Schumi vs Humility

Subtitle: Or Luck vs. Opportunity?

Today’s middle-aged bitter rant with a few self-indulgent anti- and autobiographical tangents meant to challenge the mind’s-eye of the visually impaired has to do with…

Michael Schumacher is finally finished with F1. Gee, (turn on the sarcasm now) … this makes me ask: Why does such an honest, hard working, paradigm setting career have to end? Is it an age thing that makes driving a car difficult? Is Shumi quitting because he’s afraid his family will be mobbed by the German tax authorities like Steffi Graf’s family was? Does this have anything to do with luck losing the fight against opportunity or vice versa for young dreamers of the western world of greed who also would somehow like to make and/or have a standard of living? (Turn off sarcasm now. Maybe.)

Tangent 1

Many years ago, growing up in the suburban-hell that is American’t, the word opportunity meant something. The word luck meant something too. Quickly I realized the biggest difference between the two. Opportunity was/is very expensive. Luck, on the other hand, like belief, was free. But how does one get some luck? You don’t get it, I thought. You wait for it. Right? So. I did what everyone else did. I waited and hoped. Of all the dogma and propaganda shoveled my way, it was my American’t indoctrination that helped me believe one thing: if I couldn’t afford opportunity, and luck was oblivious and mystical but attached to the environment and circumstance you are born in, the only chance of making it in this life was to hang on to luck via hope and in the mean-time get edumacated. Imagine that. I came up with all that by the time I was a vey young adult.

The problem was I came from the atypical broken American low-middle-class home that is the bulwark between various social and racial classes and two-hundred plus years of national lies, civil disabilities, hate, the misinterpretation of the 2nd Amendment and the freedom to be stupid, etc. Like many others in the united mistakes of American’t, I was not only born but also conceived in the realm of negative zero – from which there is no way out even though it is drilled into that whole bullshit about you can be anything or dishwasher to millionaire krapp. Which ain’t such a bad thing until you realize that “zero” in American’t is the same as a deficit. Anywho. With all the anger and frustration that I had accumulated by the time I became an adult, I hated everything that was organized because it involved people who couldn’t get over the elbowing and pushing and shoving that was life in the get-more-than-the-next-guy system. No wonder “I always feel better when fewer people are around” (credit to Charles Bukowski for quote). No wonder, even though I performed, became a willful subject, delivered my worked and showed up for that work on-time, I couldn’t keep a job for any length of time. Growing up in and subjecting oneself to a world of lemmings AND being a job jumper was not a good strategy for a future. If only I could have known all that at around the same time I figured out all that bullshit about opportunity and luck. Anywho.

Retract a bit. One day. Quite late in life. I started reading. In the beginning I absorbed words and text like a fat man at McDonald’s with idiotic freedom fries and pseudo-meat. I especially loved novels from the likes of Dostoevsky, Henry Miller, and reading plays by Sam Shepard and Tennessee Williams, among others. There was also the occasional essay or scientific journal that started to open up my eyes to the corrupted intellectual and political world that was mine. It was an interesting, honest time – on my part – and the reading kept me sane. I remember having something like an epiphany while reading once. It went like this: if you read this, by yourself, learn, it is better than sitting in a class-room with a bunch of mice-dicks throwing elbows at each other and grappling for mice-pussy. So I kept reading until the next epiphany came. It went like this: show … me … the money. (Yes. Long before that film that stole my words.)

Doing the best I could with the cards dealt, I juggled through life with the hope of maybe running into some luck and hopefully earning some money. More than twenty years later, the result of the path I chose is obvious. I recommend this path to no one. Since leaving the nest and trying to ”make-it” I have remained nothing more than a living, breathing, walking, useless eating loser. You know, exactly the label used by the power-elite of American’t when describing their welfare subjects. I have never succeeded at anything I have ever tried to do. My only consolation to having failed so explicitly is that, when I die, at least I can say I tried or at least I had the courage to give it a go on my own without having followed anyone. The other good thing about being what I am is that I have no one to answer to but myself. No. Wait. I meant to say something else. Oh yeah.

Tangent 2

So. What does any of this have to do with M. Schumacher? Well. Continue wasting time with me and I’ll get to that.

I don’t know about you but my guess regarding my disproportionate bad-luck in life could only be due to an anomaly in the space-time continuum disturbing the life-force that I was born with. Wait. Again. I don’t know about you but I was born in the united mistakes and luckily had relatives in Eurowasteland. That meant I could do a bit more than the “American(’t) does Euro(wasteland)pe in two-weeks”. Mix that luck with a little bit of opportunity to earn some money… Shebang, baby. Combine that with being the creative person that I thought I was, which means I can ALMOST see the future, I was excited about leaving the American’t mess where the seed to what is now republican, conservative, bitch-slap economic hell was planted (thanks a lot R. Reagan and all the other idiots that fell for his manipulative lies). Anywho. In the excitement of the moment I read Crime and Punishment in three days waiting for my flight to old country. And guess what? Luck, schmuck, it has turned out to be an extended, nightmare vacation. FYI, I was the one that first wrote the lyrics: why is it that it always rains on me?

I think I’ve really lost my way here. Nomatter.

So. Off to the old country. I believed Luck had found me. Opportunity was a door waiting for me. And I was about to hang out in Eurowasteland where I would work for the man and make money and on the side pursue an alternative lifestyle, a.k.a. read books, write, make theatre and try to be an artist. I worked for American’t consulting companies during the day and earned peanuts and lived in a dump at night. And that was cool. There was even some romance involved. You know, Eurowasteland chicks. And. FYI. What a difference  Eurowasteland chicks are to American’t chicks. You can actually sleep with Eurowasteland chicks and not get caught up in relationship false promises. Cool, eh. Back to subject! But then, as always, reality quickly set in; the cost of opportunity set in. Employers were making demands regarding their commitment to me. Chicks starting turning the corner regarding false promises. Omg. Life is real.

Eventually all the reading, writing and experience I had gathered didn’t help in my quest to afford the heavy burden of the German lie that is Mittelstand life. Now don’t get me wrong. This was an opportunity abroad that I did not have in the united mistakes. But it was opportunity that was/has been redefined with a very short life-span. You see, there just might be something to the idea that each generation chips off so much of the pie that there’s nothing left after two or three scoops. Wait. Wrong metaphor. Anywho. Like everyone that reaches that point in life where dreams have run dry, all that’s left is to live with some kind of living standard that you can call your own. But even then that turns out to be asking for too much. Right? What? More about easy German chicks?

The German good-life that I experienced upon arrival in Eurowasteland was abundant like sand. But like most beaches in the world it is owned by birth and/or nationality. Hence, the final remnants of the Wirtschaftswunder was their luck and not mine. The way things have gone since the old country has been forced to wake up to the realities of economics and coercive politics, I feel bad for those who are born in Germany after the 80s – especially my son. If only I could have realized my dilemma sooner, paid better attention to having seen the future in my past. If only I could have also seen that finally giving in to false relationships was an addition to the nightmare not an addition to the dream… Wait. Stop the presses. We (my brain and I) seriously need to move on.

Tangent 3

This post is almost about M. Schumacher. I promise.

I heard someone say once that everything fashionable and pleasurable comes from Eurowasteland. I don’t know what that means. Long story short: when I finally realized that others were far ahead and I was even further behind (in life), it was too late to change the terrible direction I had chosen. Fate and irony are strange bedfellows, eh. To pass the time in my golden cage of error, I started thinking a lot about Opportunity, Luck, Michael Schumacher and German beer.

There were realities that I had to face after so many years in Eurowasteland. Yeah, talk about being stuck in an ideal. I had invested ten years of my life in Eurowasteland and had nothing to show for it. Going back to the States was not possible because, well, I hadn’t paid my dues there (as the lemmings say) – and there was literally no place to return to. No family who gave a hoot. No relatives who were not also somehow enslaved by the economy or broken lives. No friends that had earned enough to take on an almost starving artist. So what did I have left? Stay the course and be a father – and join the ever growing crew of Eurowasteland welfare, baby! But don’t get me wrong. Of course, there were other reason to stay:

-People take walks. You know they actually say: Come on, let’s go for a walk. It is almost unheard of here to drive two blocks in a car to buy something. (Where I grew up in suburban hell… taking a walk was a strange thing to do. Really.)
-Art means something even though Europe can only display it.
-Nobody is really poor; in contrast, Eurowasteland could never have a Bill Gates.
-Eurowasteland is communism w/out Joseph Stalin – which sounds kind of fun, right?
-People actually have cash and positive bank accounts and are born with the right to three weeks of vacation a year and they, according to how they participate in parliamentary democracies, love to pay taxes because they believe it affords them something on top of their bank accounts – like streets/roads, schools and education and drinking beer and wine at age 16.
-There is a social-collective idea that people need to work for a greater good that benefits the whole and they fail miserably at implementing that because, just like any other democracy, no one here is capable of realizing that it’s all more than just casting a vote and picking an idiot to make decisions for you.
-I wanted to be a father. I didn’t want a family, per se, but I wanted to be there for my son. Etc.

Let me accentuate: what I have just stated is a generalization. As we say in American’t: take it with a grain of sweetened-salt. Such a generalization comes from my experience and observations while living in Germany and traveling around Eurowasteland from 1990 to 1995 – or what I consider to be the last good years and the period where Michael Schumacher becomes God. The mention of communism in my generalizations is a bit tough for me to make. I’m simply saying that, as an American’t, Eurowasteland’s socialism is truly far-fetched. This is quite opposite to the US capitalistic and individualistic system of which I am reared – and actually believe in – but also am quite aware that it doesn’t really exist. In other words, if American’t has bad capitalism then Eurowasteland has even worse socialism.

Ironically, living in Eurowasteland as a failure is like living in a pleasure dome penniless. That’s right. By the early 21st century, I was broke and without any chance of gainful employment. Then and there I started doing what a lot of normal unemployed men did: drinking – and watching F1 on TV. I mean, come on, I was old enough to know when the jig was up. I was pushing forty which made me – remember, I am also a foreigner – unemployable unless the gods so many believe in gave me a PhD. Yeah. No more earning peanuts and living off the laurels of pre-globalization Eurowasteland consumption extravagance funded by the ghost of George Marshall. Wirtschaftswunder, wie?

And Now… z’ Schumi.

So I’m sure you’re saying by now, what the hell does this all have to do with Michael Schumacher? Well, being a self-educated failure has its advantages. One, it allows me to write and manage a web-blog. Whoopee. Two, it allows me to stand on the outside, both far away and close enough, where I can see horizons and sunsets and the beliefs of so many that are the downtrodden. I remember Schumi when he won his first F1 championship for Benetton in 1994. And I remember saying, what a silly racing season that was. To me it was the beginning of the farce that would subsequently be Schumis’ “career”. And I actually like the guy. It was also the time where it became obvious that the only way to have success is if you can buy it – forget all the bullshit about luck vs. opportunity. And that really takes away from the thrill of sports. Or is just me that thinks that way?

I’m sure Michael Schumacher is a pretty good race car driver. But, IMHO, we’ll never really know that. There is no legitimacy to Schumi’s achievements because there is no way to measure what he has done. Am I the only one to notice that there’s a corporate thing going on with certain so-called sporting events? (Sarcasm intended, btw.) On the other hand, I suppose it’s not the same with Tiger Woods or Michael Jordan or, oddly enough ;-), Steffi Graf. And yet, Schumi is worshiped in Germany like a God. As though all he has achieved is, somehow, real. Oh, how the German meek are once again proving how easy it is to mislead an entire nation.

Speaking of Steffi Graf*! As critical as I am of Schumi, I’m twice as critical of his home country. (And don’t worry, I will leave as soon as I can!) Anyone remember how German ”authorities” treated Steffi Graf and her Dad regarding tax evasion? She was/is probably the greatest (statistically?) woman tennis player in history (only earning around $30m, though). Yet, her family was so horribly harassed by ugly and disgusting German civil servants that there were times watching the news I thought I would heave my guts. Or am I the only that gets disgusted how civil servants all think they are somehow doing something worthwhile and therefore not worth the ground they walk on?

Speaking of things fair, great achievers, and failed nation-states. I’d like to elect Horst, the guy who taught me to fish in the Rhine River without getting caught by gaming authorities and thus avoiding the stupid licensing requirements to operate a fishing pole as a great German achiever of the 21st century.

Beer Belly Horst
Fishing Friend Horst

I wonder why it matters to no one that Ferrari (a.k.a Fiat) out-spent all other manufacturers during each season of Schumi’s championship winning streak. I mean, it’s very clear and without argument that some sort of design, engineering and driving “fairness” was part of the circus competition. It’s another question to ask why manufacturers like Mercedes, BMW and Renault couldn’t spend as much. Don’t they want to win? Are they not able to build cars like … Fiat? And is it not as though all these companies are in no way, shape or form subsidized with tax payer money here in the welfare state of Eurowasteland? In the words of the great Walter Sobchak, aka John Goodman, in that kinda famous film where he plays a bowler and is friends with another bowler: Am I wrong?

Is there nothing to warrant questioning after seven boring titles the proverbial machine that is the F1 circus? (Turn cynic on.) Why am I the only one to ask? (Turn off.) Does anyone, other then sponsors and money pushers, take the notorious Bernie Ecclestone serious? Having long since given up on watching sports all my life, its a wonder why F1 hasn’t been categorized up there with American WWF. You now, the sport-entertainment they call rastling. What am I talking about? I must be crazy to question the legitimacy of something that is obviously REAL and natural and not fictional. M. Schumacher.

My favorite subtitle quote of Schumi says it all: statistically the greatest driver the sport has ever seen. Yeah, statistically! But hey, he’s also the first billionaire sportsman in history. And you know what they say: money talks and bullshit walks. Gee, now that Schumi lives in Switzerland I guess that makes him, like, a surreal God hiding out in the mountains far away from those horrible tax agents (think: Steffi Graf’s father). Oh. American’t richness has it’s tax havens. Eurowasteland has its … er wohnt nicht mehr in Deutschland.

But let’s cut to the chase, shall we. The biggest thing that turned me off to Schumi – although I really do like the guy – was all the talk about him being “humble”. You know, from a humble place. For those who think that Schumi comes from a humble beginning, you might want to reconsider – or study-up on Eurowasteland aristocratic history. You can find it on every street corner through out Eurowasteland. It’s even buried behind every counter at every grocery store, every bar/pub, every toilet basin.

Schumi is from a small town just outside of Cologne, Germany. I have been through this town many times. I used to pass through it while cruising the countryside on my Aprilia Mille which I had to practically give away in order to get some cash after Germany and the political geniuses that run the show more or less declared me unemployable in this country. Schumi’s home town is quaint and full of so-called working-class Germans. The houses are nice, the yards are trim and the kids laugh and play and everyone, I mean everyone, enjoys lavish Fernweh vacations because they are born German and their grandparents worked hard and they supply the world with subsidized engineering, cars, bridges, nuclear power plants, Birkenstocks, cars that drive great as long as they dont have any electronics, etc., etc. Did I mention that I failed to make in Germany?

As you drive through Schumi’s town in a westerly direction you will eventually come to the infamous race track dubbed the green-hell. It is the wake made by this race track that motivated Schumi’s father to spend all his extra income, which, of course, would never infringe upon well-earned family vacations, on kart-racing. Oh yeah, the beginnings of the statistically greatest race car driver in the world must be truly, by definition, beyond humble. I mean. Has anyone out there in the western hemisphere that earns a living and struggles to pay to survive ever taken their kid to a go-kart racing track? (I know this is overboard silly but I’m gonna go with it; if you’ve made it this far, wow, congratulations.)

Did you know that go-kart tracks in Germany, since Schumi’s first championship, have actual pagan Gods like Ra and Thor and Artemis that ride around them at night to keep the extravagantly paved surfaces in shape? I mean, what should one do as a lonely parent in a world of such superficiality, such confusion, where nothingness and flakiness rules? What do you do when the kids have the latest computer game and Star Wars action figure and, of course, perfect grades in math? What do you do when your kids always ask: daddy can we do this or can we do that? As a parent I don’t think it’s a good idea to always say no to the little ones. We don’t want children growing up in the 21st century to think that nothing is possible. We don’t want to raise our kids in the 18th century either. At least we don’t want to do that in Eurowasteland. Let the American’ts do that!

So when my son asked me about go-karts, I thought: that’s where Schumi started as a humble F1 driver. With the burden of naivete that has become my trademark, I took my son to the track. I thought: there’s probably not a more humble person in Germany right now than my nine-year-old, born of a failed American’t and a luck-of-the-draw sweet German girl – who lucked out with me. It was a great day to go to the luscious track even though I was financially ruined. It was one of the days where the sun actually shined for more than twenty minutes before breaking into a month long rain spell. But as we walked up to the track, reality set-in: do I pay for this with ”savings” or take a bit out of the college fund – which I hadn’t been able to start yet? Then I thought: credit! Oh, thank you American’t for giving the world plastic credit. (Is plastic credit card an oxymoron?)

Oh no! I thought. It was time to explain to my son that Daddy was a loser and had no money and Shumi’s humble beginnings weren’t so humble and… he could only take two laps. Then I thought: hell, I’m not all that humble; this is socialized Eurowasteland; Eurowasteland is Disney for adults – every fucking day. That’s right! Let’s splurge – like Schumi’s father must have done with him in order to get him to be a great car driver. Or something that at least could make a living in this life. So. Like everything else in the West, let’s redefine history, language, dare I say: morality, and take on some consumer credit and give in to the exuberance so kids don’t grow up thinking about greed and want and gimme and that’s mine and not yours and…

Pause.

In German word for humble is: Bescheidenheit. As in other languages context plays a big role when translating. To say the least, the word Bescheidenheit or Bescheiden could be used a bit more over here so that the Germans understand it.

Schumi’s father was/is a Handwerker. That means he is, compared to other Eurowasteland countries, an over-paid craftsman. This type of work is no indication of Schumi coming from anything I could ever fathom to be humble. Does Schumi come from the super-rich and schmuck world that produces other F1 drivers? No. But I can tell you from my experience living in Germany, although these German craftsmen are probably some of the best in the world, they are simply… outrageously expensive and some of them make an incredible living. Can you say political and economic protectionism? Let me give you an example of how they do it.

As a simple guy having moved to Eurowasteland I was traumatized by a German Handwerker once. My first apartment (or dump) required some repair work. According to German law, the required work had to be done by a certified Handwerker because it was near a gas or an electric line or something like that. Which makes sense. Long story short: Just try paying for a required and certified Handwerker to come fix something that is regulated by some obscure, bureaucratic law. Think of the movie Brazil and Sam Lowry and the infamous rogue and rebellious anti-Handwerker Tuttle. It’s a no-brainer as to why practically all German construction companies are bankrupt and East Europeans come here by the bus load to do all the work. Boy, it’s a good thing that Shumi’s dad took Schumi to the go-kart track, uh. And that Schumi was eventually able to no longer live in Germany, eh. Otherwise the whole Shumi family would be competing with Poles right now for laying a few bricks instead of owning their own mountain in Switzerland. Anyone up for some humble pie?

I’m not trying to be mean here. Life is not easy anymore for the average German born-after, let’s say, 1960. But Schumi came from a family that was by far from anything that could be categorized as below a very high living standard. It should never be said that Schumacher rose up from the bottom or from anything humble because in Germany there is nothing humble – the whole country needs to learn the word Bescheiden. And by the looks of most of the driver’s in F1, I’m sure there is a place, eventually, for someone to come up from the proverbial bottom as soon as the word bottom is redefined.

As bitter as I am for being such a loser in world with so many winners, I will give credit where it’s due. Michael Schumacher made and profited from his doings, which is all that can be expected from people today. I would never be against so much Luck and Opportunity happening to anyone. I just wish that people would start looking for truth in the god’s they put on high pedestals. The achievements of Michael Schumacher should be equated with those who work just as hard because it’s obvious that other F1 drivers do not work as hard as he does. Right? (Can I get a big f’n grin here!) I’m not talking class-fighting here as much as some form of justice and/or respect in all aspects of life – even, believe it or not, outside of F1.

BTW, ”Fair” or Fairness can go fuck itself – they are no longer relevant in a day and age where the playing-field is changed to always fit a ”winner”.

Oh, one last messy thought: Opportunity and Luck will someday begin the weighted process of negotiating a truce to their conflict of self-annihilation. Until then, Schumi and F1 are the personification of that conflict.

Rant on.

-tgs-

*Steffi Graf and her father were literally ambushed by German tax authorities. It was such an embarrassing circus on the daily news that I felt bad for Steffi. No one, I mean no one, deserved the treatment in either the press or by civil servants that she and her family received. I hope she can afford to live the rest of her life away from these sick German civil servants who by-and-large run this country. Fuck them all. Schumi, on the other hand, was smart enough to move away in the nick-of-time. If only I could be so lucky!