Muhammad Ali was awesome. I’m a spoiled douche.
by Matt Rudnitsky
I’m writing in 75-degree Prague weather in our co-working space’s manicured-grass garden, looking at the villa with food, beer, espresso, desks, and awesome people inside.
I grew up in suburban New York to two loving parents who are still healthy. If I had money troubles, my parents would buy me a plane ticket tomorrow, make my bed and feed me until I burst Matzah ball soup.
I’m white. I’m convinced I am the luckiest person/most-spoiled piece-of-shit in world history.
My parents could have been super-rich. I’d probably be an entitled douche. I could have been taller or better looking. I’d probably be an entitled douche. I could have the world’s largest penis. I’d probably be a celibate douche.
I had just enough not going for me that I didn’t become an entitled douche. (I don’t think.) Yet I can’t think of anything I would have changed if I were trying to set someone up for a happy life.
So when I sit in manicured foreign grass writing words because I like to, I start to feel like an entitled douche. But I didn’t choose to be born, or how.
All I did was emerge from a vagina.
Would you emerge beneath a Victorian queen, a mother with Zika, or Genghis Khan’s baby-momma number 476?
I won the vaginal lottery. Who bought me a ticket? Gross.
Muhammad Ali lost the lottery, though he didn’t buy a ticket either. And he died yesterday.
“The Greatest” once said, “The Service you do for others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.”
Us white dudes inherited a Greenwich village penthouse stocked with decades of free food. We should pay hefty rent.
I want to contribute more rent. But most Americans think rent is paid in hours suffering, usually sitting at a desk, producing little, hating life.
When I lived in Copenhagen, people would take off work to drink beer with friends by the bridge most days the weather was nice. Guilt-free. Their median income is higher than the US’s, and they’re consistently rated the happiest country on Earth.
Whatever. I’m not talking politics.
My point is, you can make an impact without tethering yourself to a desk 24-hours a day. Hence why I don’t feel guilty joining Remote Year.
Ali was born with a mountain to climb. He had to suffer to get to the peak, where he could contribute.
I was born atop the mountain. You were probably born close. I’m lucky and grateful.
Ali’s suffering was noble and magnified his impact.
A white dude’s struggle is useless. Unnecessary suffering, like staying in a dead-end job, isn’t noble or inspiring. All it does is kill you so you can’t contribute and pay your rent.
If you ever see me complain, punch me in the penis. This took me hours and you’ll forget it tomorrow. Fuck my life!
It breaks my heart when I see lottery winners unhappy. They’ve been bred since birth to be cogs in a machine. It’s unnecessary bullshit. Work hard and you’ll be successful. Sure. But real work isn’t measured in hours suffering. It’s measured in output that has an impact on people.
But that doesn’t mean everyone has to be Gandhi.
I have a friend in Africa right now helping people get clean water. She’s paying more rent than me and it’s inspiring. Maybe I’ll do something like that one day.
But it’s not for me right now. I’m weak. But right this moment, this self-indulgent blog post is my rent. It will make me a better writer, and less weak, and one day my words might help people. Or at least make them chuckle. What if I just wrote the word … pickletits?
I’m trying. Trajectory matters.
I’m not getting drunk by the bridge all day, or most days. But I am some days.
We can’t all move to Africa or be Muhammad Ali. But we can realize we’re at the top of the mountain and smile at each other.
Smiling at someone on the street is equivalent rent to smiling at someone on the street with an 80-pound vest on your back. Take a load off. You’re luckier than almost anyone ever born.
Or maybe I’m just trying to feel less guilty. It’s good to feel guilty. It makes me want to make a dent. I’m 24 and dumb.
Barack Obama says, “The rest of my time will be more productive if you give me my workout time.” Productive struggle is good. So is getting drunk by the bridge. You don’t have to earn the right to having a clear head.
If you won the lottery like me, you don’t have to struggle like Muhammad Ali. If you’re a lucky white dude like me, do things you want that don’t hurt people. Otherwise it’s like spending your lottery winnings on Jets season tickets.
I was born a Jets fan.