Sunday, August 1, 2010

As Things Fall Apart

It happened again last Saturday.
I was on my way home after finishing my radio show.
I'd just gotten to the juncture of Main Street and Putney Road when I heard voices arguing.
Male Voice "Shut Up!"
Female Voice "No, You shut up!"
Male Voice "Shut up, woman!"

(pause - during which I tried in vain to get a peek across the little park by the Wells Fountain)

Male Voice "FUCK THE WORLD."

Well, at least he was succinct.
I knew in that moment that he had been pushed over the edge too.

I'm at the brink these days myself.

My low wage, demeaning. and unrewarding career position as a cashier at a supermarket has taken a new and potentially ugly turn. The front end management recently hired about 12 new people. In fact, all of a sudden, there are new hires all over the store. I've heard that a few years ago there was a sudden purge of the cashiers and service clerks. It may be getting ready to happen again. Corporate, located somewhere over in Belgium, is slowly lowering the iron boot upon the neck of the workers. You know, this somewhat confirms a suspicion of mine that the Netherlands rather enjoyed having the Nazis take over.

Our hours have been cut again. I now have days (plural) when I work a total of four hours. It is now impossible to meet my few financial obligations : rent, cable (bundle with phone and Internet), storage and food. Everyone has had their hours cut. I've looked. Aside from cashiers who are also shift leaders or bookkeepers, I have more hours than anyone at 30 hrs per week. I have no reserves left, either in the bank or in the soul. I'm tapped out. It will be at least another two weeks before I'll be able to get the rent together - if I give up eating. I often find myself these days gazing off without focusing, adrift in my own little world of anger, frustration, resentment, resignation and bitterness. I'd throw in more adjectives but if Kubler-Ross could do it in five, then so can I.

Meanwhile, I read in this mornings online news that 17 of the banks which got billions in bailouts — including Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America — have paid out $1.6 billion in bonuses, golden parachutes, retention awards and the like. One handed out bonuses equivalent to one-quarter of its bailout. And there is even a law against it. My "bailout" - known as a 'yearly raise' was fourteen cents an hour.

Since I'm working with negative numbers these days, there is no way I can save up for another junker car.
My computer is now over 10 years old - it originally ran on Windows
Millennium. It is now having distinct problems. The other day a bunch of the programming which starts the system blew up.
Luckily, I had a backup.
But it seems like it's approaching its' end times.
Now it freezes up a lot. This, for instance, is the third time I've worked on this post. The daily itching and burning from my non-contagious skin condition has grown worse. It pesters me like the gnats or fruit flies which have been massing into troops in the kitchen. I don't worry about this kind of stuff anymore. I am doing what I can. At the moment, I feel like I'm over the hump and am going down hill, and anything going downhill tends to pick up speed.
Which reminds me, summer is nearly over.

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned
                                            --- William Butler Yeats.

Today is the anniversary of the routing of the Bonus Army. It's now a footnote in American History. And as a footnote, it uses extra small type. The Bonus Army was assemblage of some 43,000 marchers—17,000 World War I veterans, their families, and friends who protested in Washington, D.C during the spring and summer of 1932. The Depression was getting worse - people were losing their homes, couldn't afford to eat, and couldn't find jobs. In 1925 Congress had voted to pay WWI veterans a "bonus" for their service. It wasn't due to be paid until 1945. In 1932, the U.S. House had voted to give the vets the money immediately. The march on Washington was being held to convince Congress to pass the bill into law. While they were waiting, the vets built shantys and "tent cities" which became known as "Hoovervilles". On June 17th, the Senate defeated the bill. A silent "Death March" began in front of the Capitol and lasted until July 17, when Congress adjourned. On July 28th, the Attorney General ordered the police to evict the marchers. There was gunfire, and two veterans were killed. Learning of the shooting, President Hoover ordered the army to clear out the veterans.  Infantry Troops and cavalry, supported by six tanks, were let loose with Chief of Staff General Douglas MacArthur in command. Major Dwight D. Eisenhower served as his liaison with Washington police and Major George Patton led the cavalry.

While searching for the above footage, I found a 9 and a half minute video called The Bonus Army: The Great War Veterans Vs. the United States Government. This is what I saw when I clicked on it:

"This video contains content from Sony Music Entertainment, who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds."

Oh, so very interesting.
I tried another promising video on the same topic:

"Skipped to the next available video. One or more videos were no longer available."

Now's probably a good time to post a moment of a speech given by Senator Al Franken two days ago.

Final note:


Austan said...

Where oh where is the heroin?

Stevil said...

It should be here soon. The poppy crop in Afghanistan started coming in about a week or so ago. Which may have a lot to do with the real reason we are there. (Well, not much else -really- makes sense now, does it?)