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The Hater: Happy Money’s Day!

Trying to read up on Bitcoin… and failing. 


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Internet Culture


I have cats not kids, but I do have a mother.

Mom’s experience with technology is not unlike our relationship: a bit fraught, and somewhat dysfunctional.

She can handle clicking on a link in an email, but a video or photo attachment requires a “wait ‘till your father comes home”—which has a meaning far different now than it did during my upbringing. The subject line of her email contains only her email address. I’ve been butt-dialed more often than intentionally called.

It’s too bad I didn’t get one of those moms who are both tech savvy and witty, as detailed in this compilation of texts from mom, the best thing I’ve seen all week. (That is, aside from the Charles Ramsey interview (the OG one—no remixes or memes, thanks.)

There was a time, though, maybe in the late ‘90s, when the happy plinks of AOL Instant Messenger did enhance communication between Mom and me. Since Mom’s had hearing loss since birth, it was far preferable to fill her in by typing rather than talking loudly in the close quarters of cubicle life and apartment living. (Plus, I had some jobs so boring that IMing with my mother actually beat out work responsibilities.)

In those instant messages and conversations, Mom always lectured, “Money is never boring.”

After reading up on Bitcoin this week, I disagree.

I’ve written about finance, but it’s more about how little I get it. So when I heard more and more about this rogue bitcoin currency thing, and not only in the contraband punch line way, I thought hey, it’s Mother’s Day this weekend, time to take Mom’s advice! Maybe I can learn something about this weirdo whiz-bang marriage of economics and technology! Even get something intellectually or financially rewarding out of it!

But… no. I can’t.

I just can’t.

The 404 Guys didn’t help with their existential meanderings about why the value of a dollar is a dollar. This piece at Wired on the Bitcoin hype from the hacker POV glazed me like a donut left in the sun. Kashmir Hill at Forbes wrote about living for a week on Bitcoin, and while well-researched, it seemed to be largely a lament that she couldn’t find anywhere to buy her $5 (or .948537543 of a bitcoin or whatever) fancypants latte. (OMFG! She had to drink the free coffee her large employer thoughtfully supplies! Calamity.)

Everything I’ve read about bitcoin is a little too tl; dr for me. I’m just not numerically smart enough to understand any of it without being taken major, major advantage of.

Am I embarrassed about the fact that I don’t get it? Does this make me an embarrassingly behind-the-times cat mommy?

I’m okay with that.

My concept of money basically boils down to this: Put everything on my already existing credit card (including Mother’s Day flowers) so I can get enough airline miles to visit a place where currency consists of a hunk of tree bark and a couple of plump she-goats.

Oh, wait. I already live in Portland.

Carin Moonin is a writer living in Portland, Ore. Sometimes she’ll even tweet about things she hates at @carinwrites.

Photo by @Doug88888/Flickr

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