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simplicity and paying the piper

When it comes to living above your means and buying into the American dream of having it all right now, I am a veteran in a very small way. Oh, not in that live in the Hamptons and commute to Wall Street style, but a victim of credit mongers, nonetheless. Because of my own insecurities and lack of focus on what is important in life, I fell right into that line marching to the piper's tune of keep up with the Joneses and everybody else. When my child balked at wearing clothes from a discount store, we scurried on over to the mall with a credit card and bought something suitable that usually ended up in a yard sale pile for a quarter. We never quite kept up with the Joneses....or anybody else. All we got was a shitload of credit card debt with minimum payments barely made until the whole house of cards fell in a heap following a divorce.

The reaction of Congress to the bailout package has given me a glimmer of hope that maybe there are a few people left with a lick of sense in this country. I can guarantee you that when my ex-husband and I went to bankruptcy court overcome with credit card debt years ago, nobody offered to bail US out. We re-affirmed on the vehicles that got us to work and back and started over from scratch. That is not a bad idea for those who have so selfishly squandered our tax dollars over the years. In the words of my great grandpa: " There ain't no such thing as a free lunch."

Somebody pays every time a mistake in judgement is made. In this case, we will all pay if Congress bails out the opportunists who have lived a lavish lifestyle at our expense. I don't live in a big fancy expensive house because I know that I can't afford it. Period. It takes everything I have to buy fuel and food and insurance and afford a dollar beer at the kudzu when I'm feeling adventurous. This is main street USA, like it or not. We the people never get heard.

I caught some of Oprah today and it was all about the large population of a rural county in Ohio who are hopelessly addicted to heroin. I watched, slack jawed, as I heard the testimonies of a middle class family who gave up the ghost of what the American dream is all about for a needle and then it was all over but the crying. According to the report this epidemic of escapism as a lifestyle came in response to "boredom" with life in the USA. Go to work. Pay bills. Buy stuff. Pay more bills. If you feel that your government isn't representing you fairly, suck it up and pay those taxes or else you lose your birthday. That's the way it is here in the good old USA.

Hopelessness comes in many forms, and this country is as hopeless as I've seen it in my lifetime. And that, my friends, is because nobody listens to us. My prayer is for that to change for future generations. Being a baby boomer ain't all that it's cracked up to be. One can only hope that the young 'uns will have a softer gentler side from which they can pull strength and compassion for us when we are padding around on walkers in the nursing home.

Yes, I am disillusioned. I tend to get that way when people get greedy and don't play fair. While I realize that I am blessed to have the life that I live, so many others don't and that makes me sad. Pollyanna can only keep smiling for so long, right RG?

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