The Ramen Prophesy

I totally called it 10 years ago!

The Guardian: Ramen is displacing tobacco as most popular US prison currency, study finds

The Contract

I’m in the middle of a process that I call the most depressing thing in the world. I’m buying a house. I’d be happy to just pay for the house, but that’s not how a mortgage works. In the end I will have paid enough money for two and a half houses. (That’s more than 2 million Ramen Noodles!) The word “mortgage” begins with the first four letters of the word “mortuary” for a reason. You’ll be paying it off until you’re dead. I’ve signed a paper that says I’ll be dumping my income into a black hole for the next 30 years. Other fees include my firstborn son, my soul, a bucket of pretty pennies, two arms and a leg, and any other expression you can think of that means a lot of money.

Preferred Customer

It all began one quiet, cold morning. I walked out to my car with my glass half full and my stomach half empty. Everything was looking like every other day, except for a little orange ticket that was wedged under my wiper blade and frozen onto my windshield. I studied it for a bit and noticed that “Alternate Parking” was checked. I wasn’t quite sure what this meant, but I went and paid the ticket like a good little boy.

A while later, and a little farther into the winter season, I found another slip attached to my car. This wasn’t a ticket, but a notice explaining the alternate parking city ordinance. Basically, in the winter you park on the even numbered side of the street on the even days. So I began following this as well as I understood it. I soon discovered the wisdom in parking on the side where most of the cars were parked. Genius.

Needless to say, I ended up with another ticket. That was it. I was now determined to never get another parking ticket. From then on, I always checked the date and the house numbers to make sure I was on the right side of the road. This worked until I moved into a new apartment with a parking lot. Pretty sweet, until all the parking spots are taken and you’re left out on the street again. This time I drove up and down the street squinting in the dark to find which was the odd side. I compulsively checked the date several times. No worries this time.

To make a short story long, I got another ticket, was totally confused, drove up and down the street again just to check, was going to call the police to dispute, found on their website they changed the effective date without notice from before midnight to after 2am, emptied my glass to halfway, and paid the ticket like a good little boy.

I’ve now accepted that parking tickets are just a source of income for the police. They pick out random cars to ticket and reap the profits. I am merely a preferred customer.

You are Pre-Approved

If I were a genius, I would design a credit card with no rewards, an account set up fee of $29, a program fee of $95, an annual fee of $48, and a monthly servicing fee of $84. Then I would booger glue a fake credit card onto the paper, call it “WaMu” for whatever reason, and send it to a geek named Josh. That way he would write about it on his blog and my card would be famous.

What’s in my wallet

I keep quite a bit of stuff in my wallet. Not money, typically, but usually stuff like pictures and other memorable items. I say this to those who got an F in Morals class and wouldn’t mind “borrowing” a conveniently lost wallet.

Now to those who wouldn’t steal a fly if it landed in their soup; the only thing of some value that I keep in my wallet would be pretty much my whole life. Meaning, if my wallet somehow turned out to be not in my pocket, my life would be over. My life, in this context, consists of pretty much my life savings, as well as the key to my office, where you can find a beautiful Alienware computer and a camera that’s more expensive than yo momma.

So with this knowledge of what’s in my wallet, and of course my wallet, someone could theoretically steal my money, steal my identity, steal my job, and end my life. Good thing my wallet is ALWAYS in my pocket.

And now I think I’ve made it obvious enough what my next paragraph is about. It’s a very disoriented feeling when the hand thrust into your pocket pulls out nothing but pocket lint. I rechecked my pocket at least 5 or 6 times with diminishing hope each time. I traced my steps through my room, out to my car, and back to my office, which of course I can’t get into without the key that’s in my wallet that’s not where it’s supposed to be. I then called one of my coworkers who let me in, and I found my wallet under a backpack on top of a chair that I haven’t sat in since…well, I really don’t know if I’ve ever sat in that chair. Which is why I’m pretty much clueless as to how it got there.

Currency conversion

Every country needs to have their own currency, and while I don’t quite have my own country (yet) that doesn’t mean I can’t have my own currency. Not owning a country never stopped Monopoly or Chuck E Cheese from creating a money system. My aim is to put a new meaning to the term “currency conversion.” I know people might not be too quick to give up their dollars and euros, but I hope that the masses will see the logic in my system and slowly convert to Ramens.

While coming just short of broke while paying the rent on my apartment, I inevitably learned the value of Ramen noodles. When faced with the choice between a bag of chips or a month’s worth of noodles, I quickly determined that eating to live is much more economical than living to eat. I also discovered that Ramen is one of the only diets where you can pretty much live off of the nickels you find on the ground. So I started using Ramens to gauge how much things are worth. For example, a pack of gum could be worth roughly 4 Ramens. Two scoops of ice cream at Culver’s is worth about 25 Ramens. When we move on to more expensive items like, say, a car, the numbers start getting bigger. A typical small car can cost upwards of 100,000 Ramens. So I created a larger unit of Ramens equal to a year’s worth of noodles. Using Ramen Years, that same car would cost about 760 Ramen Years.

If everyone converted to my currency, it would be so much simpler for everyone. And unlike paper bills, the money would actually be worth something. Maybe if I save up enough Ramens I could finally buy myself that country I’ve been wanting.

Update 8/23/2016: It’s happening!

Identity crisis

Pay day isn’t usually that exciting for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love to earn money. But unlike some people I know, I’m not usually broke by the time pay day comes around. And besides that my check is direct deposited, so it doesn’t really make that much difference. But on Friday when I took a quick look at my pay stub I noticed an “Important Note” in the corner. It said, “Effective this pay period your name has been changed.” I squinted and stared at if for a second. Then I thought, “Well cool, it’s about time I changed my name. I’ve been stuck with ‘Josh’ my whole life.” But then there was the question burning through my skull… Huh? What did they change it to?

Got kelp?

Have you ever noticed that they can sell almost anything on TV as a health supplement? I was just watching a breaking news infomercial that was talking about this new health supplement that can help you lose weight, lower cholesterol, keep you from getting sick, and a long list of other benefits. But it’s not only the latest scientific breakthrough. It’s seaweed. Yeah, you heard me right. They scrape up piles of seaweed, bottle it up and sell it and make loads of money. Genius I tell you, genius.

Illegally blind

Yeah well I managed to fill out my taxes in time so I didn’t have to go to prison and get my head amputated. Besides asking me way too many questions about my non-existent spouse, they also kept begging me to donate money to the Packers. One interesting question they asked me was, “Are you legally blind?” No, actually I’m illegally blind. And after I had filled out their first set of extensively tedious questions, there was a message that said, “Now that we’ve collected your PERSONAL INFORMATION, please tell us about your income.” Now don’t that make ya feel real good about spilling your guts out to the IRS?

Being nice…unsuccessfully

Once upon a time…well okay last night…I went out with some friends to get something to eat. We decided to go to Subway, only to find that they were out of bread. Who woulda thought that Subway would be out of bread? Anyway, next on the list was Pizza Hut so we marched over there. Since I can never make up my mind, I took a vote on what kind of food I should get. I first narrowed it down to everything that has a picture—I gotta see a picture of something before I order it. Well the poll came out unanimous for the Chicken P…Pr…..Prim……um, one of those Italian words that I can never remember how to pronounce. The picture looked good, so I took the challenge and found that it tasted every bit as good as it looked. It filled me up pretty well too.

But then the horror was unleashed, and the war started. The waiter brought us the bill and I raced to get it before anyone else was able to pay for it. I struggled unsuccessfully through the vicious crowd with everybody tearing at my shirt to hold me back, while they tossed around the bill to keep it from me. I lunged, twisted, and dived, desperately trying so fulfill the objective, and I hurled myself without any respect for my own body and managed to grasp the object with my fingertips. I seized the target with every ounce of strength that I could muster, and struggled to free myself from my oppressors. When I had managed to work myself free, I sprinted to the checkout register, threw my hand into my back pocket and pulled out………..nothing. After all the pain and effort of capturing the bill into my custody, not a thing could have saddened me more than to find that I had left my wallet at home. In disbelief, I felt around once more in my pocket for the chance that there was something there, but again found nothing. By this time the mob was already upon me, but there was no longer anything that I could do. They overtook me, and snatched the bill from my hand. I watched in unconceivable horror as they happily paid for my food, and I sunk into a sad pile of misery. It almost hurts sometimes to have such nice friends.