Interesting Times
December 9, 2008

Tracy complained. Frequently. At least that's my recollection. She would go up to the teachers and complain about seating arrangements. Or a particular student being noisy. And the teacher would "take care of it."

I would go up to the teacher and complain and be told to "deal with it."


When I queried various teachers over the years about this phenomenon which seemed so vastly unfair to my little elementary school self, I was told things like:

"You're stronger than so-and-so."
"I put Chris next to you because you listen to him - and that keeps him quiet. He doesn't act up when he sits next to you."
"You're smart enough to do your work correctly even when you can't hear my lesson."

And, of course, So-and-so complains all the time - I do what she asks to shut her up.

In other words, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

So, I tried to be assertive and squeak. I was told to quit being a brat.


It has always seemed to me that there were kids, adults, co-workers who nearly always got their way ... and those who pretty much never did. And then the rest of us, of course, fell somewhere in between.

I found out years later that one of the kids who used to squeak enough to deserve an entire factory of WD-40 devoted to him, was given leeway because of "his family life." His mom was an alcoholic.

Interesting. Out of a group of four in elementary school, at least three of us had an alcoholic parent and I didn't see great exceptions made for us. Well, for some of us.

What scares me a great deal about the way the current economic bailouts are going is that I'm seeing the same damn pattern. I see businesses and individuals who made stupid decisions, who should have known better, who shouldn't have done such risky things ... getting bailed out.

And folks and businesses who tried to be responsible and do the right thing ... be passed over.

Of course, we're so screwed at this point that I certainly do not have the ability to filter through all of the information and make any kind of decision over who should and who should not be bailed out. After all, if the big three auto makers finally collapse, this country is going to be in a LOT of pain for quite a while. But maybe it needs to happen if the damn CEOs can't pare down their lifestyles. I don't know. Maybe someone else will come in and buy up one of those companies and be able to fix things with reasonable wages for all.

I do know that a lot of what's going on economically right has a hell of a lot to do with greed and wanting to avoid consequences. "Sure, let's extend credit aggressively. The more we extend, the more money we'll make off interest because you know these dumbasses will spend more than they can really afford. And then we'll up their interest rate AND their limit so they can buy more. They'll be paying us interest forever and we'll have a steady stream of income."

Except there's that nagging little detail ... if those "dumbasses" spend more than they can afford, won't they eventually NOT be able to make the payments?

Oh, no problem. They can use a different credit card to pay us.

Yeah. That'll work.

And of course, that's just a tiny piece of the current mess.

We're in a bad situation, no doubt. If we were ... if our government were to let every company take the consequences of their actions in order for them to learn the lessons they need to learn ... I don't think we'd be saying recession. I think we'd be saying the 2000s and 2010s were the time of the GigaDepression. Maybe TerraDepression.

On the personal level, however, it's disheartening at the very least to see these CEOs in their fancy cars and ridiculously expensive clothes asking for government cheese. It's not earning them any popularity with the populous.

And then I hear about the family with the autistic and blind son who had their house rebuilt by Extreme Makeover ... and are now in foreclosure ... Dad worked for the auto industry in Detroit ... laid off ... had to take out either a second mortgage or a new mortgage on the house after being laid off ... after the show had already been through ... after his property taxes went up by $1000.

From the extreme gratitude and hope generated by the show ... to slapped back down to "their place." What right do the masses have to be happy and to hope for a better future? That's for the chosen few.

Not every squeaky wheel gets their own WD-40 factory, it seems.

Too many individuals are slipping through the myriad of cracks opening up in our economy and society. And the cracks are opening up far wider and with more frequency than we can comprehend, much less handle.

And all of this? This is why "May you live in interesting times" is a terrible freaking curse.

Posted by Red Monkey at December 9, 2008 6:51 AM | Never Underestimate the Power of Human Stupidity | Struggles | | StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble |


Tara R. said:

I heard an interesting compromise to the auto bailout on the radio today. Instead of doling out billions to them, give $40-50K to every household, for us to BUY an American made car and revitalize the auto industry that way. Works for me.

December 9, 2008 8:18 PM


PandoraWilde said:

Well said as always, hon

December 9, 2008 10:15 PM


Alan said:

I want MY bailout dammit. I ain't greedy and will be happy to settle for single lousy million. After all, I am in that tiny class of the Most financially marginalized people who can't afford to pay his student loans. If only I had blown that 3 grand on the slots or high living, it would be long forgiven by now. student loans Never go away.

December 10, 2008 4:24 AM
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