I Strive to be Below Average

Do you feel like you just aren’t getting ahead, like everyone around you is succeeding in life and passing you by?  Well, it’s true; there are many people that are good at lots of different things, so in reality, people are better then you.  At first, this information can be a jolt to one’s ego, but eventually becoming a failure in the eyes of society can in turn be liberating.  In the quest for liberation, I’ve embarked on an audacious plan to become decidedly below average in comparison to my fellow Americans.

This project all started with a pair of jeans.  Jeans have always been something I use to cloth my lower body, excluding the year of the sweatpant – 5th grade 1992, however they have never been something that served to enhance my popularity nor fill my dresser drawers.  I always have just one pair, a standard blueish color, as anything else makes matching difficult, this pair works for casual dress and is both comfortable and utilitarian.  This pair also never fits well as I need a 32/33 waist, and 34/35 long, these measurements are common in reverse, surely suiting someone other then me.  Only after this pair becomes worn, does it transition to my work jeans and I purchase a new pair.  My annual jeans expense is around 5-10 dollars as I don’t replace pairs often.  Surely I’m below average in both number of pairs and annual expenses.  Levi Strauss hates me.

Yearly Savings Compared to Average American Clothing Expenses – $100 (this is probably low, but I don’t know what others spend)

Since it takes me less time to dress in the mornings, I have more time to allow for my commute, therefore I drive slower then average, or what’s known as the weekend or grandpa pace.  I drive the same stretch of highway Monday through Friday, along with Sundays to get to church.  Interestingly, unless there is sun glare or an accident, 70 MPH is the minimum Monday through Friday, this is the case even through we are all no more then 7 feet apart.  Its like NASCAR without the sponsor logos and numbers, the adrenaline rush is the same.  Sunday morning driving in this manner would solicit an immediate police response.  I attempt to drive like its Sunday morning each day.

Yearly Savings Compared to my Cars Estimated Fuel MPG – $157 (based on 10k miles per year and gas costing $2.50 gallon) (my car’s estimated MPG is 24-28, I get 34, adjust the comparison based on your own MPG and yearly miles)

Another advantage to my morning involves my freedom from a coffee stop.  Caffeine and I are not in a relationship.  I don’t rush to get to the coffee shop, nor do I drive erratically after spilling hot liquid onto my single pair of jeans.  I did drink some coffee a few years ago when traveling in Italy, after which, I endured heart palpitations for the duration of the morning.  I have two problems with coffee in addition to not liking the taste, I don’t like hot drinks, nor do I like ice in my drinks, and since room temperature coffee hasn’t become a thing yet, I’ll remain below average in my consumption.  Although, I’m just now thinking of a drink pitch for Starbucks – One grande mocha latte tiepida, grazie.  If any of my four readers find themselves in a Starbucks within the next few days please order one, and tell them its my idea.  I see a new trend, ice is out, tiepida is in!

Yearly Savings Compared to Average – $624 (based on spending $12 per week on fast food or coffee – I spend $0.00)

When it comes to domestication, I’m decidedly below average.  My yard is full of weeds, as I use below average amounts of fertilizer (none) and I care for the lawn myself.  My reel mower is not adjustable, requiring me to keep my grass to a below average height.  I keep the house at a balmy, now that I have kids 67 in winter, which lowers to a snug 58 during sleep time.  I’m not actually setting the nighttime temp that low in order to save a few bucks, but rather my wife bought our comforter direct from Eskimos.  Its made of goose down or some other feather, and possibly lined with 3 feet of whale blubber, I regularly wake only to find myself drenched in sweat.  I towel off and return to sleep, as any guy knows bed linens opinions are not a bridge males should cross.

Yearly Savings Compared to Average – $200 ($100 for lawn care and $100 for utilities)

In the summer, I keep my air conditioning use to below average levels and I’m happy to report it hasn’t been used in three years.  The human body properly acclimatized and aided by a ceiling fan and window fan is able to adjust to a wide variety of temperatures, as its common for my house to be between 76-82 degrees during the summer and the already mentioned 58 in winter.

As we continue to examine my failings as an indoor human, its important to note that my knowledge of popular culture is becoming dangerously dated.  I haven’t had a television in several years, and prior to that, we only had an antennae which allowed for two or three channels that were weirdly committed to vampire programming.  I tend to receive odd looks as all my TV references date to shows that were popular in the late 90s or early 2000s.  I don’t even watch sports anymore causing more strange looks from my students when they discuss pro athletes that are unknown to me.

Yearly Savings Compared to Average – $900 (based on a cable bill of $75 per month)

Let’s dab our feet into the local social scene for one last look at my below average behavior.  In my freewheeling 20s, my wife and I eagerly looked forward to date night.  We would dress nicely, me in my jeans, her in one of 172 possible outfit combinations, and enjoy a nice restaurant meal together.  This would happen two or three times per month.  We’d get drinks, appetizers, dessert; we lived like kings.  Now that we have kids, we live like kings after a peasant revolt, if we are still alive by evening, we just want some sleep.  Yes, we had children voluntarily and they are great.

Savings Compared to Average – $1,800 (based on spending $60, three times per month, now we get pizza once per month spending $30)

Gosh, it sounds like your life is rather sad you may be thinking.  But actually I’m quite happy, I have time to exercise and play with my kids.  I built a patio this past summer that is getting rave reviews from the neighbors.  And honestly, once I distanced myself from the judgmental hand of society, I realized that none of the previously mentioned things improved my daily existence.  In fact, I believe they are a big reason that I’m able to be above average in one important area.


If you add up all my below average traits, it comes to $3,781 per year.  Let’s use our friend the compound interest calculator and say we continue to save this much per year for the next 10 years.  Assuming a modest 6% return, our savings will grow to $56,594 after just 10 years, and after 20 years we’d have an incredible $151,175.  Surely no one can live a life of depravity for 20 years you argue.  Maybe you are right, so how much would we have if we are only able to maintain this lifestyle for 10 years, earning the $56,000, but then never investing any more again.  This $56,000, while receiving no addition contributions would be worth $181,504 after being left idle for 20 years.  Those numbers are why I’m perfectly happy owning one pair of jeans.



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