I Got 99 Problems But A Bench Ain’t One
“I’m not a hater of men.” -George Carlin
The first time I heard the words “i’ve got 99 problems but a bench ain’t one,” my eyes rolled into the back of my head like they were going to explode out of their sockets. My brain was so fried from being completely drained by alcohol that it took me awhile to even comprehend what I just heard. Then when I finally did, I had no idea how to react.
I didn’t have any problem with men. In fact, I loved them. They made life worth living, which is something that wasn’t true before the Great Recession hit us hard.
However, there was something about these guys who claimed to have “99 problems” that really bothered me.
That’s right; 99 problems? What kind of man does that? And why would anyone do such a thing?
It seems that these guys were all trying to prove something to themselves or others. Maybe they wanted attention, maybe they thought it was funny, maybe they were bragging, whatever the reason, I couldn’t stand it. After all, if someone could have 99 problems and still be happy then I guess I’d rather be happy than perfect.
I remember the first time I saw one of these guys. I was sitting on my garden bench in my parents’ front yard, trying to enjoy a nice summer day, despite the fact that my job at Kmart had been downsized earlier that week. It was a particularly nice bench that I had purchased with my own money after selling my old house.
I don’t know why I bought the bench; I just felt good about it for some reason. I think it was because I felt like I was part of a movement. I was a people person after all, so it made sense that I would join the “bench community.”
The bench community was an interesting one. We were kind of like the popular kids in high school, but with more influence over the political landscape of middle America. But just like the popular kids in high school, we had our share of copycats that joined our ranks that didn’t really belong there.
And that’s what these guys were: copycats. Not only had they joined the bench community, but they claimed to have their own benches as well. And the worst part about all of this was that these guys didn’t even need benches to begin with.
They all came from rich families and didn’t have jobs. In fact, that’s why I was fired from my job at Kmart. Too many rich people were using dishonest means to get out of work and this created a shortage of honest, hard-working people like myself to do all the real work in the world.
But I guess that’s what happens when you have too many problems, as these guys claimed to have. The first time I heard one of them speak about his problems was the day after my termination from Kmart. I was using my bench as usual when I heard a voice come from behind me say, “I’ve got 99 problems and a weak lower back isn’t one.”
I figured that this guy had to be talking to someone else, so I ignored him and continued to daydream about winning the lottery. However, the guy didn’t go away and kept on talking.
“I’ve got 99 problems and a weak lower back isn’t one,” he repeated. It was then that I realized that this guy was directing his message to me.
Feeling annoyed by this intrusion, I responded with, “Well why don’t you share some of those other problems with me?”
It was my hope that this sarcastic remark would send the copycat away, but I was dead wrong. In fact, his response surprised me quite a bit.
“I don’t have time to explain,” he said. “Look, I’ll give you a list of my problems and you can write down your own if you want. Then we can take it from there.
Take what from where?”
I asked. The guy had been speaking in riddles so far and I was frustrated that he wouldn’t get to the point.
Sources & references used in this article:
99 problems but by C Donovan – core.ac.uk
Ain’t no makin’it: Aspirations and attainment in a low-income neighborhood by J MacLeod – 2018 – books.google.com
The new versus the old legal realism: things ain’t what they used to be by S Macaulay – Wis. L. REv., 2005 – HeinOnline
There ain’t no black in the Union Jack by P Gilroy – 2013 – books.google.com