depressed People's Secret Handshake. And don’t you give up, either.

- Hulles

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