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.

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573: Unacceptable Risk

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In America these days, there is no acceptable risk for something someone does not find useful to themselves.

We all get in our modes of transportation on a nearly daily basis, and willingly take the (rather significant) risk that our routine daily trip will not, this time, come to a horrible, bloody end. It does happen that way for many people the world over. We take that risk with nary a qualm.

We take other risks with insouciance, too.

Have you actually read the warning labels that come attached to most small appliances these days? Seriously? I think we should just improve the gene pool and leave these labels off, thanks very much. WHO showers while using their toaster? Or tries to dry their hair while still in the shower? The awful part is that SOME one obviously did it, or there would not be a warning label for the rest of us…who don’t actually need one, thanks.

I remember the prenatal class I took during my first pregnancy. They were very careful to warn us moms-to-be not to have sex (immediately after delivery) while we were still in the hospital.  I’m not too sure about the other moms, but that was a totally unnecessary warning for me – any man who got anywhere near me immediately after delivery had better have had a shot of morphine, not sperm. It wasn’t actually an experience I was looking forward to beginning all over again at that point, believe me. It took me nearly three YEARS to forget about how much better it felt going in than coming out. Once again, this warning prompts the question: WHO did such a thing, and was she conscious at the time? And as for risk, pregnancy and childbirth are still (even in this modern age) statistically pretty high risk endeavors, and still women do it all the time.

Risk. Actually, I take lots of risks when I get out of bed in the morning. Your home is full of mortal dangers: the electrical circuits, the bathtub, ceiling fans, the stuff crammed on the top shelf of the closet, the pets that weave in and out between your feet, assorted cleaning chemicals which can’t be combined (that bleach  and ammonia thing gets a few people every  year), food left on the counter, or saved a few days too long in the fridge….you  just don’t know all the stuff that can kill you once you take the risk and get out of bed.

Let’s just understand that risk is part of living. The only way to eliminate risk is to die – and then you have to hope that the funeral home dude isn’t a necrophiliac. You just don’t know – and at least, at that point, you just would not know (or care much, either).

Let’s get on with the business of living – and be mostly careful, without being nuts about it.

512: Top 10 Review of Lord of the Flies, by William Golding

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Top Ten Review of Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Number 10 – There are no women in this book

Number 9 – We learn you can start a fire with your spectacles. Yeah, we watched Survivor.

Number 8 – They are obsessed with pigs.

Number 7 – We learn that dancing will make you a savage – which explains why Baptists don’t allow it.

Number 6 – They set fire to the island….twice.

Number 5 – You can worship anything….literally anything.

Number 4 – A private place all to yourself is very, very valuable.

Number 3 – They are on an island, and nobody thinks to fish for food.

Number 2 – We learn that a diet of fruit will upset your stomach….duh.

And, finally number ONE: We are shown that boys are total animals, which girls already knew.

485: Cinderella…and her pransome hince

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There are a lot of women out there, apparently, who are looking diligently for their handsome prince. He is supposed to sweep her off her feet, and take her to his castle, where she will never work another day in her life, but spend her time instead making herself beautiful to be available to his every beck and call. At least, that is the impression of this particular Cinderella viewpoint that I get from talking to men.

They are, for the most part, a little less than thrilled to be cast in that handsome prince role. First of all, in this modern economy, most men would prefer a woman who does not mind shifting her beautiful butt, getting out there and earning a living, contributing to the bottom line of the couple’s joint income. Christian Grey is FICTION. They call it fiction because somebody made it up in their overly-fertile imagination. Let’s get real here, please.

Secondly, keeping and making yourself beautiful is not a work-free process, ladies. It might mostly be that in your young, high-metabolism and agile youth, but I can tell you from experience that stage does not last long. Pretty much after your teens and for the rest of your life, amen, you gotta actually work at being beautiful, believe me.

Too many women get the idea that a man is going to be their security blanket, and they are going to ride him off into the rosy sunset (forget the white horse) of a secure financial future. Ummmm….. no.

First of all, s…..tuff happens. In life, stuff happens that isn’t in our plans. Sorry about that, but it happens. From bitter personal experience, plus lots of similar stories from most of the other women I know, or have even heard about, I can assure you that life has some whoppers for you, too. No, that is not a tongue-in-cheek guarantee that your prince will be unusually generously endowed, with either cash reserves OR a bigger-than-average penis. Life is patently unfair, ladies, and it loves proving that fact to the unsuspecting. Especially to the unsuspecting.

Your handsome prince could DIE. It happens at some point to everyone, except a rare few that God just took. The rest of us die. Most of us who die have a significant other, whose life is suddenly in some considerable degree of disarray because we quitted this mortal coil. Not every prince kept up his life insurance, or made out his will, or invested well. Your rosy sunset could abruptly sour on the financial side. He could find a younger and more beautiful princess that he prefers over you, no matter how much you have worked to be beautiful. Maybe his finances take a downturn and it was nothing you did or didn’t do. If you are dependent on a man’s money, you forever will be vulnerable, period. Get a job.

Cinderella, provide for your own rosy financial future that you can share with someone, if you so choose. Maybe the one preferring a younger and more beautiful partner will be you, and not him, you just don’t know. But do it on your dime if that is the case, not on his. Be fair. Too many women are not fair. Men are not gold mines for us ladies to go digging around in. That is crass in the extreme, and not something a lady does. Stand on your own high heels. And be proud of yourself because you worked for it, not because you slept for it.

He has feelings, too, believe it or not. I am not claiming that every man is honorable – they can be every bit as crass as we can be. That whole younger and more beautiful partner thing proves that beyond any shadow of doubt. Still, there are honorable men out there, even if they are not too thick on the ground. Be honorable yourself, and thus worthy of honor from him, even if he falls short. Your conscience will be clear.

Since you get to live with yourself, being proud of yourself is important. It’s hard to be proud of yourself if you don’t treat others honorably. Do it for you. THAT makes you a princess, Cinderella.

464: Being Southern and Female

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Southern women are a chaotic blend of practicality and helplessness. Our problems often stem from being successful at both concurrently. Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone With The Wind, understood this dichotomy quite well and clearly, baldly described it for the rest of the world (not living or raised in the South) in her character description of Scarlett O’Hara, villainess/heroine (whichever view you take, both are equally valid) of that splendiferous novel.

Scarlett had a helpless streak that she used every time a man was around, because, of course, that was what a southern belle was supposed to do – depend on her man. SHE is too feminine to be subject to distasteful things such as bad language, financial difficulties, boorish manners, or anything else she wants to avoid. She gets a pass, solely based on possessing ovaries. Every southern man knows women are delicate magnolia blossoms that bruise at a firm touch. This view is pervasive in the south even today. You can still be publicly castigated by all and sundry for using foul language in the presence of ladies. Even if no one is willing to speak up and say anything about your public display of boorishness, you’ll get dirty looks for abusing feminine sensibilities. Imagine. This puts a lot of pressure on southern ladies, too. We know we are not supposed to swear, even when the situation warrants it, which occasionally does happen. We are also not supposed to sweat. Hello. The south is not noted for temperate climate. It gets freaking hot, especially in summer. There is an old saying about how horses sweat, men perspire, and ladies “glow.” WTF is “glow?” ??

Scarlett also had a ruthless streak of practicality, when her men were not falling into line with what she had predetermined she wanted them to do. She did it herself, by God, and damn the consequences. I personally like and prefer this aspect of femme fatale Scarlett’s dual personality. I can identify with it more easily than the helpless personna. It requires less acting on my part. It’s also a damn sight less embarrassing, too. And it permits discreet cussing, under the breath.

Works for me.

 

446: Eye Candy

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Darn it, there are some FINE looking men out there.

I like looking at the menu, even when I have no intention of placing an order. A taunt, well-muscled behind is a swivel-headed moment for me, especially when attached to a not-too-tall, tanned, dark-haired Adonis. And the sweep of wide shoulders tapering down to narrow hips is a definite plus, especially when he has that slightly bow-legged, cowboy swagger. Drool.

Some say that looking leads to wanting, and that is certainly true. However, I am old enough not to let my wants overpower my common sense, or my ethics. JUST SAY NO to a man who already has a lady. Women do not do that to other women. Girls (read children) do that to other women. Not happening on my watch.

Still. I do enjoy the scenery!

423: Sex Drive

download (7)The human sex drive is a good thing, designed by God for the preservation of the species. It is natural, normal. Unless you have had a total hysterectomy, in which case, who would ever want to do THAT? EEEUUUWWWwwwwww.

And then come the replacement hormones, especially, for me, the replacement testosterone. Testosterone, for those females who do not know, is Viagra for women. Times ten. Your husband will die a happy man.

Small problem. My husband is currently living and working in the United States. I am currently living and working in Panama City, Panama.  Well.

Like I said, it is normal and natural, even if the desire is a bit rusty, and festooned with cobwebs from lack of use. It is, however, embarrassing to catch myself checking out the male derriere on display (available or not). Sheesh. Some of those boys are WAY too young to come out and play. Seriously. Besides, who wants to fool around with their grandma?? Nobody, that’s who – thank goodness. Keeps me honest.

So, in the meantime, I have lots of energy I am devoting to getting accomplished all those projects at home that I have been putting off for months now: gardening, sewing, crafts, painting canvases, resting (!), and all those other creative things I love to do, but WAS casting a weary eye over when I got home from work each afternoon -when I shook my head over the project, and took my exhausted self to bed – to SLEEP until it was time to get up and go back to work again.

I might even select a few books out of my must-read stack and settle down in the front porch hammock with a tall, frosty beverage and a warm, purring lap kitty for a few hours of escapism – without falling to sleep in the middle of page one, like I have been doing for the past few months, before the replacement hormones took effect.

Life is so much better when you don’t spend every spare minute trying to recover from the rest of the day! I don’t know about you, but my ideal life scenario never consisted of work consuming all my waking hours, and things got pretty grim when I realized that was exactly what was happening. Thank goodness things are improving with the replacement hormones, even if some of the side effects of the hormone replacement therapy are a little embarrassing.

Don’t worry, though – the sex drive thing was never so important to me that I lost my control, unlike some politicians I could name………!