July| Vol. 22 No. 8.02 | Christian's Chronicles © 2015 – All rights reserved.
Last time, I touched upon a new project I have started in an effort to escape the slavery of student loan debt. I have continued upon my quest to learn to code, in the footsteps of Leo the homeless coder. If learning rudimentary programming skills can help a homeless man raise himself out of poverty, or at least provide the 15 minutes of fame his benefactor was looking for, there is no reason why the same pixie dust cannot magically eliminate my debts via some similar warped logic. What could possibly go wrong?
So why not learn to code? I’ve already started on Code Academy, and I’ve earned several ‘badges’ like so many colored belts in the latest martial arts craze of our cyber-infused culture. If learning to code is the answer to poverty, it should work for me. After all, my net worth is far below that of Leo. He is only homeless, putting him at slightly above $0. I, on the other hand, have a ton of debt, putting me in the neighborhood of -$200,000. If learning to code will lift Leo out of poverty, it might reduce my debts to a manageable level.
But why stop there? I might as well utilize the many additional free or low-cost online resources available to me in my privileged position as compared to a homeless coder like Leo. I have already mentioned the options for free educational resources elsewhere. But as an additional example, I should utilize the increasingly more common service of online dating. Sure, there still might be somewhat of a stigma attached to seeking out a mate from the safety of a fictitious online persona as opposed to putting yourself on the line in the ‘real world’ but don’t we already cyber-stalk the people we meet do dig up dirt on them anyway? That, however, is material for another post. (Stay tuned)
For now, let us focus on the coding cure for poverty, and ask: “What would Brian Fantana say?” You guessed it: 60% of the time, it works every time. That may be good odds, but even Ron Burgundy could tell that something was wrong with that logic. It is somewhat reminiscent of the underpants gnomes, with their mantra: “Phase 1: collect underpants; Phase 2: ?; Phase 3: profit!” It is phase 2 that I have questions about.
In the interest of brevity, let us consider something else. What if this coding craze, as exemplified by Leo and his benefactor, is like so many other gold-rush situations? What if this is the sign of yet another bubble with the all too familiar cycle of inflation-leads-to-crash we have seen repeat itself over and over with the inevitability of Nietzsche’s doctrine of Eternal Recurrence? Situations where some who stand to gain much from it pull wool over the rest of our eyes through hype, misleading information, or outright lies, and by the time we realize that all that glitters is not gold, it’s too late. You know, thinks like the crash of 07′ due to the sale of ‘AAA’ rated mortgage-backed securities that turned out to be grade A bull-crap. Or the ‘law school bubble‘ with the bogus statistics misrepresenting employment outcomes. Or, for that matter, the dot-com bubble around the turn of the century. It seems like we’ve seen this before. And if even the homeless are learning to code, the value of this skill might be decreasing faster than I can learn the basics…
Nevertheless, I will continue on my quest to become a coder in what I have dubbed “I am unjustly indebted, so I am learning to code” – to parallel the title of Leo’s benefactor’s blog “Finding the unjustly homeless and teaching them to code.” My debts may not disappear, and I may never learn the secrets of Phase 2. But at least it won’t cost me anything. And, I’ll learn a skill that today may not be universally known, but in the future may be as prevalent as typing. Or having a law degree…