How My Brain Works

I give to you, dear reader, insight into how my brain works and why I do what I do. This will not be a cheery post, so if you feel it necessary to preach something otherwise, don’t. This is me and it’s kinda scary for the young and elderly.

First, like alleged criminals who are innocent until proven guilty, in my world, everything sucks until proven adequate. This is why I spend two weeks searching for a decent trash can or demand lower prices on things I don’t think are worth what someone says they are.

For instance, let’s say I want to buy a new couch. My first thought will be, “That should cost $600.” If I go to a store and I look at the couches and see one I like that will match my house, doesn’t feel funny to touch and doesn’t look cheap, I look at the price tag and if it says anything above $600 I immediately think it’s overpriced. “It should not cost that much.” $600 is what I’m going to pay and not a penny more. If it’s less than $600, great, I did well and the capitalist system worked. Otherwise either the sales rep gets the price at or below my price or I walk out. Inevitably, I walk out, call another store, get a price for that couch and walk right back in and say, “Your competitor will sell it to me for $650. Beat that.” I have been known to lie in this process just to get the prices down. Sometimes I just don’t care to call around, especially when I know the markup on something is huge. I’ll just make up a competitor’s price and see what happens.

Second, I do not like spending money. At all. I hate it. Can’t stand it. It’s a deep, visceral sensation within me that can’t justify it. “It’s mine, you can’t have it.” Period. So when I’m forced to pay for things I don’t want to, like car repairs, bills, home supplies like toilet paper or dish detergent, and taxes, all of which I can’t avoid in this world, it pisses me off. I feel like I’ve been robbed and wronged and I’ll do everything I can to save every last penny.

Third, I hate going out to restaurants or any venue where I “pay for entertainment”. I lump them all into the same category because they’re all kinda the same. That’s not to say I never go to restaurants, because I do, but I probably wouldn’t unless someone’s roped me into it. And when I do I will refuse to go to any fast food or franchise restaurant if I can avoid it.

Part of my hatred for paying to go to a restaurant is that I know I’m overpaying. The profits are often too large, which is why I avoid ordering chicken, pasta or salads, because I know they plopped a nickel’s worth of food on my plate and I’m paying $12 for it. Also, I hyper-analyze everything in a restaurant. I won’t eat any place that uses Comic Sans or Papyrus fonts for a logo or on their menu. If the whole place is dark except for a little dim bulb above the table, I don’t like that (bright tables, bright food, please). I hate drinking water at a restaurant, but refuse to pay $2 for a cup of tea, and most restaurants never have sweet tea around here anyway. It’s always an immediate let-down that the one thing I know I want (I don’t drink sodas), they won’t have. Water is just “good enough” because everything else sucks. This is how I inevitably start every meal.

I do not like my servers to have gross hands, particularly dirty fingernails. I can’t stand that and any server reading this that dares to serve me with dirty hands will not get a tip. Period. I do not like that appetizers and desserts cost as much or more than an entree. An entire meal should be doable for $13, including the tip. Again, I’ve set a standard and any deviation from that is either overpaying or unsatisfactory. You can price it at whatever you want, just don’t expect me to like it or come back. I get irritated when I have to figure out which receipt is mine to keep and the one I have to sign, too. It’s never made clear and always results in more thought than it deserves. Please god, someone put “SIGN THIS FUCKING COPY AND LEAVE IT ON THE TABLE” in big red letters on the piece of paper you want me to sign for you. Everything else is just garbage, so don’t put it in the little black book with the pen. Plus, when you put the pen inside, it doesn’t close. Why in 2011 has someone not invented a black cover for receipts and cards that can also adequately hold a pen while maintaining a closed position?

And paying for entertainment, like at a bar or casino or club, movie etc, just seems dumb to me. In the last five years I’ve seen maybe 4 or 5 movies. About one a year. And every time I leave thinking, “I should have just waited for this to come out on Netflix.” I have not, nor will I ever, go to a casino. “Spending money is supposed to be fun” is not and will not ever been enjoyable to me. Ever. Stop asking me to go to a casino. Casinos are tax holes for stupid people who can’t do math. Bars and clubs are absolutely ridiculous, too. “Let’s go someplace loud, obnoxious, pretentious and drink tiny watered-down cups of over priced alcohol with a bunch of other horny drunks!” That is a bar, I do not care what you think of bars, but that’s what they are. At least the ones, ahem, in my community. All other bars are dank pits of despair.

Lastly, I find that I do not like most people (not all, but most. If I like you, you probably know it). This is probably why I’m of a Libertarian bent. For instance, if someone tells me about a 15 year old girl who got pregnant I think, “That sucks.” But suddenly I’m too feel guilty about this and, according to Liberals I am to spend money to help this person who did something completely within her control not to do. This involves spending my money, and as you’ve read, I don’t like that. According to Conservatives, I’m supposes to preach some churchy thing. This is also retarded, as I think religion is designed for superstitious old ladies and men who are complete pussies. I prefer the, “That sucks, now leave me alone.” route. It suits me fine.

“But Justin, what if something happens to you someday and you need support? Like what if you fall off your bike and get hurt?” My response has always been: I hope I land hard so that it removes me instantly and this doesn’t become anyone’s problem.

And this is why I absolutely hate what I have become. “To change” would be like becoming an entirely different person, which would be me living like someone else, which is not what one is supposed to do. Or, at best, I convert into something else, which is entirely impossible. “You there with the cheery deamnor, how about you not do that for a while?” See how ridiculous that seems in the inverse?

So I mill about, detesting everything, nitpicking everything and loathing everything I hear or am required to do by outside forces beyond my control. Everything sucks and then you die.

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Photo of Justin Harter


Justin has been around the Internet long enough to remember when people started saying “content is king”.

He has worked for some of Indiana’s largest companies, state government, taught college-level courses, and about 1.1M people see his work every year.

You’ll probably see him around Indianapolis on a bicycle.

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