Monday, April 8, 2019

Modern Retirement, Featuring Billie Holiday "Strange Fruit."

America can be a wonderful place, if you check in all of the right boxes. Otherwise, times will get tough, now or later. Land of the free for some, home of the early grave for others. America has always been this way. 

It's even harder now in many ways. Actual lynchings are down, but extrajudicial killings by police are way up. For all of us, new requirements are being added frequently. Like money, lots of money. It almost doesn't matter how you got it, just so's you got it. Them as got it are doing fine; them that ain't are doing time, now or later. 

I never expected to make it to seventy. I suppose I should be grateful, because I'm better off than some of my old friends. One thing for sure, though, I never expected to grow old in a world where me and many of my geezer buddies, men and women, just assume that some day we will kill ourselves to escape some unacceptable situation. For some, it's a fear that someday they'll be so broke and so sick that suicide will be the easy way out. Others know that a day will come when they are an unsustainable burden on their families. They know that they will do the honorable thing. For me, it's a bright line in my bank accounts. I've got some money to throw at heart procedures, and other things that are almost manageable in my country of residence. But if I come down with something terrible and chronic, or if I spend myself down to that bright line, I'm gone, gone like a cool breeze, a memory. I'm not spending one Goddamned nickel at the doctors that someone might need to live on. 

No, if the doc tells me, sorry old dad, you've got (fill in the blank) cancer, and the course of treatment runs into the "all the money" zone, I'll just be responding, "that's great. Now lets talk about pain management and end of life care." 

This is all somehow wrong for a person who grew up in "the Greatest Country in the World." There are twenty countries that I could have been born in where my wife and I would be much better off than we are now, with me being a mere American. In case you haven't noticed, America just uses people up and throws them away. Anybody who still believes in the American Dream is a sucker and a Rube. 

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