Anger, thy name is Gerbilista

Note the red eye - must be caused by all the energy drinks!

Editor’s Note: This is Part Two in our ongoing team coverage of False Empty Nest Syndrome (or FENS).

Before I begin, I’d like to send shouts at the web site and their post about the “ista” suffix, something that has been just about been run into the ground and has hopefully run its course. Trying deliberately to be a dick, I went out of my way to use it, though, and came up the word “gerbilista” for this post. I was curious if anyone else had ever used the term (they had) and while checking I found by chance. Woot! 🙂

I’m pleased to report I was able to conduct an amazing amount of gerbil research in just the last two days. If you missed part one of this series, gerbil is the term I came up with to describe a youngling who fails to leave the nest, thus triggering the onset of False Empty Nest Syndrome.

A common gerbil may not have any resources, like actual money, but even so, the type of beverage that is prized by the gerbil is always of paramount importance. It may even be a matter of life and death. Beverages are used as a replacement for plumage and to establish hierarchy within the herd. The varieties of beverage may differ based on locality, but usually it is idiotic shit like Red Bull and Monster. The gerbil’s motto seems to be: “I may not have money, but I still want to pay over $2.00 for a smallish can of drink.” The particular gerbil I’m studying also has a penchant for coffee house drinks that can cost $3.25 each. Again, the actual cost is of no consequence to the gerbil – where there is a will there is a way. (This same concept applies to cigarettes, alcohol and drugs as well.)

Even if the gerbil can’t pay for its own food, rent, clothes, gas, insurance and cell phone bill (shocking, I know!), it always seems to find the determination and a way to the beverages at the end of the maze. No small amount of lying about finances may be involved and, when necessary, the gerbil is a master of moochiness.

Our gerbil owes us something like $600 in loans and a plane ticket to save his ass from being stranded in a big city far away. The gerbil works odd jobs here and there, so he has some income, and has yet never made any effort to pay us back while living for free in our house. Not even $5. To facilitate this absolute level of sloth, the gerbil must often lie and always claim, no matter what, to be flat ass broke.

A couple of weeks ago we hit a rough spot and Mrs. Abyss actually “borrowed” $30 from our gerbil. (Yes, try to wrap your minds around the concept of borrowing from someone who already owes you a lot of money.) Guess what? The gerbil is one of the worst creditors of all time. Who knew? Bring on the phone calls, “Hey, you got my $30 yet? I really, really need that!”

No doubt.

So Mrs. Abyss gave the gerbil her ATM card yesterday because the gerbil wanted repayment and she didn’t have any cash. The gerbil was under strict instructions to take $20 and only $20 no matter what.

Even if you aren’t a FENS scientist like me I bet you can see where this is going. We checked our bank statement and lo and behold there was a mysterious charge for $3.25 at a local coffee house. By weird happenstance it was our gerbil’s favorite coffee house. The charge took place during the same window that the gerbil physically was in possession of our ATM card. Of course, it goes without saying that the $20 was also withdrawn.

Naturally we asked the gerbil about this during his next deuce run. The gerbil denied everything. Oh no, it wasn’t him! He didn’t purchase any coffee with our card. He was adamant about it. That left us curious, since neither of us has been to the coffee stand in months. Offended by our gall, the gerbil stormed out of our home.

The main point I’m making is that gerbils have evolved an enhanced sense of what I’m calling “responsibility camouflage.” This camouflage kicks in during times of extreme danger, usually in the form of pathological lying. If you watch carefully, you may be able to catch a gerbil in the wild exhibiting this trait.

Stay tuned. More fun gerbil discoveries are no doubt right around the corner!

6 responses

  1. I’m enjoying the presentation of your research, but sorry you’ve got to gain your knowledge first hand.


  2. This is hilarious, though I realize it’s also sad because you’re dealing with your own gerbil and not some theoretical gerbil. We’ve had our own gerbils, and although they’ve been employed and not too much trouble, I have noticed a trend for the daughter gerbil to spend a large share of her meager income on nonessentials such as high-priced organic food products (not all of which can be justifed as being better for you and the environment), weird vitamin supplements and products and lots of clothes, and the son gerbil to buy many, many computer and other technical gizmos. Both seemed to love restaurant meals when there was great food at home. Both have college degrees in technology and business, so it’s very disappointing they aren’t doing more to make a more secure life for themselves. Still, the more money you make the more it is taxed away. As my dad liked to say about impossible situations, “it’s like throwing sand down a rat hole.” You can never fill the void.

    Perhaps, our generation are enablers. We’re raising a generation that wants to experience life as a banquet with someone else picking up the tab. A couple of my friends are this way, too. A friend who could barely make her house payment, hires someone to mow her lawn while she goes to the high-priced gym. It never occurred to her to do her own lawn work, which would have been exercise, and exercise at home, saving money both on yardwork and a gym membership. She’s very strong (after so many workouts!) so it wouldn’t have been too much for her to do. She also spends a lot of money at Starbucks. Lattes are so cheap to make at home! There’s a growing sense of entitlement in this country.

    A small segment of the population is making out like bandits, while the youngsters just want to connect electronically. When I was younger (while walking to school uphill both ways in the snow), we didn’t have much to buy. Now, these kids have so many consumer options — phones, ipods, etc. The monthly service fees are ruinous. Yet, these kids are doing little to produce income to support this lifestyle nor are they contributing to creating the products, which is being done in India and Asia. Meanwhile, taxes keep going up and up, services go down and down, while our government robs Peter to pay Paul. It doesn’t matter who’s in power. They’re all corrupt. (It’s cold and rainy here in Kansas City, as it was in California at the end of my trip, which included a tornado on the beach! I picked up a very bad cold, too, so that darkens my outlook. I did take some awesome surfers shots, which you can see on my blog.) As always, I love reading what you write. Maybe you should write a book!


  3. Thanks. It is supposed to be hilarious! 🙂

    I realize that the telling of the gerbil tale makes me look like a pussy of a parent. That’s the price I have to pay to entertain, I guess. 🙂

    Your insights really are spot on, too. One person I talked to expressed it like this: This generation has never experienced real fear (like the World War kind of fear) so they live their lives flat out and going broke, as if nothing will ever change and their immediate needs will always and easily be met. There is no saving for a rainy day.

    The story about your friend seems obvious from the outside looking in, but she probably doesn’t see it herself. When I hear something like that I always wonder about my own blind spots. I’m sure there are many!

    You touched on another aspect of gerbil behavior I only briefly mentioned: The cell phone and, in a larger context, the electronic cloud of social media. For being a 21-year-old male, you’d think he was a 13-year-old giggly teenage girl for the importance that cell phone has in his life. It’s the one thing he’s actually willing to work for and pay for. Yes, it rises to that level of necessity. Almost as high as energy drinks! 🙂 It rings and beeps every 5 minutes no matter what. He’s always calling someone, or looking at it, or using his digits to manipulate it as he sends text communiques. It’s also his lover and companion, providing entertainment, news, gaming, and even meeting all of his musical needs. It’s downright sick in my humble opinion. 🙂

    My cell phone? It stores phone numbers and makes and receives phone calls. It doesn’t have a fancy screen and it won’t even show a wallpaper. It does include the ability to send and receive text (I couldn’t find one that didn’t) but that feature is sparingly used.

    Another element I left out of my story: I scrimp and save every penny I can. I live a very meager lifestyle. I always pack a sack lunch, make my own coffee, go without, and postpone purchasing the few things I want. Meanwhile, while all of my wants and needs are on indefinite hold, I’m picking up a shit load of expenses for a gerbil who won’t do anything for himself and lives a hedonistic lifestyle, and in repayment lies to my face and treats us like shit. The end for that is very, very near.

    Thanks for the wonderful comments!

    A book? What a novel idea. Har. I do plan to look into that, though. I’ve got a few ideas. The working title so far is: “Human Beings and my time on Earth among them.”


    1. Yes, write a book. What a great title. You could write just about anything! Someone told me I should write a book for Kindle. While it may make little or (more likely) no money, it will have slightly more “prestige” than a blog, ha, ha. Until of course everyone is doing it. But seriously, you could write a comedy book. Or is it, comically you could write a serious book?

      Thanks for checking out my new surfer photos. I put a link at the bottom of the post that shows more. Surfers really do live in the here and now. You can really can get very zen watching them. But after you ride that wave to shore, you still have bills to pay. That’s why the surfing pros get sponsors. Maybe your gerbil can get a sponsor. He can get someone to pay him to wear their logo on his shirt, etc., instead of wearing logos for free. Maybe the coffee shop will pay him? Right now, stores actually charge us ordinary folk to wear their logos! Why do people want to wear logos for free for other people’s products, anything from Chanel to Aeropostal?


  4. Mrs. Abyss DID say to take out only $20 in cash. I’m skimming the post again but I don’t think there was any mention of not using the card to purchase a high priced latte. A loophole, perhaps? But the lying when confronted? No one should stand for a lying gerbil.


    1. I bow to you, once again! You are correct. I’ve learned that sort of loophole is highly prized in the gerbil culture! 🙂

      I have to concede that it’s possible that someone was able to purloin my wallet, use my ATM card, go the coffee stand, by the $3.25 beverage, then return the wallet undetected, thus proving that our gerbil was completely innocent.

      In the gerbil culture that is called “logic.”


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