Seriously, why the hell am I here?
I don’t want to be here. I want to be somewhere else. Somewhere much better, that is far, far away.
Where, you ask?
Well just take a look above these words and to the right. See that white thing with the spikes coming out of it? Get it, yet?
Let me spell it out for you: Disney World. I want to be at Disney World.
See, here’s a little secret that you might not know about me: I hate real life. This isn’t a bit, I actually hate it. I hate having to get up early. I hate eating stale granola bars for breakfast. I hate the fact that I have to take a car everywhere because of the lack of available monorails in society.
I can barely keep it together. I am so miserable.
Look, you might think I’m crazy, but we can all agree that real life sucks, right? Maybe you’re not a fan of Disney World, but at least you can look me in the eye and say, “Yes, my everyday life is a nightmare.”
You don’t like your job. You don’t like your girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/husband. You have kids? I’m sure you hate them too. You get up in the morning, work all day, for what? So you can have one or two days off where instead of going to your job, you run around like an idiot, doing errands? Maybe before you go to bed, you get to bang your wife for six minutes?
The only thing that keeps us all from blowing our brains out are the minor distractions we’ve come to mistake for happiness.
Your buddy sends you an instant message with a link to a Youtube video where a guy gets punched in the nuts and you have a brief chuckle. So then your day becomes about that 30 second video clip. You forward it to your other friends, you tell your co-workers about it in the break room, you sit and think about it when you’re taking a dump.
This is living?
But, don’t give up all hope. There is a place where things are different. A place where you don’t have to get up early, but you do, simply because you want to. Life is good. Audio-animatronics are in abundance. Monorail travel is free and plentiful. Fireworks are a nightly occurrence. Cartoon characters walk the street without fear of recrimination. Homeless people still carry bindles and are all too happy to caper about for your amusement.
Why? Because everything is great at Disney World. In fact, the only real problem with Disney World is that because it’s so great, everybody wants to be there and sometimes it gets crowded.
In the real world, when things get crowded, you sit there and endure it, because you’re trapped on a bus or the subway, silently hating everyone around you. At Disney World, when things get crowded, you go back to your hotel and swim in the pool which has a volcano in it. Or you take a raft to Tom Sawyer’s island and have some lemonaid.
From a very young age, I knew what I wanted in life.
When I was a kid, the Disney Channel wasn’t free, it was a premium service, like HBO and Showtime. I convinced my parents to get it, not because I wanted to watch a single program on it, but because they would air 30 second bumpers before and after those shows, that took place at Disney World.
So I would sit there and endure a bunch of awful, showbizy kids making fools of themselves on the Mickey Mouse Club just so I could get a five second glimpse of Spaceship Earth in the background.
While my schoolyard chums were buying video games and Garbage Pail Kids cards, I would take my extra money and buy Fodor’s Travel Guides and plan out imaginary vacations I would never go on.
Now, if you’re my mother and you’re reading this, I’m sure you’re protesting right now, “But Eric, we took you to Disney World at least 20 times when you were a kid!”
To which I say: NOT GOOD ENOUGH! NOT GOOD ENOUGH AT ALL, MADAM!
Say I spent a week per year at Disney World. That seems like a reasonable amount, right? Well, that’s 358 days a year spent NOT at Disney World. 359, if it’s a leap year.
And that’s the problem with a “vacation.” By design, it’s not enough time. It’s created to give you just a taste of happiness. Not the real thing. It leaves you wanting more, so that you’ll work your ass off for another 358 days to try and get another taste. It’s a trick. I didn’t want just another vacation.
As a child, I would sit in my non-Polynesian themed room, tears dripping down my cheeks and I would swear that as soon as I was an adult and I had my own money, I would go and live at Disney World!
If that child could see me now, he would take a look at my life, shake his head and jump off a goddam bridge.
I have betrayed all my deepest held beliefs and ideals. I am a sellout. You see a successful businessman and entrepreneur, I see a hollow shell of a man. A disgrace.
I am convinced that as part of the human condition, we do everything in our power to make sure we’re never truly happy.
I can’t go to Disney World because I have commitments to people I hate and who hate me, that I simply can’t break. I am altering the course of my own life, sacrificing my own happiness for people who wouldn’t even bother to piss on my grave, simply because they wouldn’t want to take the time to show up, if I were to die tomorrow.
Meanwhile, my old pals Mickey, Donald and Goofy are having a great time, wondering, “Hey, where the hell is that happy little kid who came to visit us all those years ago? He’s missing out on all the fun!”
That kid is dead. I killed him. The second I put on that suit and tie and took my first acquisitions job.
My signing bonus was a 9mm semi-automatic handgun which I used to shoot my childhood self in the head with, at point-blank range. And you know what he said to me, as I did? He said, “Do it.”
Because he knew that was a better fate than what he had in store.
Even now, his ghost is screaming in my ears. “Stop writing this stupid blog, you dumb pussy! Get on a plane and go to Florida!”
But kids are stupid. They don’t realize that there are more important things than being happy. Like over-extending yourself by buying lots of worthless shit you don’t need anyway.
That’s not fair. The truth is, there’s no easier way to over-extend yourself than by staying at the world’s greatest theme park and resort. All that happiness has a price. You think those delicious buffalo steaks they serve at Artist Pointe are free? I suppose they’ll just give you some goat cheese raviolis for being a great guy when you ride the elevator up to the California Grill? Of course not.
It’s not like they just hand you a free raft to go lazily floating down Castaway Creek! Well, actually, they do. But you have to pay to get into Typhoon Lagoon first.
But if I really had it in me, to be the best I could be, I would find a way.
By my estimation, it would take about 5 million dollars in cash for me to live out my life at Disney World. I wouldn’t go nuts. I wouldn’t need to stay in the penthouse or have fillet mignon every single night.
I would make conservative, long-term investments across a fairly diverse portfolio in order to balance my expenditures.
Who knows? They might even cut me a deal, give me a break on a room, since I’m planning on staying in the same one for the next 50 years or so. Probably not though, I bet they wouldn’t want to encourage that sort of thing, for fear it would turn into the private dominion of a select group of eccentric millionaires.
No, I think the Disney folks would want to keep it a place where the common man could come and catch a glimpse at a life worth living. They’re good people, those Disney folk. More charitable than I.
The irony of the whole endeavor is that the purchased land that makes up Disney World is so vast, precisely because Walt wanted to create a model city. Well, he never got his model city, but in the self-actualization of Eric Filipkowski, you have the model city, turned upside down.
The perfect place to live; not because the everyday life things that are needed for a city are improved upon, but instead, completely removed.
I’ve shared this side of myself with very few, but from experience, I know I’m going to get the kind of responses like, “You should get a job at Disney World!” or “Stop being a baby, if you went and lived at Disney World, you would get sick of it in five seconds!”
Wrong. I don’t want to work there and I won’t get sick of it. Trust me.
Just give me 5 million dollars and I’ll be out of your hair. It’s a small price to pay, if not for my happiness, consider it an investment so you can get your precious time back and go home and watch the big game and drink a beer and dream about molesting Britney Spears or whatever it is you people do.