Economic Discrimination

Pray for the less fortunate: I just read of 3 houses that were consumed by fire in my old neighborhood. 3 persons injured. I gasped at the news of a mansion on fire in Colt’s Neck, New Jersey, because that is where Bruce Springsteen lives! 4 persons dead there, 2 of them children. I go through a litany of people and intentions nightly, as I pray in bed, unable to kneel anymore, reminding myself that while women are likely to live longer than men, we are also statistically more likely to become disabled. If I had a choice, I’d choose sudden death, cardiac, because men have the edge on us all through life. Power, no need to wear high heels, makeup, dressing to impress, sexiness is our currency. If we don’t have that, and the look of youth, what use are we? Men don’t have to conform to that standard. They can come on national TV wearing an undershirt, like Simon Cowell does! And get away with that, because he looks like he does, and is rich and famous. Cocksure they are! They keep the cherries for themselves, engaging in a society wide economic terrorism, which keeps women most often in their place, because money is power. And women routinely are undervalued with the studied rate of 72 cents to every dollar a white man earns, at jobs that are more plums, and even when a woman takes on more, and more, in duties, in county government, she is still undervalued, when she shows what she has done, and still, paltry raises, like 1% per year, which lags inflation, which means you get poorer over time…and so does her family. Everyone around her suffers as she is undervalued, and can’t get the things that improve her life, like a fancy gym membership, with 1 on 1 boxing classes, that are directly responsible for an over 100 lb weight loss, as part of a regimen to overcome, and have a good life.

They take extra jobs, like fire inspector, doing more hours, saving the county oodles of budgetary dollars, but when it comes time to reward her for her vigilance and so much more, they say she is in the union, even though she is not. She doesn’t pay dues anymore, and has been let go from that yoke. Being in the union keeps her salary artificially low. She is management, but they won”t give her that title, or the salary commensurate with the new rank. They piss me off, because she is the best they have ever had!!! And they are throwing her away, as so much unnecessary detritus, basically unvalued, and admitted by some, because she is a woman, and sexism is rife in middle America.

When you unvalue someone’s work and sacrifice, you are declaring power over less fortunate people, and the men by extension put more pressure on themselves to perform, to be breadwinners, to drop dead faster, from high stress, because they didn’t want women to be equal. They cut off their noses to spite their faces! Makes some real sense, right? Go out on top, with power, a smile on your corpse face, because when you unvalued the women, you also unvalued yourself. And your families all suffer, collectively, when women don’t get what they are worth. Time for this travesty to STOP! 

“Get a life” like William Shatner said, re Trekkers, long ago. But this means treating us all equally, no matter if man, woman, black, white, Asian, Latino, LGBTQ, young, old, disabled or not, as long as the work is still doable with reasonable accommodations, wearing a long beard, shorts, skirts, sandals, work boots, makeup or not…these are not the criteria by which we consent to be judged!!! Judge us simply on whether we are adding value to your enterprise, and deserve to be rewarded thus.

I was also a victim, in my work life. Over many years, of a working lifetime, with suppressed wages, which impacts Social Security later, contributing to senior years poverty for many, as SS is the only source of retirement income, for so many. Only because my mom was married to my dad for over 10 years, she was able to collect his much higher SS rate, when he died, which covered the loss of alimony, upon his death. And even then, I had to take in my mom, because the money ran out, and was never enough. And that is part of why I live alone today, paying for this societal disgrace, with my very life. Poverty of women continues through the generations. STOP NOW!!!! 

Thanksgiving 2018

Baked brie, pumpkin soup, almonds, walnuts, raisins, ruggalach, rainbow cookies, succulent brine soaked turkey, 2 kinds of stuffing, both with and without sausage, sage, thyme, cranberry relish with clementines, cornbread, creamy mashed potatoes with garlic, sweet potatoes with marshmallow topping, string beans, asparagus, several kinds of wine: merlot, cabernet sauvignon, and sweet too, like moscato d’asti. Sometimes Swedish meatballs, and other surprises too. Always the 8 inch round triple chocolate mousse cake, with dark, milk and white chocolate, decorated for the holiday. Also, coffee, tea, pumpkin and apple pie, a la mode with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, if you like that…

Preceding, a platter of crudité, with dipping ranch dressing, cheeses cubed, olives, gherkins, because the feast is waiting to be served up, upon arrival, with an over-busy kitchen, and many hands, all eager to help. Also, because the family is partially Italian, we have the nice meats out on a platter too: prosciutto, capicola, salami, etc. Reminds me of Roma in all her splendor, at the St. Regis Grand Rome Hotel, with its sumptuous breakfast buffet daily…only this home is my family, cousins, with love, working their butts off, to make us feel welcome, and loved too. A different feeling of love, and thanksgiving, from my soul. My favorite feeling of the holidays, which is otherwise quite barren, in that I have no other blood kin alive anymore, and a lack of children as well, except for these cousins, who have been a highlight through the years for me, but they are awaiting moving down south, in some few years, because of retirement, and the children’s college graduations, and then there is no need for this house in cold West Orange, New Jersey.

And then Thanksgiving will be forever altered to nothingness. But we have today, and for this, we are thankful. I bring with me a friend who also has no viable family to spend the holiday with, and who feels welcomed and comfortable with my family, because she fits in. We are all glad she is with us.

And this is the real curse of having major holes in a life quilt: that the years that would be necessary to find and hook a mate, when one is still fertile, are long past. Doing professional things, volunteering, caregiving, being trapped in a poor life, with danger, health problems encroaching, criminals, threats, not having the plenty that is necessary for emotional security, anger, violence, just everything negative. There was no space for finding that mate that I wanted, and now miss every single day, even while I give thanks for the considerable changes, and the life I do have.

I remind people with losses that you need to count your blessings every day. No one gets everything they want in life. But some people and things loom larger than others. And the losses are more poignant at the holiday season, while others gather by the dozens, and my own family is small, and growing physically distant, with no one else to replace them, going forward. I would have been a real kick ass wife and mom, and it’s a large waste that I don’t get to wear those hats in this life. But I remind myself that my friends are extended family, and they count, them, and all 10 0f their sons and daughters that I have adopted symbolically. And this is my fate, and has to be enough, because it’s all I’m getting. I make my rounds, toast and give thanks, and remind others to do the same.

Be good and do good, for others. Your reward is in so doing, as you know you have a grand purpose, just as you are, alone at the holidays, but also not so.