Financial stability in 2018. What a steal!

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As the year comes to a close, it’s time to set a goal; some new skill-set to learn. Something that will improve my life over the next twelve months. In the ancient, forgotten era of 5 years ago, it was incredibly difficult to learn a new skill. You had to actually go out and interact… with tutors, customers, managers, trainers, and people in general. If you were a recluse with no real skill in talking to people, you were out of luck. The best hope you had would have been to develop schizophrenia and practice small-talk with yourself/selves.

“Hi, me. It’s so nice to meet me. Have I lost weight? Oh, me? Nah, I don’t even lift, bro.”

But that was ancient history. Nowadays, you have sites that teach you anything – YouTube videos that explain how to work on any software product, online universities that email your graduation certificates, teaching sites dedicated to developing your skill-set for five bucks a pop, and even websites that teach you how to use websites to teach yourself stuff.

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“Learn how to learn this lesson. If you manage to learn it, congrats, you’ve learnt your lesson.”

So learning any new skill is as easy as deciding which skill to learn. My first choice was to learn break dancing, but sadly, this isn’t 1983. A bit of anger management was next on my radar, but signing up for that course was so infuriating I punched  my laptop shut. I could have learnt the art of fighting procrastination, I suppose, but that can wait till next year. There was an online course on how to overcome laziness, but it just felt like sooooo much effort.

But no. I had to find out how to learn something that would actually be useful for me. Something that would address the problems life has thrown my way. Something that is the need of the hour. That narrowed down my options considerably. I knew what I needed to learn.

I needed to learn how to steal.

Admittedly, it’s not something that I could justify to myself at a moral level, and it’s something that I would have to learn from scratch. My only experience in this regard so far has been to watch an unhealthy amount of heist movies, and it’s not like the Fast and the Furious franchise is a realistic depiction of how thieves operate.

The Fate of the Furious | Universal Pictures

For example, pushing an active torpedo away with with your hands – in real life – would probably burn your fingers a bit… even if you’re wearing fancy gloves

So there is a long way to go. It’s not something I like to do, but at this point, there may not be many other alternatives. I am a resident of Dubai, where life is an enjoyable, pleasant party that you can’t really afford, but pay for anyway. And recently, my expenses have shot up like… like a torpedo that the Rock failed to push away. And they’re not going down anytime in the near future.

I’ll be hunting for nurseries for my son soon, and some of them charge two thirds of my salary for their services. They can do that with a straight face because frankly, they’re already on the advanced theft course.

In addition, the erstwhile tax-free haven of UAE has also decided to charge a 5% general consumption tax… or ‘value added taxes’ that trickles down to people like me and nudges costs up from merely ‘unaffordable’ to ‘seriously-unaffordable’. Some experts note that most of this cost will be absorbed by the businesses so that the average customer would feel only a marginal bump of 1 or 2%. This makes me feel teary eyed. It’s heartening how much faith they have in the business world.

This… this faith in the selflessness of corporations is overwhelming.

At the same time, the telecom services have cracked down on all that unhealthy free messaging going on in the dark, shady underbelly of pretty much everywhere around the globe. I had been relying on Skype to talk to people back home. It was a clear, easy, universal and free platform that truly helped me keep in touch with friends and family scattered around the world. But it was free, so obviously, the universe had no choice but to take that away from me.

Meanwhile, in my own country, India, we have a mild havoc surrounding the new taxation rules (GST) and its poor implementation. New rules also dictate how the money in my bank account will need to be linked to the new ID system (the Aadhar card), which I can’t procure without visiting the offices in person. This has resulted in my accounts being frozen. On a temporary basis, I hope.

So brazen thievery is at least a solution worth considering. As a bungling amateur, maybe I should start with beginner’s courses, like… I don’t know… Learn How to Steal Candy From A Baby in 10 Easy Steps, maybe. But that’s not going to help me with my utility bills. Maybe I should step up my game. However, searching for advanced thievery courses only linked me to tutorials on How to be a Politician, and I don’t qualify for those because my soul is not black enough yet.

Nope. There has to be a sweet spot in the middle. Burglary 101, perhaps.

First step is to buy the headgear. I mean, of course it is.

So, if I learn Batman-like Ninja skills, dressed in black, tiptoe into the night, pick a lock, enter the home of a sleeping family, and crack open their safes/wardrobes, I get to… gaze into their empty wallets? I mean… people don’t really keep money in their homes nowadays, do they? Plus, chances are that people who don’t secure their homes enough to thwart an amateur burglar are probably as broke as I am anyway. What am I going to do, then? Steal TVs and laptops? As if I my utility bills aren’t high enough already.

No, no, no. That’s not going to help. Burglary is not going to cut it. What I need is to go for the mother lode. Banks! They have all the money, right? They should be buried to the hilt with the green stuff. Plus, they’re the bad guys – ever since their corporate villainy surfaced in 2008, they’re the staple villain for the modern age.

So… how does one go about robbing a bank? There are no direct courses online, so against my first instinct, I have to piece together the strategy via Hollywood montage.

Firstly – and obviously – put together a crack team of professional thieves who are cartoonishly perfect for their jobs, and yet dysfunctional in adult society. Then hack into the bank’s mainframe computer, stalk the guards for six months, create a detailed, minute-by-minute schedule of their rotation, rappel into the bank from the ceiling, locate and neutralize the cameras by covering them with a photo of the lobby, replace the loot with fake counterfeits that somehow weigh exactly the same, and escape by rigging explosives to blast a tunnel to the outside world.

Importantly, find out if there are any brooding, loner cops in the city with a personal grudge against a team member. If there is, then it’s customary to taunt him/her with vague clues about the heist every now and then. At every stage, make sure there are at least four pithy one liners on stand-by.

Oceans Eleven | Warner Bros

Also, budget for one of the team members to eat, like, everything, all the time.

Perfect, isn’t it? I don’t know. It feels like I’m still missing something. Maybe I need to go for a classroom course by a master thief. Such courses are even harder to find, though. I can understand why. If you were a master thief, and you were to teach someone to steal, and the student steals from you, does that make you a good teacher? If he does NOT steal, does that make you a failure as a teacher?

I give up. It’s all too complicated. Besides, it’s probably not worth the risk anyway. I think the penalty for bank robbery is a hefty fine. And this year, those fines probably come with additional VAT too.

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