Have you ever had a conversation with someone where it occurred to you that this person is suffering from myopia of the brain? They think they have it all figured out from behind a protective screen of comfort and privilege? Of course I know that we are all a product of our own experience and upbringing, but sometimes it seems that there is something fundamentally lacking.
Perhaps the ability to figuratively walk a mile in another man’s shoes is a rare ability. All it takes to get me foaming at the mouth these days is to watch FOX news for 30 minutes. The big catch phrase for the last year or so is “a sense of entitlement.” It looks good on paper, but the reality is something very different. Does someone who is looking for a job, but can’t find one, have a sense of entitlement because they think that they should be afforded the opportunity to provide a roof over the heads of their family and food on the table? Do they have a sense of entitlement when they have a child who needs medical treatment, but can’t afford it because insurance premiums would cost half of their monthly salary at a minimum wage job?
Or how about a woman who is rotting in prison for 10 years as the result of mandatory minimum sentencing laws, while her children left behind are funneled into the bizarre and profoundly broken foster care system, guaranteeing them a life of being in the system and probably getting into a lot of trouble before they even reach adulthood.
Well she deserves it they say. Her crime? Maybe she took a phone message for someone who called the house looking for her boyfriend, husband, son, etc. and unbeknownst to her it turned out to be someone looking for drugs. So she is charged with “conspiracy to distribute drugs” and away she goes into a prison system crowded with people who are in there under mandatory sentencing laws on ridiculous trumped up charges to prove that we are winning the “war on drugs”. In my opinion this war has turned into a “war on poverty.” Criminalizing any attempt to escape the rat cage.
Poverty, homelessness, addiction… these are all complex issues, and I’m the first to admit that I have no clue as to how to solve these problems. However, I do know that turning it around to blame those in need and claiming that all they are looking for is a free ride is not the answer.
Yesterday was a mopey kind of day for Mr. Husband and me. Our beloved Texas Rangers lost to the Cardinals in the last game of the World Series. I’m glad it’s over. At the end of it all I declared that I hate baseball. It’s 99% boredom and 1% terror. It’s too much emotional stress over a game.
So we hung around the house doing not much of anything. I didn’t even get out of my pajamas until after lunch. But I also had that vague feeling that something was hanging over my head. That waiting for the other shoe to drop kind of feeling.
Well the other shoe, a great big ole mud covered boot, fell on my head. The grandson who was staying with us until a month ago to get clean sent a string of text messages. He didn’t have the stones to call me on the phone. My suspicion was that he was afraid that I would hear in voice that he was drunk or worse.
“I need money or I’m going to be evicted tomorrow.” Always the drama queen or King in his case. I didn’t respond. Maybe being homeless will be the wake up call he needs, or even jail. I’ve been down that road many times with his mother. It’s a dead-end road with dragons and demons waiting. I’m not pouring any more money down that black hole.
A few minutes later, before I even had time to respond, “Well I take that as a no…”
Then, “Well I shouldn’t even ask you, I knew you what you would say.” He plays the pity and guilt card. Slick, but I’ve lost that round so many times that I know not to play the game. Mr. Husband’s response was “well sweetie, he learned at the feet of the master.” He was referring to my daughter. True, so true.
About an hour later, “Well keep an eye on the news, Gram.” Say what?
He also texted me a picture. A picture designed to curdle my blood and hoping to get a rise out of me, obviously. He was shirtless, displaying all his tough guy tattoos, sporting some weird-looking rapper beard, and a pimp chain around his neck, and expensive shades. He has the whole gangsta look down pat. I have to hand him that. A picture speaks a thousand words. This picture said “look at me, Gram. Give me money or I’m gonna be a dealer or an all around scum bag, take your pick.”
That picture was a kick in the gut. It made me mad. No, that’s an understatement. I got white-hot, bitch slapping, bunker busting, dish breaking, furniture kicking furious. I calmed down and Mr. Husband took me to a nice Japanese restaurant to cheer us both up.
Later that I had an epiphany, or one of many epiphanies. I am sick and tired of getting tortured and bullied. If I had a dollar for every time someone in my extended family and their significant others called me in the middle of the night claiming that if I didn’t “help them out” by giving them money, they would kill themselves, or worse, I would be rich.
Or richer maybe. Mr. Husband and I are not suffering financially. I’m fortunate in that cutting back, for me, means, buying 1 new pair of shoes instead of 3. But somewhere along the way it seems that people think that “hey, I have no money. I’m able-bodied and can provide for myself. BUT, you have more so instead… give me yours. If you are not willing to fork it over, I’m not above extortion and yanking on your heart-strings. I’m not going to be satisfied until you come down here to the bottom of the well and be miserable with me!”
What has happened here? A sense of entitlement seems a much to bland way to describe what is going on. I never in my 56 years asked a family member or anyone else for a loan. I used to think I had too much pride to do that. But, maybe pride is a good thing. I’ve always thought that if was my job, not anyone else’s, to take care of me. All of me, all my needs, all my wants, are my responsibility. I’m completely kaflemped and befuzzled. I just don’t get it.