I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

When I quit writing on porn in October of 2007, I had $6,000 in the bank. Now I have $26,000 in credit card debt. I have $10,000 in other debts. And I owe my family about $9,000.

Over the past 18 months, I’ve spent $2000 on Alexander Technique lessons and about $8500 on Alexander Teacher training. I’ve spent about $4,000 on acupuncture and about $2500 on psycho-therapy and about $1800 on physical therapy and about $5,000 on other medical expenses (including health insurance of $300 a month).

I’ve had friends who’ve helped me out over the past two years. One guy I barely knew (I’d just exchanged a couple of terse emails) paypaled me $1100. Others have donated about $200 total. Other friends have steered work my way, allowing me earn about $3,000.

So my biggest source of help over the past two years has come from my family. I’ve never borrowed from them before (but they helped me out considerably during my years in the wilderness of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome).

I feel keenly indebted to my family. I feel closer to them now that I need their help so immediately and viscerally. I feel like this has brought us closer. I walk around feeling gratitude for their help. I want to be extra nice to them. I want to reciprocate their generosity to me.

When I use email to ask them for loans, I make sure it is a good email, correctly spelled and punctuated and fill with lots of chatty news about my life.

I’m going to keep needing their help over the next two years as I come up with $16,000 for Alexander teacher training.

This binds us together.

They’ve never questioned me when I’ve asked for help. I’ve only asked for help when I needed it and they sent it.

I wonder what would happen if there was no welfare. We’d all be more dependent on our families and on our communities. What if I got my health insurance through my shul? We’d all look out for each other and over each other. We wouldn’t want our members to engage in risky behaviors so we could keep our health premiums down. We might sign pledges to not smoke and to not have unprotected anal sex with Haitian males.

What if I depended on my shul for welfare? For loans? For cooked meals during illness?

I’d be less likely to write things that might endanger my relationship with my shul.

A country without welfare would force people to develop closer ties with others and to build up community. If the government is going to help the homeless, I feel less incentive to go volunteer to help the homeless.

If I were to get welfare from the government instead of my family, I’d be less dependent on my family and have less incentive to nurture those relationships.

Welfare undercuts people’s need to bond with others and to treasure family ties and to build up community.

If I were dependent on a wife for getting me through school, I’d be far less likely to cheat on her with some hot young stuff. Sure, the sex would be enticing, but if I depended on her helping me with my tuition before I could get my degree or certification, I’d think twice and thrice before screwing around.

Sometimes, dependency is good.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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