- The tax system punishes you for not being married and not having kids. It also punishes you if you're under 25 and poor by making sure you can't claim the earned income tax credit. 18 year olds that live on their own under the poverty level don't need money, but 25 year olds do.
- The credit system punishes you for not going into debt constantly for things you don't need, for being responsible, for paying your bills on time every month. When you live like this they'll turn you down for car loans, but if you're already saddled with credit card debt from buying frivolous crap at Walmart, you can come on in.
- The legal system punishes you by ordering "damages" of a million dollars for every MP3 you you downloaded, while they make sure the jury is a bunch of technologically inept socialites that understand nothing about right or wrong that they didn't learn on Fox Noise Channel, who think that imaginary property is real.
- The welfare system punishes you for not being an unmarried woman with kids while also not looking for work. If you're a single man, you don't need niceties such as food. If you're a single mother not even trying to work they'll give you $400 a month in food stamps to sell for crack while your children starve. (The food stamp office tells me I can fill out 14 pieces of paperwork and send in enough ID for a Federal Top Secret Security Clearance background check to re-certify and get $11 a month)
- The "Capitalism" system ensures that people who don't benefit society at all and should be shot or hanged are billionaires, that the same people control the news and the government, and get to convince the workers that if they scrub enough toilets hard enough that they may be rich some day too. It doesn't matter who you are or how hard you work, they'll get rid of you if it makes their stock go up a quarter of a point or if you slight the supervisor. Shit rolls downhill.
- It's usually in your best interest to call a bill collector's bluff. Why not? If they were going to get something from you in court, you'd already be paying them. 9 times out of 10, they bog off and leave a black mark on your credit after rounds of mail alleging that "being sent to collections" or stating "pay in full or we will explore other options" is like being sent to their downtown office in Hell or something and not just an idle threat. (Note: It's fun to have a copy of the Fair Debt Collection Act, among other laws, on hand just to waste their time as you recite, specifically, why they can go explore those other options.) :)
- Game Theory is the best way to approach interactions with many other people. Too often we let the tide of emotion prevent us from analyzing the enemy rationally and it makes the chances of a favorable outcome go down significantly.
- There is such a thing as a no win situation, but if the chance opens up, get away with the shirt on your back. (PayPal and eBay are good examples of Game Theory, you give the money to PayPal and not directly to the seller because they could decide to keep your money and their merchandise. This example underscores that people are not to be trusted so strongly that you have billion dollar companies thriving by acting as intermediaries to assure you that you aren't being screwed.)
- Interpersonal relationships are like a miniature cold war all your own, complete with the Mutual Assured Destruction fallback.
- Random people always try to make sure that their problems are your problem, some even make problems up to garner attention, but when you're having problems, nobody wants to hear it
- Psychiatry is modeled on Game Theory. your psychiatrist uses this model to diagnose you. A model that almost nobody in the population can pass without being considered mentally ill. Abnormal is normal. Neurotic is in fashion. You're all diseased, now take your pills and don't ask what's in them. Exciting huh?
- In short, life can be best summed up as Charlie Brown and the football. You try to kick it and everyone keeps moving it away. Why keep trying to kick the football? We're programmed to. Maybe the solution is to kick the person holding it in the head and just say "Whoops, sorry, didn't see you there. Do you need an ice pack?"