607: Independence and Subsidies

 

AntGrasshopper

It used to be that Americans were independent and took care of their own.

Why is it now the responsibility of other citizens/taxpayers if I fail to adequately plan, provide for, and save for my own retirement (what used to be called my ‘declining years’)? When did that personal failure become a subsidized ‘right’?

Was it when the US government established the Social Security program in an effort to ameliorate the fallout from those grasshoppers who foolishly played and spent their lives away, while the ants prudently saved and stockpiled against an uncertain future?

Now that social security is firmly entrenched (even if the last generations of lawmakers have plundered the fund to help offset their own grasshopper profligate spending) Americans save even less than they ever did – and our performance as a nation never was too good on that score in the first place.

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Yeah, I’d LOVE to have spent my productive years engaged in pursuing my own interests (financially supporting or not) instead of reporting to work – but having proved myself stupid enough to be willing to work, I don’t qualify for any benefits for sitting on my fat behind.

The idea is that people work to support themselves. Each one responsible for him/herself – unless you have turned over your financial future to someone else who agrees to be responsible for both themselves AND you (this is what many women believe marriage is for – absolving them from all responsibility). If you put your care into the hands of another person and they fail to make adequate provisions for themselves and for you in the event something happens to them, well, they failed you.

My first husband did that – he let more than a half million life insurance policy lapse a few months before he unexpectedly died. Thank God I was already a working wife, and didn’t have all my eggs in his little basket, so I had something else to fall back on besides Uncle Sam. Plus, in the past, families cared for each other. When a family member became disabled or elderly and needed care, they were cared for within the family unit – not handed off for the government (really, other citizens/taxpayers) to care for.

It isn’t the fault of the citizens that you failed to provide for yourself – it isn’t even the fault of the citizens that you are disabled, and need assistance. Neither is it their fault if accident or illness befalls you that you didn’t plan for. Yup – it’s a tough break when that happens. Thankfully, assistance is available for those who are unable (legitimately unable, not having simply purchased their disability from an unethical physician) to provide for themselves, but it still isn’t the fault of others that they are disabled, such that others are then required to pay their way.

THAT is what used to be called charity, before charity became a dirty word, and it used to be the province of faith-based people who took up the slack and provided that assistance locally. They knew their neighbors, and they knew who really needed the help, and who needed the harsh life lessons earned by making very poor decisions.

You know, like the grasshopper.

578:Random sh…..stuff.

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The government has married many, many women. These women marry the government when they choose to stay at home and have children to support themselves on the government dole. Many actually refuse to marry their children’s father(s), and raise those children in a nuclear family, because they are unwilling to give up the free government money. When they can obtain benefits that are sometimes more than they can earn working a no-skills job at minimum wage (all many are remotely qualified for, if that), where is any incentive to work? There isn’t any.

Our government is enabling addictive behaviors among many, dis-encouraging them to get jobs and support themselves. The trouble is, cutting them off also disenfranchises the innocent children they have spawned to earn their living upon. How do you provide benefits to children while not encouraging their deadbeat parent to spawn more children to get an even bigger government handout support check?

Is it just me, or does anyone else absolutely despair at the fact that either Clinton or Trump will win this upcoming election? They are both awful candidates – how did we sink this low, that these two are our choices? Boggles the mind, for those who have one – which means not many Americans, evidently.

IS anyone actually campaigning to do away with police? Seriously? That isn’t a country I want to live in. Yes, I understand that not every single police officer is ethical. Guess what? Neither is every single practitioner of any other profession: medical doctors, politicians (duh), lawyers, judges, presidents, preachers/priests, scientists/researchers, sports athletes, you name it. We are routinely and frequently advised by the news (if you can trust journalists (:-() that people of all professions fall short of the glory of God, or even of basic honesty. Still – I think we are far, far better off WITH a police force than without one.

Learning to live with another human being is hard work.

I have discovered that getting thin takes hard work and dedication that I do not possess on a continuing, daily basis – and THAT is why I continue to be fat, despite intermittant and dedicated short-term willpower. One slip undoes DAYS of good behavior – sometimes weeks. 😦

Whether someone is gay (which lifestyle I personally disagree with) or chooses to abort their offspring (which choice I disagree with) ultimately does not affect me in any way whatsoever. What those persons do affects them and their lives – and you know what? People have the choice to throw away their lives in various ways, including suicide (which I also disagree with) and their decisions are their own. Their decisions are between themselves and their God (or lack thereof) and YES, they may be ill or mentally unfit when they make those decisions. It isn’t always apparent that they are unfit when they choose to do themselves harm with drugs, food, alcohol, gambling, sex, or any number of other life-destroying choices. YES, we should do what we CAN do to encourage people to do better things and make better choices. NO, it isn’t my fault when they make those choices anyway, when there are programs and options they can take, and don’t. For the love of God, I have enough to do trying to live my own life in an ethical and caring manner. Enough, already.

I dislike out present cradle-to-grave government. I do not believe this is what government was supposed to be doing. I want OUT. Repudiating my American citizenship is an option, but I also don’t know another country to go to and at present there is no such thing as “citizen of the world.”

Our government pushed native American Indians onto the worst land possible as their “reservations.” Now that they are discovering those lands have resources and are not as barren as was originally thought, Americans should PAY them for the use of those resources. Plus, we need to GO AROUND their reservation lands when we have some project for the nation, like the pipeline. We stuffed them onto those lands – now, BACK OFF. Respect what we made them accept in the first place!

A teacher has a huge influence on their students. But nobody can save every kid. It has to be a two-way street. I can choose to reject every overture you make. I can refuse to learn, and some students do choose exactly that. Maybe later they will gain some interest and motivation. Maybe another teacher will try again and reach them next year. Maybe school isn’t for everybody – imagine that. Not everything is a teacher’s fault, like not every cop or politician is a bad one. Heck, there are even a few competent and ethical used car salesmen out there.

Enough, already.

572: Family

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Family can be your greatest treasure and resource, the source of unending strength and encouragement.

Family can be your greatest disappointment, the source of incredible angst and unmitigated pain.

Some family members are the most stalwart, loyal, got-your-back, genuine humans on Earth

and some can’t be trusted as far as you could throw Mount Everest on a clear day.

Some show you a genuine and honest face of acceptance and unending love

others show a mask of genuineness and honesty that is as pretty and as false as a cubic zirconia – and is worth even less.

As you grow older and wiser, you learn to appreciate and honor those who return your love, and to avoid those who don’t.

Even if you gave birth to them.

527: I’m Toast

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I am embarking on a new phase of life. At age fifty-mumble, mumble, I have determined that I will marry. A man I met online. Whom I have yet to meet face-to-face. Stop screaming. Yes, I know. I really, really do know. I do hear what my friends and family have had to say and their concerns are valid. They are valid. I am taking my time, and being careful – as is he.

I have learned in a year and a half of living alone for the first time since I ….for the first time ever, that I do just fine living alone. I have hobbies. I go to the gym, I cook decent meals. I read books and see movies. I chat with friends, and socialize with them, too, on occasion. I have discovered I rather like myself, and we have become such good friends that I like being with just me rather a lot. So, why marry at all?

Toast is the metaphor for me to help explain this choice (to you and to my friends and family). I like toasted bread. I prefer toast that is like my single life: dry whole wheat. Nutritious, healthful, low-calorie, calm, plain. Not boring plain, tasty plain. When it is plain, I can add jam, honey, or syrup, peanut butter or Nutella now and then, if I choose – just like my single life and its occasional, special treats. Otherwise, I prefer the plain, dry whole wheat toast. I like it.  Often, while I am reading, I will toast a slice and consume it without even hardly noticing it, except for the satisfying crunch.

Toast with butter, however, is different. It is rich, complex, full of flavor. Buttered toast is unable to be consumed absently while otherwise engaged in reading my latest fiction selection. It demands my whole attention, that toast, because if you don’t pay close attention to it, it will drip melted butter down your fingers all the way to your elbow, sometimes messily dripping off to stain my tidy slacks or my nice, clean dress. Toast with butter is married life. It can be messy and untidy, but the experience of having it makes dry whole wheat pale in comparison. Yes, it demands your attention and effort in ways that single living does not. But the richness of married life, with an honest, loyal, and committed partner, is what I’d rather have, thanks just the same. And I can still add the occasional toppings when I like to buttered toast – it isn’t just butter only forever and ever. Occasionally, just for fun (for a day) or when necessary, I can even have it plain again. 

The process of creating a secure, stable married relationship begins with communication, and that can and does happen online in many of the identical ways that it happens face-to-face. Yes, there are people who misrepresent themselves online (which admittedly facilitates that deception somewhat), but the same thing happens all too often in the face-to-face situation as well. We have had months of conversation, and will have months more, before we meet. In a public place. 🙂 After all, he does not know 100% if I have represented myself honestly and accurately, either.

I have also given much thought lately to the centuries-old tradition, still extant today, of arranged marriages, where the families decide and often bride and groom meet face-to-face only after the vows are spoken and the papers are signed. Many of those marriages actually do work. There isn’t necessarily a lot of evidence that our modern notions of how things are supposed to be done is the better way. Commitment is commitment.

Either way, I’m toast.

458: Trucking On

I am a prisoner in this truck. I am not even a CDL (commercial driver license) driver, I am merely a passenger. I was trying to visit my husband, who IS a newly-certified, licensed, tested and inspected CDL driver. When his company-owned truck developed problems and he was stuck waiting for repairs over Christmas, I cashed in a previously-purchased American Airlines flight ticket I would otherwise have lost had I not used it for this purpose, and flew out to Omaha, Nebraska to see him, after I spent a couple of days visiting the rest of my family in Georgia.

I expected to ride with him on his drives for about a week, since he was supposed to be routed on deliveries to Atlanta to pick me up, and to drop me off, for this jaunt. That was December 28. This is January 7, and the next run is to some freaking place in MICHIGAN. That has absolutely nothing in common with ATLANTA, GEORGIA. The next delivery after that is scheduled for Missouri, which is also further north and west of where we are now, in West Virginia. Wrong direction, dispatch!

I got desperate enough to check the tickets to Atlanta on Greyhound buses, for Pete’s sake. The bus costs nearly as much as it would cost to freaking FLY. Bus tickets were supposed to be cheap enough for people who do not have enough money to buy airline tickets to buy them instead. At least, they USED to be cheaper! Buses are certainly less comfortable than the airplane, and there is no snack served, either, so the bus ticket should be considerably less expensive than flying. Not so!

Ah, well, as I write on the truck stop provided Internet while serving the mandatory 10 hour refresh down time to be able to drive again, I have discovered that my brother’s expected children have been born January 6th – twins: one girl and one boy. Graydon James and Elise Drew – making me a new auntie twice over. In addition, while visiting my family, my daughter announced that she and her husband are now expecting their first – making me a grandma-to-be later this year. It is quite clear that life does go on – even if I am stuck in a truck!

453: Yours and MINE

I respect that you are concerned with protecting your turf. What you fail to take into consideration is that “your turf” was MINE long, long, long years before you ever came into the picture. I stepped aside to make room for you, and now, you are protecting your turf – from ME.

You know what?

My mama raised me to be a woman, not a freaking lady, and I don’t give a good rat’s ass about manners when it comes to my family. YOU are a recent addition to my family, and there are loyalties that precede your arrival. I am trying to be respectful to you, but frankly, I don’t give a good rat’s ass what you think, and I don’t care a whole lot more about protecting your tender feelings.

You watch your rat’s ass, because I may just mow you down.

427: Watermelons, Panamanian Style

I am from Georgia in the USA. We are an agricultural, rural state, if you can ignore those few square miles around Atlanta. Cordele, Georgia claims to be the watermelon capital of the world – and well do I recall getting forty-pound-plus melons for fifty cents.  Georgia claims some whopper, prize-winning hugemongous melons.

Here in Panama, things are a little different. In the first place, it is summer year-round, so watermelons grow here all the time. Secondly, most Panamanian are not wealthy. They do not have an American-sized refrigerator, necessary if your family buys a Georgia-grown watermelon at any time other than a birthday, a BBQ, a family reunion or a church social. At those functions, you’ll need several melons, and there won’t be any left over. Bring the salt.

Here in Panama, though, a family fridge is not a whole lot bigger than a college dorm model, and a Georgia melon is not going in there, unless that is ALL that is going in there. So, Panama adjusted. Not the fridge, the melon.

E-tee-niney watermelon slices, Panama style!

E-tee-niney watermelon slices, Panama style!

This is the size of the melons I usually see offered for sale here in Panama. It fits in the fridge, assuming there is actually any of it left over. When I get a Georgia craving for watermelon, it takes two of these tiny babies to do me.  By myself.  Heck, we would probably not even bother to pick those watermelons, and would leave those in the field! Still, they do taste good, even if they are small enough to hold one in one hand……..