Living With Fear

A few years ago, I was in a real financial bind. I had a job and a regular income, but it was not enough to pay all my bills. So I let a few things slide.

For about six months, I didn’t make any car payments. During that time, my driver’s license also expired and I couldn’t scrape up the cash to get it renewed. Naturally, my car’s registration expired at the same time as my license, so that was another danger. So I lived in fear all the time, driving only when absolutely necessary, to and from work, knowing that at any instant my car could be repossessed, and I’d be left unable to get to work. Or the police could pull me over and bust me for driving without a license or registration — and, again, unable to get to work.

I wasn’t bothering anyone, wasn’t hurting any one. I was just trying to hang on by my fingernails until I could get things under control again, make enough money to get back on the right side of the law. So I kept my head low and did everything I could to avoid official attention — like Bob Dylan wrote, “to live outside the law, you must be honest.”

But one thing differentiated me from these people: I acknowledged that the situation was entirely of my own making, and I didn’t whine about it.

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