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Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?



I know, I know...two consecutive blog entries...what has gotten into me? Well, a little of this, a little of that. Mostly, it's shame.


I found it interesting that, because of the political in-fighting and stalemate in DC, the national news agencies and some of the local ones have been asking we, the people, to pipe up. They have wanted us to send a message to our Congressional Representatives and Senators, literally, and tell them how their political dueling has affected our lives. I guess the thought is that if enough people send direct messages to the Legislature, they might actually listen to us.


I didn't bother...mostly because, being the cynic that I am, I don't think it would make an iota of a difference. But there was another reason, too: my Representatives and Senators were actually involved in the various versions of the bills being offered...they were being politically active in the process. In other words, they were doing their jobs.


One of the local news stations has a slightly different tactic: they want us, the people, to send in a short video explaining how the economic downfall has personally impacted us. The hope is that both lawmakers and business leaders will listen, and help us out.


Call it odd, but I find that exercise a bit insulting. Or, perhaps, it's a poke to my pride.


See, as it is, people who know me well are aware that I'm only partially employed, and that the cuts to higher education over the last several years--let alone those that are set to come--by both the state and federal governments have pretty much led to this. They know that I'm not doing well financially. But why should I need to broadcast this? Nobody really wants to hear another story of someone who is down on her luck.


I guess the other part that irks me is that I know there are many, many more who have it worse than I do. I mean, I live in faculty/staff housing where I pay rent at about half of market value--and these are really nice apartments with spectacular local views. I have enough money to put food on the table, pay my bills...sure, my discretionary spending is near-zero, but on rare occasions I do go to a movie or to dinner with friends and family. And regardless of how peeved I am at my lack of full-time employment or how little money is in my checking account, I seem to make things work regardless. Sure, I'd like to be more comfortable, and I'm working on that...but what else can I do now?


And when I see some of my students who live in the ghetto, or in shelters...or worse yet, who are being foreclosed upon...all due to unemployment...some of them who have families to take care of...I'm supposed to go on video documenting how bad I have it? No thanks...that's not in me. I'm not saying I live in the lap of luxury, but I'm no where near Skid Row.


(I was going to start sending my cat out to go hunt for food...but seeing as how she hasn't done that in about 4 years now, and even when she did her tendency was to play with her 'new friend' literally to death, well, I just don't think it's gonna work out.)


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LOL the one my parents had, Peanut, was quite the mighty huntress. In one year she cleared out 56 gophers, including an entire den in one day. By the end of that day, she was so tired, she didn't want to eat the babies, nor even climb the back fence. I think that year she also caught 2 rats...foot-long ones. The back field, which was under the protection of San Francisco Watershed and full of wildlife, perfect for a 15-pound feline. But then she would hear human voices outside, particularly my dad's, and would come and hang out, almost dog-like. Total sweetheart.


Of course, she HATED Bella coming into our family...but that's for another story.

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Some domestic cats do revert to feral activity very easily. As a young child I remember our family cat was like that. Always on the prowl.


There was one cat however that learned people were generous with milk and titbits if it playfully rubbed itself up their legs. Man that cat was cute, and it knew it. Eventually we found out it was doing that with the households in the area and that we weren't especially blessed with its scrounging ways. What a hussy.

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