The Great American Catch -22

I found this when I was digging around in some old assignments from school. I had to chuckle a bit at it. Things haven’t changed much in a decade. Except for maybe adding in Obamacare and the near requirement of having a smartphone which costs more than some cars I’ve owned.

The Great American Catch -22

 

“I’m sorry we can’t hire you. You just don’t have enough experience.”  I’m sure you’ve heard those words before, we all have. It is the old problem: you can’t get a job without experience and you can’t get experience without a job.  America is full of these frustrating “Damned if you do Damned if you don’t” loops called catch- 22’s.

The United States is often hailed and the land of opportunity and freedom. However, it is actually the land of stalemates and restrictions. We box ourselves in with these ironic restrictions in order to regulate our lives and make the country fair.

Car insurance is one of those areas.  The government requires drivers to carry auto insurance for the protection of other drivers. The government doesn’t subsidize car insurance. If a driver can’t afford to carry insurance, they are under the constant fear of being fined or having their license is revoked. If the driver can’t afford the insurance then how are they going to afford the fines?  If the driver’s license is revoked, how will the driver get to work, to make the money to pay the fines or to afford the insurance?

Health insurance companies are great at snaring Americans in catch-22s. Most doctors’ offices require you to have health insurance before you are treated. Health insurance companies require you to be in perfect health before you can be insured. So unless you buy full coverage insurance, including dental and vision, when you are born it is unlikely that you will ever be in perfect health. For some, even birth is too late.

America was once the land where a person could “go out and seek their fortune” by working and being creative. Fortune seekers are now hampered by the need for governmental regulation.  For example, if a person wanted to make a product and sell it they would first have to get a license to sell the product. To get the license the person has to know how much they are going to sell, but in order to do that they would have to sell some. It is easy enough to make a guess, but if the product is a new invention then the guessing is not so easy a task.

Financial institutions are masters of the catch- 22.  Trying to get a loan to buy a house is impossible unless the buyer has enough money in their pocket that they don’t really need the loan in the first place. Bankruptcy is the same way; the filer must have at least $500 to file the papers. But if the filer has $500 then why file bankruptcy why not pay off the bills. It is also impossible to build credit without a credit card; however you can’t get a credit card without credit.

Our personal lives are filled with these little ironic annoyances. If you have children you need more money to live. To get more money, you have to get a job. To get a job you have to put the children in daycare, which costs money. So in order to make money you have to pay out money. In many cases it is almost more money going out than coming in.

Or how about the adult who is returning to school to get a degree and a career? They must first find a job that pays enough money in order to afford college. However, the only way to get that kind of job is to have a degree and a career.

The American culture is self-destructive by nature. Americans demand the constitutional right to carry fire arms. They don’t stop to think why this is so necessary. We want to carry guns to protect ourselves from other people with guns. If there weren’t any guns we would not have to protect ourselves from people with guns.

America no longer has the ability to stop the catch-22. The American motto of “freedom for all”, means that anyone can have anything, anywhere. This creates the problem of trying to please everyone. But in trying to please everyone, it starts a catch-22.

Some of these catch-22s will make a person laugh and are apparent only if you think about them. Such as someone who buys a sports utility vehicle (SUV) that is loaded with all of the extra suspension and off-road perks and then only uses it to run to the grocery store. The Phone Company announces triumphantly that you can now report telephone outages over the Internet. But don’t you need a working telephone line to use the Internet?

Once, withholding education from the masses was the most effective way to control them now you simply turn them loose in America and watch them spin their wheels. They are too busy trying to make it somewhere to realize they will never get anywhere. Welcome to America.

 

Good Deeds

I’m not writing this to get praise but rather to remind people that the world does contain good people. Last week, the morning after Halloween I was walking my son to school and on the way back I found  this…

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It was lying folded up on the sidewalk about a block from the school. Whoever Naomi was she was going to be upset later when she found her money missing.

I could have ripped off the note and kept the $5, but I’m not that kind of person. I walked to the High School and headed for the office. As I started to tell my story, the secretary looked confused at first then when I produced the money she looked surprised and then concerned.  I told her that I had no idea who Naomi was but I was confidant someone did and I would like to leave the money with her to return. She was more that happy to help. She was sure that Naomi would indeed be upset that she had lost it and she would restore it to the poor girl.

I thanked her and headed home feeling like I’d done a good deed.  I hope that Naomi got her money and I hope this will help others know that honesty is still alive and well. Doing a good thing when there is nothing to gain is a character trait we should all cultivate.

Now go out and do good!

A floating piece of fuzz

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I took a hot bath last night trying to sooth some aching muscles. As I soaked it noticed that I had been joined by a floating piece of fuzz. I could have been from the carpet or a sock it was hard to say. For lack of any other entertainment I watched it as it floated around in the water. It bobbed just below the surface never quite reaching the air. It swirled and drifted wherever the current took it. Lost in a vast sea of hot water. It never quite made it to “landfall” either every time it would float close to the side of the tub or my leg it would hover just out of reach like there was some kind of barrier keeping it from reaching that anchor.

I watched it for a long time and then tried to catch it and help it on its way to “dry land” but it eluded me with what seemed like determination. Eventually the bath drained and the little piece of fuzz had stubbornly stayed in the tub. It finally managed to cling the surface and was left behind when the water tried to carry it down the drain.

It made me lonely. Then I realized this was a visual metaphor for our destinies.

We float and drift where the current takes us so near to what we think we want but never quite making it. Then we sabotage ourselves by resisting the help that others try to give us certain that we can do it on our own. Always sure that we know what is best for us. Without help we will always be floating with an invisible barrier between us and where we could be.

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Don’t just float waiting for help you won’t accept! Paddle! Paddle for all you are worth and make landfall! Accept help whenever you can! No man is an island…nor is he a lone piece of floating fuzz.

Generation Y move over. Here comes Generation Do I Have To

There are times when I just want to scream! I know it makes me sound old but the kids these days! ARGH!

I am part of Generation X. No one had any idea what we were going to do. Some of it has been good and some bad, but at least we are trying.     Then there is the Y Generation, questioning everything wanting to know why it can’t be better or different or even why its there to start with. I can understand that. Change comes from questioning things. I’m okay with that.

But the next group coming up AHHHHHHHH! They are the Do I Have To Generation!

They don’t want to work anymore than they have to. They don’t want the effort to outweigh the benefits. Come on people! If you don’t work for something you’ll never get anything.

I blame the “everyone is a winner” philosophy that started a few years ago. They didn’t want any of the kids to feel bad about not winning so they all got trophies. Well folks, I’m sorry, but someone has to win and someone has to lose. That is the nature of  life itself. I’m not talking about sporting events alone. There are all sorts of things in the world that require competition: jobs, health, survival of species.

If there is no winning or losing then there is no DRIVE! If there is nothing to strive for then why get up in the morning? Oh wait, I forgot most of this generation DOESN’T! They expect it all to come to them! Technology is helping their cause making everything easier and more accessible from the couch. Yes, we all dream of being independently wealthy but that doesn’t mean its going to happen on its own. Sometimes you have to go out and beat the world into submission and drag home your success like spoils of war!

Craftsmanship, Art, pride in your work, and Creativity is in decline! Stand up! Do something! Don’t be the Do I Have To Generation! Please for the sake of our species, be the Generation that demands excellence and strives toward that beacon of success like your lives depend on it because it DOES!

The Have and the Have Not

She Has.

Her life is everything you could want. She has a big beautiful house. She has clothes from the latest designers. Jewelry that could feed a nation. There’s a car in the garage for everyday of the week.

She throws A- list parties and invites all her friends. She spends the whole time wondering if her friends a gossiping about her. Are they all judging her house, her clothes, her family? Where is her husband anyway? He promised to be here. Was she not good enough anymore? Did she need plastic surgery? Would that make her worth it again?
She stares out the window dreaming of a better life.

She Has Not.

She lives in a subsidized apartment. She wants to work but cannot. Her wages won’t pay for a babysitter or daycare and the bills so she stays home. She tries to be the best mom she can but it’s hard to always tell her children they cannot afford the things their friends have.

The only thing she has to give is herself. She takes her neighbor her leftovers even though her family could make another meal out of it because she knows that her neighbor has even less than she does.
She sits outside at night with her friends and neighbors and they talk until it’s dark watching their children play together. United by circumstances but not judging each other.
She stares into the night and dreams of a better life.

Breathing is good.

If I could just organize the world how I wanted it, things would be so much easier.

I don’t mean that I would make myself rich or suddenly be married to some movie star. No. I just want to make it so that family can live all in the same house. This living with one member of the family gone is so hard. I feel more for the families of soldiers than for the soldiers themselves. It’s the waiting and the wondering that is the real killer.

The next thing i would reorganize is the availability of help for my son. Having to search out OT or speech therapist or even doctors that understand what is going on is a pain. We have to make 15+ hour trips sometimes to find the right kind of help. It is hard enough to deal with the day to day of living with an autistic child but to never have what you need is a real pain in the ass. Don’t get me wrong I would go to the ends of the earth for my son. I’ll do whatever is necessary to get him help, but this is the good ole US of A and if you don’t have tons of cash well then you are usually out of luck. Needless to say I don’t have tons of cash. So medical bills plus travel expenses are killing our family.

The third thing I would fix is me. My health sucks, I have a degenerative disc in my back, fibromyalsia, thyroid issues, anxiety and depression issues, and hip trouble. I would love to have a day without pain. I would love a night when I could sleep the whole night without pain.

There are a few other things that I would alter in the universe but you get the idea.

However, I can’t change any of it so… I’m going to love my family, do what I have to do to help my son no matter how hard or how expensive (hence the reason I just got a job cleaning motel rooms). And as far a my health…well…I’ll take what relief I can get and thank God I’m in as good a shape as I am so I can take care of my family.

I will revel in that 30 seconds of happiness whenever something good happens and breathe. Don’t forget to breathe. Breathing is good. All problems can be solved as long as you have breath enough to fight and to pray.