I’ve been losing sleep. I don’t think I’m particularly special in that regard, I think everyone has been losing sleep these days. A global pandemic tends to do that to people. Yet the thing that has been keeping me awake isn’t the virus. I’ve been losing sleep over an old couch I once crossed paths with.
It’s been eight years, I want to believe that I’ve put the past behind me, but being locked in a house for a couple of weeks has made it impossible to not dwell on the past. The memory of the couch started off as a fleeting thought over my morning coffee, but as days have turned into weeks that memory has grown into a distinct vision of madness. What I saw during those three drunken nights in December of 2012 has become an unavoidable part of reality. I can’t rest until I process it.
So since we have a nice little Internet campfire going here I figured I would tell you guys a story. Hopefully it will let me put this whole part of my past to rest and maybe it will take your mind off of what is happening outside. So kick back and let me tell you a tale of love and loss, of broken teenage hearts, of surviving in a crumbling world. Let me tell you a story about the couch that tried to seduce me.
I was nineteen, hung-over and heartbroken. I was also stuck in a foreign country. Well, to call Estonia a foreign country would be a bit of a long shot, I had lived there for a good five years of my life. It was in Estonia that I lived out most of my teenage years. This was where I had smoked my first cigarette, had my first drink, fell in love for the first time. I was dragged in when I was thirteen by my parents; they had business in Tallinn and wherever they went I went. At eighteen, when my parent’s contracts ran out, I was forced back home. Their business with Estonia was done. Mine was not. By nineteen I was back.
As soon as I got off the plane I turned my phone on and checked my messages. She didn’t write to me. My soul, positioned somewhere slightly above my abdomen, twitched in discomfort. It was a familiar twitch, I had felt it in the bus to the airport, I had felt it in the security check, I had felt it when I boarded the flight to Tallinn and as soon as I got off the plane the twitch was back with a vengeance. The discomfort I was feeling in my chest was a realization. It was the realization that I had emptied out most of my already slim bank account on a one-way ticket halfway across the continent to see my old high-school sweetheart who wasn’t interested in seeing me. It was the realization that as much as I consciously knew the trip was a bad idea, I couldn’t resist going. I dragged my feet towards the arrivals hall.
When it became obvious that Saale was dodging my messages I panicked. There was no place for me to crash, I had no money for a flight, hell, I had no money for food. As I boarded the plane to Estonia I sent off a panicked text message to my old band-mate: ‘Made horrible mistake. Landing in Tallinn in three hours. Can I crash at yours?’ Within two minutes there was a reply: ‘OK. Will come with Maarja. See you soon.’ Karl wasn’t very chatty, but he was always there when needed.
The two of them were waiting for me as soon as I walked out into the arrival hall. They barely changed. Karl was still a giant of man. His long hair had gotten longer and the beard he had rocked since seventeen had gotten thicker, the guy looked like Jesus on steroids if Jesus was really into heavy metal and wore glasses. Next to Karl stood Maarja, she wore a garish yellow coat. The pink streak in her hair she’d been so proud of back in middle school was pinker than ever.
“JAAMEEES! YOU’RE BACK!” Maarja yelled in her high-pitched faux-English accent before nearly tackling me to the ground. “It’s been too long honey! Too long!” She hadn’t changed a bit since I left the country. Maarja was still a pint-sized bolt of energy. The two of them made for an odd couple.
“Welcome back, Friend,” Karl said after Maarja was done squeezing me. He wasn’t one for physical contact, Karl settled on a simple pat on the shoulder that challenged my entire skeletal structure. The three of us made our way outside to catch a bus to the center. Even after living in Estonia for five years I still wasn’t used to the winters. As soon as we walked out into the sub-zero temperature I felt decidedly like a foreigner.
We caught up on the small things while we waited for the bus. Karl and Maarja had officially moved in together, the band that Karl and me started up in high-school had broken up, Maarja was in the process of getting a bachelors degree of psychology and Karl was really into some crypto-currency stuff that went completely over my head. I couldn’t get much out of me; the cold was taking a real toll on my system. Whenever I opened my mouth to talk about my miserable little life I simply ended up chattering my teeth. As soon as we got on the bus I threw myself at the nearest heating vent.
“So, James,” Maarja said as soon as we got on the bus, “You still talk to Saale?” When I turned away from the heater to face her she froze, “I mean, we don’t have to talk about, forget I asked.”
“Do I look that bad?”
While Maarja searched for a diplomatic answer Karl stepped in with his special brand of honesty, “You look very tired and unhappy.”
“Well, I am happy to see you guys and I am excited to be here, but, yeah,” I decided to get the conversation out of the way, “We tried two months of long-distance, but Skype only gets you so far. Broke up in late July. After we split we agreed to not talk for a couple of months, to give each other some time to clear the system and all that. Keeping radio silence was hard at first but after a couple of weeks I started to get used to it. I was learning to live without her. Things were starting to straighten up, I even took a stab at dating but when the holidays rolled around the loneliness came back. On Christmas I figured I’d throw Saale a holiday message. She wrote back. We started chatting on a daily basis.”
The bus bounced through my old neighborhood. Memories of my drunken youth jumped at me from every corner, most of those memories involved Saale. “Last night we got pretty drunk,” I continued, “Things got flirty. We started talking about what we would do if we weren’t half a continent away from each other. She mentioned her parents were out of town until the end of January on some sort of an anniversary trip. I offered to fly in. She told me I should. Now I’m here.”
“She changed her mind?” Karl asked.
“She didn’t think I was serious about flying over. Didn’t exactly check with her before I bought the ticket. She flipped out when I got it, told me to get a refund and then hung up on me when I insisted on meeting up. She hasn’t answered any of my messages since.” A part of me felt good to get the story out of my system but saying it out loud just added to the absurdity. I could have not bought the ticket, I could have gotten a refund, I could have not gotten on that plane. Everything could have been avoided, but nineteen year old me leaped at the opportunity for a grand romantic gesture like a hungry animal.
“Very strange,” Karl finally said after considering my story. He shot a look over to Maarja, as if she was the ambassador to all women-kind, “Very strange, right?”
Maarja’s house was the crown jewel of my high-school social life. It was a three-apartment unit that was built at some point before the world wars. This place was old, as you would walk around the little apartment it would creak, but it made for a perfect party place. Maarja had inherited the apartment from her grandma at sixteen; the Estonians saw child rearing as a fairly independent process. If she couldn’t survive on her own at sixteen she probably couldn’t make it at thirty, a bit of responsibility would prepare her for the frigid world outside. Maarja used her newly found independence to throw the biggest house parties that the neighborhood had ever seen.
Maarja’s place was perfect for booze filled gatherings. It was spacious enough to hold any drinking game we could dream up, there was a nice terrace for smoking and the neighbors were either deaf, completely apathetic about teenage drinking or both. As soon as the front door opened I was assaulted by memories.
Visions of drunken nights on the floor of the living room, of hung-over mornings of the kitchen; the old apartment breathed with the past. For a split second a wave of gratitude for a youth well spent washed over me, but then I remembered that each of those fond memories had an element I wanted to block out. Most of the fun I had in the apartment had been with Saale by my side.
Maarja and Karl still slept on an old mattress on the floor, the walls were still covered with cut outs of boy-bands that Maarja had stuck to the wall in her tweens. The only thing that changed about their bedroom was the addition of a massive computer rig on the table. There were strange ventilators and cooling tubes and blinking lights, the machine looked like something straight out of a sci-fi flick.
“That’s my mining rig,” Karl said proudly. I nodded as if I understood what he was talking about.
“Where are the rats?” I asked, noticing the empty cage on Maarja’s wardrobe. Back in the day Maarja had two rats, Fritz and The Duchess. She would keep them in the cage most of the time, but whenever the night reached a certain point of drunkenness Maarja would sneak over to her bedroom and come out with the two animals. If you saw Maarja with two rats running up and down her body you knew the night was really going to become a rager.
“The Duchess died last week,” Maarja said with a glint of sorrow, “Fritz wasn’t taking it well. Think the little guy was depressed being in the cage all alone, so I’m letting him roam around the house for the time being. Hopefully a bit of freedom will cheer him up.” As if he had heard his name, Fritz peeked out from behind the wardrobe. The albino rat raised his snout in the air, sniffed for a bit and then lumbered off to the living room. The years had taken their toll on Fritz, he no longer moved with the youthful energy I was used to, but the one part of him that I remembered had not changed. Fritz still had balls that were disproportionately giant to his body. As he moved away from us he dragged them behind him with Sisyphean effort.
“So, which hostel are you crashing at?” Maarja asked. A lump manifested in my throat. I looked around the cramped apartment. Outside of the mattress there was nowhere for me to sleep. I didn’t have any money for a hostel. “Ah, I’m just kidding. You’re crashing here. We owe you anyway,” Maarja said with good cheer.
“For what?” I asked, relieved that I wasn’t homeless.
“Financing the booze and cigarettes back in the day, might have ended up a nun if it weren’t for you,” she said with a grin. It was true, throughout high school I had been the main financier of our misadventures, my parents had foreign money and that money went pretty far by Estonian standards. More importantly though; when everyone was sixteen I looked twelve. According to the law of teen streets, the late bloomer provides the dough for those who can buy stuff without ID.
“You’ll sleep on the couch, we just haven’t had the time to get it out of the garage. How about you and Karl drag it in while I make some tea?”
Even though it was a bright winter day outside the garage was in near darkness. The only thing that illuminated the cramped musty room was a single ray of light shining in through a cracked skylight. The garage was covered in flimsy shelves that buckled beneath the weight of greasy machine parts. In the center of the garage lay a couch shaped object covered with a large, stained cloth. Karl grabbed ahold the cloth and was about to pull it away, but a thought struck him.
“James, if I tell you something will you not tell Maarja?” He asked, letting the cloth drop back down to the floor. He looked straight at me; his small eyes were probing me for trustworthiness.
“Well, depends on what it is,” I said, “Don’t need help burying a body, right?”
“No,” Karl’s intensity broke into a smile, “It is nothing illegal. Just a secret.” He strode towards one of the rickety shelves and plunged his hand deep into its depths. After a moment of rustling he pulled out a small box. He opened it. Even though the garage was dark, and even though the diamond was tiny, you could see a little glimmer. Karl’s eyes shone twice as bright.
“Wow man,” I said, realizing how quickly the world was moving on, “Congratulations!” Maarja and Karl would get married and I would be at their wedding alone. As I stood in that garage the thought that I would always be alone gushed dread through my veins. We used to joke about how Saale and me would get hitched before the two of them did. Those jokes felt cruel now. Maarja and Karl would get married and one day Saale would get married too. She would get married to someone who wasn’t me. “I’m really happy for you.”
“I want to ask her father soon. He does not like me much, but I think I can show him that I can provide for his daughter. This Bitcoin thing will be big soon James, in a couple of years me and Maarja will be rich.” Karl put the box back into its hiding place. “Promise not to tell her, yes?”
“Promise,” I said with as much candor as I could muster, but my mind was elsewhere. My mind was floating disembodied in a bright church, watching my would-be-wife get married to someone else.
“James,” Karl’s paw on my shoulder brought me back into reality, “You will be okay. I know you are worried about Saale, but you still have us. We will drink this away.” He smiled. I tried to smile back. “Let’s get this couch, shall we?”
He pulled away at the cloth that covered the couch. Enough dust flew off into the air to send us both into a coughing fit. The room danced with dirty particles. Yet from behind the veil of powder I could see it. I could see the couch.
The thing was ancient, a couch straight out of the early days of the Soviet Union. Its flowery upholstery was covered in stains that just screamed history. It was as if the piece of furniture had been used for barricades in the defense of Stalingrad and lived to talk about it. Filth filled its rumpled cloth, it stood on firm wooden legs that seemed to have survived multiple generations of being clawed at, it was as if the thing was simply biding its time until its true masters came back to retrieve it. The couch was old, but somehow in that dark garage, in that gust of earthly smoke, there was something alluring about it. It looked ratty but comfortable, even inviting. For a split second I was sure that the couch had winked at me with its cushioning. Then the dust settled and it was just a piece of furniture.
Karl grabbed one side of the couch, I grabbed the other and we started to haul the thing towards the living room. We had left the garage, but there was still tension in the air. I was still thinking about Saale getting married to someone who wasn’t me. It was still as if Karl and me were meant to have a serious discussion. Neither of us were comfortable.
“I lost my virginity on this couch,” I shared, hoping to relax the situation.
Karl grinned, accepting the levity, “Gross.”
We dragged the couch to the living room and then joined Maarja in the kitchen. Back in the day her kitchen table was the go-to place to gather before drinking and after drinking. We would sit around and shoot the shit and wait for someone to drop off the booze for the evening or the hung-over pizza for the morning. Yet as we sat there, trying to make small talk, one of the chairs was empty and it made all the difference. I couldn’t focus on anything that was being said around me, all I could think about was how Saale used to sit next to me. All I could think about were her long legs on my lap, her long fiery hair, her laughter.
“How about we sweeten the evening with a bit of moonshine?” Maarja asked, as she fished a clear bottle out of the kitchen counter, “Karl and me are going to lunch with my parents tomorrow though, so no hangovers.”
Karl cheered on the promise of alcohol, but not even drink could lift my spirits. My eyes shifted from Saale’s empty seat to the couch. All I wanted to do was lie down and fall asleep for a thousand years. “Guys, I appreciate the hospitality but I’m really tired. How about we drink tomorrow?” I said. Karl and Maarja looked concerned, this was the first time they had ever seen me refuse booze.
“Are you sure you’re okay honey? We can talk about it if you want to,” Maarja suggested. I insisted I was fine; I just needed to get some rest. That didn’t convince her, but she yielded, “Well, we’ll be in my room if you need us.” Her and Karl shuffled off to her bedroom. I laid down on the couch.
From the other room I could hear them talk. Maarja talked in concerned whispers whilst Karl spoke at full volume, it didn’t make much of a difference, even after five years of being in the country I still couldn’t understand Estonian. I could hear my name being mentioned though. They were concerned about the emotional wreck that was crashing on their couch. I dragged my friends into my mess. It was all so humiliating; I was far from home, broke and broken. I wanted to die. ‘Easy there Tiger, don’t think like that,’
a faint voice emerged from the back of my head, ‘Things might not seem great right now, but look on the bright side, at least you’re on a comfortable couch.’
The voice was right; the couch was indeed comfortable. ‘All you need is a bit of a distraction to forget about your broken heart. Some booze, some dope, maybe a bit of love and you’ll be good as new.’
It was as if the suave voice turned a switch in my mind. Suddenly the tightness in my chest eased, a burst of joy started to bubble in my abdomen. My fingers started to trace the sides of the upholstery. The voice giggled, ‘That’s the spirit Tiger, just relax, you’re fine as long as you’re here with me.’
The universe felt lighter, my feelings of dread faded away and were replaced with an electric anticipation. I needed a drink to celebrate.
I opened the door to Maarja’s bedroom. She was lounging on the mattress reading a psych textbook. Karl was watching bar graphs on the computer. “Hey guys,” I peeked in, “I feel a bit better now, how about those drinks?” They both grinned. We drank.
In the moment I didn’t give much thought to the voice in my head, my internal monologue was turned up a notch since the break-up anyway. I was used to hearing thoughts that I consciously didn’t want to consider; the silky voice that was telling me that things would be okay was a welcome distraction. I sunk into the couch and I let the night carry me away. ‘See Tiger? Isn’t it nice to be here? Isn’t life just swell on this little old couch?’
it would say. I nodded along. We drank more.
All thoughts of avoiding hangovers were let go; the liquor poured freely. At some point Maarja emerged out of her room with Fritz on her shoulder. We celebrated the tradition of our youth but the rat was sluggish, far too old to crawl around on her body. After a couple of minutes Maarja gave up on playing with the rat. She put him on the ground. Fritz simply walked around the room dragging his testacles behind him like a ball and chain. We drank more.
Karl lumbered up to his feet and went to fetch his guitar. Maarja was out having a cigarette. I was far too comfortable on the couch. Having a moment to myself I watched the rat. Fritz had spent the past couple of minutes roaming the living room and sniffing at my backpack. Yet suddenly something caught his attention, he sniffed at the air, his whiskers bouncing in curiosity. Then he looked towards the couch. The old rat sprung to his hind legs and turned towards me. It was as if his beady eyes were locked to the piece of furniture. ‘Oh Tiger, don’t think about the stupid rat. Look, here comes Karl, let’s stop thinking about stupid things and listen to him play.’
Oh and how he could play. To say that Karl lacked warmth would be an understatement, communicating with the guy often felt like having a conversation with a pile of awkwardly stacked encyclopedias, but as soon as he would bring out the guitar he would ooze personality. Somehow, with those hulking fingers of his, Karl had managed to make the strings sing the gentlest of tones. Maarja and me sang along out of key as the night went on. ‘Just like the good old days, Tiger, you’re here and you’re happy. Focus on the positives, focus on the present,’
the voice told me. I followed the advice, until I couldn’t.
It was as if a spell had been broken. As soon as I heard those opening chords, as soon as I realized what Karl was playing my stomach sank. It was that Rolling Stones song. Saale and me had danced to it once upon a time. Memories of our first night together came rushing into my mind. The Saale shaped hole in my heart throbbed with pain. I got up to splash some water on my face. Karl shifted his performance into a serenade for Maarja.
The tiles in the bathroom were freezing but I was willing to withstand the pain if it meant I could get further away from the song. I stood there, willing to wait it out, but the memories just kept on floating back. I was standing in the same bathroom I stood in the night that I met Saale. I could see traces of a sixteen-year old in my face. The music kept on building. Saale’s lily perfume filled my nostrils. I could remember the fullness of her lips before our first kiss. The images were cascading on top of each other, ripping away at my sanity, ready to plunge me into a panic attack. But then they stopped. The music stopped.
I peeked out of the door. Karl had chucked his guitar over to the side. His serenade had given way to a heavy make out session. Him and Maarja were all over each other. “Guys, I’m going to go out for a cigarette,” I announced.
The two of them looked up at me dazed and drunk. “Take the keys honey, I think we’re going to bed.”
I hoped that the dial tone would block out Maarja’s moans but it didn’t. Not only did I have to listen to a loving couple have sex, I also had to listen to world’s quietest dial tone as I was reminded that Saale did not want to talk to me. I stood out there in the freezing cold smoking one cigarette after another. It was just me, the starless sky and Maarja’s moans. Karl lasted for a quarter a pack before their bedroom quieted down. I tried calling Saale one more time and then went back inside.
By the time I stumbled to the couch I could already hear snoring coming from the bedroom. But there was another sound in the apartment, something much quieter, something I almost didn’t notice. Scratching.
Luckily I managed to prop myself up against the couch before I sat on him. As I tried to regain my balance I realized just how drunk I was. Fritz was on the couch, furiously scratching into its upholstery. He looked up at the drunken figure hovering over him for a split second and then went back to work. Those little claws scratched with the ferocity of a pup. It was as if Fritz was two years younger.
I picked him up by his scruff and tried taking him off the couch. When I lifted him off the ground the rat seemed confused for just a split second before- ‘Aiiieee’
Fritz screamed the world’s tiniest scream and then bit me in the finger. He dropped to the ground and ran beneath a nearby wardrobe. He hid beneath it and watched me.
I was too drunk and tired to care. I laid down on the couch and exhaled. ‘Welcome back Tiger, you look tired. Let me keep you company. Yes, life is hard, but if you really appreciate the moment it can be pretty enjoyable. Lie down here, let me keep you hold you. Let’s get to know each other better.’
I could smell floral perfume. I closed my eyes and drifted off to a deep sleep
That is to say that this list contains words that this list contains words that:
- Usually aren't instantly guess-able (like star, apple, or Nike).
- Can be played with a group of acquaintances (I play with a group of interns at work to blow off time)
- It contains some proper nouns which I believe to be well-known enough (like Simpsons or Spiderman).
Created this list by modifying an existing difficult word list we found online and adding a bunch of new words. If you see a stupid difficult word, it was probably a word from the existing difficult word list that I forgot to remove. (amicable and reimbursement were the type of bs I removed lol).
abraham lincoln, accordion, accounting, acre, actor, adidas, advertisement, air conditioner, aircraft carrier, airport security, alarm clock, alcohol, alert, alice in wonderland, alphabet, altitude, amusement park, angel, angle, angry, ankle, apathetic, apathy, apparatus, applause, application, apron, archaeologist, archer, armada, arrows, art gallery, ashamed, asteroid, athlete, atlantis, atlas, atmosphere, attack, attic, audi, aunt, austin powers, australia, author, avalanche, avocado, award, baby, baby-sitter, back flip, back seat, baggage, baguette, baker, balance beam, bald, balloon, bamboo, banister, barbershop, barney, baseboards, bat, beans, beanstalk, beard, bed and breakfast, bedbug, beer pong, belt, beluga whale, berlin wall, bible, biceps, bikini, binder, biohazard, biology, birthday, biscuit, bisexual, bitcoin, black hole, blacksmith, bleach, blizzard, blueprint, bluetooth, blunt, blush, boa constrictor, bobsled, bonnet, book, bookend, bookstore, border, boromir, bottle cap, boulevard, boundary, bow tie, bowling, boxing, braces, brain, brainstorm, brand, bride, bride wig, bruise, brunette, bubble, bubble bath, bucket, buckle, buffalo, bugs bunny, bulldog, bumble bee, bunny, burrito, bus, bushel, butterfly, buzz lightyear, cabin, cable car, cadaver, cake, calculator, calendar, calf, calm, camera, cannon, cape, captain, captain america, car, car accident, carat, cardboard, carnival, carpenter, carpet, cartography, cartoon, cartoonist, castaway, castle, cat, catalog, cattle, cd, ceiling, cell, cellar, centimetre, centipede, century, chain mail, chain saw, chair, champion, chandelier, channel, chaos, charger, chariot, chariot racing, check, cheerleader, cheerleader dust, chef, chemical, cherub, chess, chevrolet, chick-fil-a, chicken coop, chicken legs, chicken nugget, chime, chimney, china, chisel, chord, church, circus tent, clamp, classroom, cleaning spray, cliff, cliff diving, climate, clique, cloak, clog, clown, clue, coach, coast, cockpit, coconut, coffee, coil, comedian, comfy, commercial, community, companion, company, compare, comparison, compromise, computer, computer monitor, con, confidant, confide, consent, constrictor, convenience store, conversation, convertible, conveyor belt, copyright, cord, corduroy, coronavirus, correct, cot, country, county fair, courthouse, cousin, cowboy, coworker, cramp, crane, cranium, crate, crayon, cream, creator, credit, crew, crib, crime, crisp, criticize, crop duster, crow's nest, cruise, cruise ship, crumbs, crust, cubicle, cubit, cupcake, curtain, cushion, customer, cutlass, czar, dab, daffy duck, dance, danger, darth vader, darts, dashboard, daughter, dead end, deadpool, deceive, decipher, deep, default, defect, degree, deliver, demanding, demon, dent, dentist, deodorant, depth, descendant, destruction, detail, detective, diagonal, dice, dictate, disco, disc jockey, discovery, disgust, dismantle, distraction, ditch, diver, diversify, diversity, diving, divorce, dizzy, dodge ball, dog, dolphin, donald trump, doorbell, doppelganger, dorsal, double, doubloon, doubt, doubtful, download, downpour, dragon, drain, dream, dream works, dress shirt, drift, drip, dripping, drive-through, drought, drowning, drugstore, dryer, dryer sheet, dryer sheets, dugout, dumbbell, dumbo, dust, dust bunny, duvet, earache, earmuffs, earthquake, economics, edge, edit, education, eel, effect, egg, eiffel tower, eighteen-wheeler, electrical outlet, elf, elope, emigrate, emotions, emperor, employee, enemy, engaged, equation, error, eureka, everglades, evolution, exam, exercise, exhibition, expired, explore, exponential, extension, extension cord, eyeball, fabric, factory, fad, fade, fake flowers, family tree, fan, fast food, faucet, feather, feeder road, feeling, ferris wheel, fiddle, figment, finding nemo, firefighter, firefox, fireman, fireman pole, fireplace, fireside, fireworks, first class, first mate, fish bone, fishing, fizz, flag, flat, flavor, flight, flip flops, flock, florist, flotsam, flowchart, flower, flu, flute, flutter, flying saucer, fog, foil, food court, football player, forklift, form, forrest gump, fossil, fowl, fragment, frame, fresh water, freshwater, friction, fries, front, frost, fuel, full, full moon, fun, fun house, funnel, fur, galaxy, gallon, gallop, game, gamer, garden, garden hose, gas station, gasoline, gavel, gentleman, geologist, germ, germany, geyser, giant, ginger, giraffe, gladiator, glasses, glitter, glue, glue stick, goalkeeper, goatee, goblin, gold, gold medal, golden retriever, gondola, good-bye, government, gown, graduation, grain, grandpa, gratitude, graveyard, gravity, great-grandfather, grenade, grill, grim reaper, groom, groot, group, guess, guillotine, gumball, guru, gymnast, hail, hair dryer, haircut, half, hand soap, handful, handle, hang, hang glider, hang ten, harry potter, hawaii, hay wagon, hearse, heater, heaven, helmet, hermit crab, high heel, high tops, highchair, hitler, hockey, homework, honk, hoodies, hoop, hopscotch, hot, hot dog, hot fuzz, hot tub, hotel, houseboat, human, humidity, hunter, hurdle, husband, hut, hydrant, hydrogen, hypothermia, ice, ice cream cone, ice fishing, icicle, idea, igloo, illuminati, implode, important, improve, in-law, incisor, income, income tax, index, inertia, infect, inglorious bastards, inside out, insurance, interception, interference, interject, internet, invent, invisible, invitation, iron man, ironic, irrational, irrigation, isaac newton, island, ivy, ivy full, jackhammer, japan, jaw, jazz, jedi, jellyfish, jet lag, jig, jigsaw, joke, joker, journal, juggle, jump rope, jungle, junk, junk drawer, junk mail, justice, kangaroo, ketchup, kill bill, killer, kilogram, kim possible, kiss, kitten, kiwi, kit-kat, kneel, knight, koala, lace, lady bug, ladybug, lamp, lance, landfill, landlord, lap, laptop, last, laundry detergent, layover, leak, leap year, learn, leather, lebron james, lecture, legolas, leprechaun, letter, letter opener, lettuce, level, lice, lichen, lie, lifeguard, lifejacket, lifestyle, light, lightning, lightning mcqueen, lightsaber, limit, lion, lipstick, living room, lobster, logo, loiterer, lollipop, loonie, lord of the rings, lottery, love, loveseat, loyalty, lullaby, lumberjack, lumberyard, lunar eclipse, lunar rover, lung, lyrics, macaroni, machete, machine, macho, magnet, mailbox, makeup, mammoth, manatee, mark zuckerberg, martian, mascot, mascot fireman, mask, mast, mastercard, mat, mayhem, mechanic, megaphone, member, memory, mercedes benz, mermaid, meteor, michael scott, michelangelo, microscope, microsoft, microsoft word, microwave, midnight, migrate, millionaire, mime, mine, mine car, miner, minivan, mirror, missile, mitten, mohawk, moisturizer, molar, mold, mom, monsoon, monster, monsters inc, mooch, moonwalk, moth, mount rushmore, mozart, mr potato head, mulan, mummy, music, mysterious, myth, name, nanny, naruto, navigate, negotiate, neighborhood, nemo, nepal, nest, netflix, neutron, newsletter, night, 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I'm sure you already know my sentiments, but let me take a moment and lay out the reasons why. submitted by
The Dutch Tulip Bubble (or "Tulip Mania") was a period during the Golden Age when the price of Tulip bulbs skyrocketed in a speculative bubble that burst, in February of 1637. Bidders had run the price of certain tulips (arguably the most gorgeous and lovely ones) to price heights that made no sense.
Speculators were mortgaging houses to buy tulips, and some of the most expensive ones could cost the value of a real house. The Dutch economy was booming, and the citizenry enjoyed the highest financial statndard of living in the world at the time. Significant amounts of discretionary income, coupled with a devaluing of the Dutch Kronur (less and less precious metals had been used for the minting of the Kronur over the previous decades) led to the very real popular concept that the price could only go up.
Of course, after European markets started trading tulip bulbs and the excitement grew to a manic phase, the bottom fell out, and people realized that there is no comparison between the value of a flower and real assets, like houses, horses, food, etc., and the market imploded.
The Dot-Com bubble of the late 1990's was similar to Tulip Mania in some ways (bubbles always are) but significantly different in ways we need to acknowledge and examine.
Speculation is always at the core of any bubble, and Tulip Mania, the Dot Com Bubble and the Crypto Run-Up of 2017 and subsequent collapse in 2018 are no exception. As greed and excitement kick in and override the Human Brain's ability to discern smart from not, the human's tendency to stampede--in either direction, up or down--is significantly increased as the amount of money involved increases.
Capitalist hegemony has imprinted directly on our hippocampuses the concept that the goal is to die wealthy; to die poor is anathema in all segments of human society. "He who dies with the most toys wins!" is a common exclamation.
So when opportunity presents itself, Humans tend to try to take advantage of it, even when the opportunity makes no sense. The Dot Com bubble was one where big industrial financing actually created the monster by throwing huge sums of money at pretty much any idea and team that had an interesting, internet based theme.
eToys.com, Baby.com, et. al., were simply brick and mortar ideas repackaged for the internet--and mostly repackaged to sell the investment. The only difference was the ".com" on the end, and to the investment community, that was more than enough to open the money spigots.
The main difference between the Tulip Mania bubble and the Dot Com bubble is the actual technology. The Dot Com bubble was a ton of fluff, surrounding a strong core of real innovation and futuretech. The Tulip Mania bubble was, for lack of a better term, simply flowers.
So applying these historical times with today's Crypto run-up and implosion, there are obvious and undeniable similarities. The run up in Crypto has made many people instantly and effortlessly wealthy, indeed, some of them are celebrities now, simply because they threw a small amount of money at a project at the right moment and spun the wheel.
And we hear from some of these guys every day. The smaller "players" (I call them 'posers') who made some money by pure luck and now fashion themselves to be experts ("Listen to me! I made money last year and I have a youtube channel!") are all expounding on the virtues of this coin and the shitcoin propensity of that project. In most cases, they were lucky, once. Beware their advice.
The Crypto bubble and collapse is much more parallel to the Dot Com bubble and collapse because at the core of both situations lies a transformative technology and a handful of good projects/companies that emerge at the end of the chaos with strong product and ideas that the public will need, will buy and which will survive. These projects are typically underhyped, undervalued, and are considered "sleepers" at some point in the bubble. This is because instead of chasing financing or chasing popular opinion, they are quietly and methodically perfecting their technologies, their products and their consumer experiences.
These projects are few and far between, interspecked within the flotsam and jetsam of multitudes of "debris projects" that will not survive.
Who remembers MySpace? Who remembers AOL? Who remembers dialup and the AOL "coaster CD?" Who remembers Netscape, AltaVista and Webcrawler?
Amazon, Netflix, eBay, Google, Facebook and a few others were also generated in this timeframe.
Tulip Mania had no survivors, as there was no innovation involved. Simple greed, and when the music stopped, most people were on the wrong side of the chairs.
After the Dot Com bubble burst, however, was a period of quiet, thoughtful and valuable growth. Those who survived the carnage continued on to be come the current Captains of Internet Industry, and have made those who found them, researched them, and invested in them fantastically, famously wealthy.
I believe we are at the point where the bubble has burst, and the dust is settling, in the Crypto bubble. The real and innovative projects have continued their work and are busily planning for the next phase. I strongly believe the Kin Foundation is one of those, and I've invested because of the research I've done.
I've asked some here if they could go back and invest in Apple at the early stages, would they? And the varying and interesting answers I've gotten have ranged from "I'd have better things to do than invest in Apple" to "if Apple were $1 again, there'd be something wrong." Truly chuckle worthy, but telling.
Not everyone will see the opportunity for what it is. Not everyone will take advantage. Weak hands will sell, and weak minds will bash. Only the people who invest with their heads, not just their hearts will make the right moves.
For me, Kin is the Amazon of the Dot Com Bubble. It's where I put my emphasis, my research, my effort and my thoughts. I have invested in many companies and cryptos along the way... I missed out on the Bitcoin rise, but I made money in the Dot Com bubble. I've ridden tech stocks via options for years, and the intrinsically unstable nature of those investments have made the risk of this one much less worrisome.
So the point is this: when the naysayers croak at you, don't worry about it. History is behind us, and if you've done the research I have, you know that Kin is a strong contender to come out strong and vibrant and profitable on the other side.
It's why I'm here, and it's why we're all here. Cheers.
This isn't a joke. submitted by
I've only been investing in crypto since last May, but in that time I've been fairly successful. ...far more successful than I ever was investing in the stock market (even with the recent downturn).
Along the way I've had conversations with both of my parents about Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, NEO, Cardano, and others. More with my dad than with my mom, but my mom has become more and more interested as of late.
Neither of them has ever dismissed crypto as being imaginary or fake or any of the other negative things we so often hear and today when I was talking about NEO (more specifically the accumulation of GAS from one's NEO holdings) they said they were proud of me.
They've said they were proud of me before. Piano recitals, roles in musical theater, etc.
This felt different, though I can't pinpoint why.
Anyway they both feel that blockchain tech will have a big place in the future and my mom said she'd like to buy 1 NEO so that she can start learning about this new world.
It feels great to have support when there are so many others who are quick to say that this is all a scam, bubble, fraud, or whatever other ugly term they might use for it.
High resolution music is a solution looking for a problem ... Bitcoin still exists, so the hack only makes it stronger. ... Others are spreading FUD about a looming bitcoin bubble and troubles at ... However, I have two producer friends who now take Bitcoin for payment, I know of a VC guy who is doing deals for analog guitar pedals with it, and I am personally being headhunted to help music-focused streamers figure out the publishing side. Something’s going on. So, let me try to simplify this for you, from a music business perspective. Bitcoin: A subprime bubble for the rich Originally published November 29, 2017 at 10:21 am Updated November 29, 2017 at 2:43 pm Bitcoin logos are displayed at the Inside Bitcoins conference and ... Is bitcoin in a bubble? The price of bitcoin has been soaring this year, and last week alone it jumped from $11,000 to well over $17,000, according to Coindesk. It started the year below $1,000. Realtime Bitcoin transaction visualizer. See and hear new transactions, trades and blocks as they occur.
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