I guess I just wasn’t made for these times
Every time I get the inspiration
To go change things around
No one wants to help me look for places
Where new things might be found
I feel like I’ve aged ten years since March. The world has become this bizarre alternate reality where facts are seen as fiction and fiction is lauded as fact. Common sense, empathy, and community have had a knee to the neck and it’s just about lights out for the world I thought I knew.
But really, I’ve been living in a simulation of my own making. I am one of those privileged folks that hasn’t had to worry about being left behind because of the color of my skin, the neighborhood I live in, or the tax bracket I survive in. I make just enough money that I get by and my kids get shoes when they need them, clothes when school starts, and three meals a day. If we budget and save we can even go to an amusement park for a day, or rent a cabin to get away from the everyday grind for a week. Being lower middle class has allowed us to disappear into the horizon, if you will. We’re left alone, but if we ever run into some major calamity like a health emergency, job loss, or losing our house to a fire or tornado, we’re still left alone.
Sure, we have insurance. And as far as insurance goes it’s pretty good. But cancer treatments? Open heart surgery? Sitting in a hospital for a month recovering from a major injury? We’ll be knocked out of the game, man. Living life like I’m a lucky guy because I don’t end up in a ward for a month or two. That’s not living, really. We’re one fuck up away from losing it all.
What these last couple of months have taught me is that nothing is for certain. It’s all a very intricate dance with the universe, and if you step on the universe’s toes one too many times you get knocked on your ass and told “You lose!” Anymore I feel like a kid in class keeping his head down hoping the teacher doesn’t call on me for the answer. Because I don’t have the goddamn answer. I left my books in my locker and never read the chapter. I stayed up late watching Scanners on Channel 55 and am too tired to even comprehend the question. I wish I did have the answer. To anything other than what’s for dinner. Or when the Nipsco payment is due. Or the name of Ratt’s third album(it was Dancing Undercover.)
I see these protests and it gives me hope. Do I think in the long run they’re going to help? I’m no optimist, but I try to not be the pessimist I fight against. I feel I’ve always been more of a stoic, or realist. I want to believe in magic and good winning or evil, but I know the machine is working against us. People fighting racism, injustice, and an unfair legal system in the streets is the stuff I want to see that make the change. Strength in numbers. But here’s where the realist pops in and says “Yeah, but we’re just seeing the progress they want us to see. Those dark forces pulling reality’s strings are going to do what they want to do.” The wheel is turning and will continue to turn and roll in the same direction. I hope that the progress we’re given is going to turn the tide for people of color in this country.
But in the long run, it doesn’t matter what color you are. Black, brown, white, red, yellow, or purple…the money will stay with those at the top. Until we can run a country based on ideals of true individual freedom, common sense, and with WE THE PEOPLE at the heart of every decision we make as a nation, shit will never change.
But these are just the worries of some Midwestern schmuck who burns in the sun after about 15 minutes. I’m feeling a little raw. I’m worried about my kids and my parents getting sick because people are too stupid to just wear a goddamn mask when they go buy their groceries. I live my life based on common sense and facts. I try to not eat too many carbs and I’m working out more because I don’t want to have a heart attack when I’m 50. I deal with anxiety by drinking beers that have a high ABV, which in turn worries me because of the carbs.
There’s people being murdered by those who serve and protect for misdemeanors, people on respirators and life support because of some super virus that a large portion of Americans don’t think is real(or they think is “just the flu”), there’s peaceful protesters being attacked by others that are supposed to serve and protect, and I’m worried about my carb intake.
I just wasn’t made for these times, man.