Conversations I’ve had the last few days stun me. Granted, PTSD and reality are difficult enough as it is to reconcile but then throw in a level of stupidity that is boundless and I honestly do not know what I’m still doing here. I heard about another guy from Iraq that left of his own accord. Every day makes it harder to convince myself that it may not make an awful lot of sense to just leave.
A neighbor down the street getting her mail as I walk by says to me, “I just heard that there will be over 50 kids in my son’s third grade classroom this year.”
I nod and say, “Yeah, the government has no money and the first place they always cut is for the old and disabled and schools. The local paper said that 15% of the teachers in the district would not be coming back this year due to budget shortfalls.”
She stepped in front of me. “You know it’s all Obama and those damn liberal’s fault, don’t you?”
Me, “Um, how has twelve years of massive tax cuts for the wealthy and two massive, unwinnable wars and about 20% unemployment just in California the liberal’s fault?” I wasn’t going to defend Obama. I’m tired of doing that since he gives me nothing to stand up for him with.
New neighbor appears from behind me. “Yeah, it’s the liberals and those damn welfare cheats. That’s where all our taxes is going!”
Me, “Do you actually KNOW of anyone on Welfare?”
New neighbor, “Yeah, just down the street that woman with three kids.”
Me, “She’s actually ON welfare or just has three kids?”
New neighbor, “Well, how the hell could she support them if she isn’t on welfare?”
Me, “Maybe she works while the kids are in school? Maybe her parents help her? Maybe she has a husband you never see because he’s working a couple of jobs? Having kids doesn’t mean she’s on welfare.”
First neighbor to new neighbor, “See just like last night I told you he was one of those damn liberals, didn’t I? All he can do is defend welfare cheats while my kid is in a class with 50 kids and he just can’t see the truth. Why, just this morning Rush was saying……”
I didn’t hear the rest. I was about to vomit or get violent so I just limped on down the street to my home, closed the door and wanted to cry.
Yesterday I called the college that my son is taking a photography class at and asked if I could speak to the teacher of that class because I wanted to know what camera would be the best one to buy and does he need his own copy of Photoshop or not? The answer was “Oh, he won’t be able to answer those questions until the first day of school.”
Me, “But my son will need to have the equipment the first day of school. The class schedule says to come with all materials ready. All it says is that he needs an 8 Mp camera with a focusable lens. I’ve looked and there are small ones that do just that and not much more or bigger ones or more complicated ones. Which type will he be teaching about? And will there be homework that will require Photoshop or will it all be classwork?”
The college voice, “Well, I’m sure whatever camera he brings will be sufficient. I don’t know anything about Photoshop so just ask the first day.”
“Is there some way I can contact him before classes start to ask?”
The college voice, “Oh no. You can’t discuss the class until it starts. That’s when his contract begins and he will want to be paid if he discusses the class with you and we don’t allow that.”
Me, “So, my son basically wastes the first day of school coming without the camera he doesn’t know to get or I buy a camera only to find out it isn’t the one the teacher wants to teach about? Isn’t that rather silly? ”
The college voice, “No sir. It isn’t silly. Your son should have asked last June before classes ended about these things.”
Me, “My son is learning disabled. He wants to have a profession. He decided a month ago he wants to be a photographer. Neither of us knew we had to ask questions about a class we didn’t know existed last June. He starts next week. Can’t you ask anyone there if they know anything?”
The college voice, “No. Is there anything else I can help you with?”
Me, “Considering you haven’t helped me with anything I guess asking anything else would be a waste of both of our times., huh”?” Click from the other end and a dial tone.
Yesterday, as well. A woman that just bought a house and has two men doing extensive work on it is explaining all that is being done.
Me, “Wow! That sounds expensive. How can you afford all of that?”
Her, “Oh, well, both of the men are on SSI and doing this work for cash so I don’t have to pay them much.”
Me, “Really? They’re disabled but they still can basically gut that whole house and replace the walls and carpets and everything? Plus they get SSI? What if they’re caught? They’ll lose their SSI, won’t they?”
Her, “Well, that wouldn’t be my fault. They shouldn’t be on SSI if they can work.”
Me, “And, yet, you know that they’re on SSI and you hired them. Doesn’t that all bother you?”
Her, “Well, you know that most people on SSI are just cheats and liars, anyway, so I’m just getting the work done cheaply and they earn extra money.”
Me, “THEY are the liars and cheats when you know the laws about how they have to report any earned income? Really? Seriously?”
Her, “Well, I have to go now and check up on them. They don’t work very hard when I’m not there. Bye.”
These are all supposedly educated people. All of them, they’ve told me, have degrees from college. And yet they are dumb as a sack of rocks. They all make good money. None of them are poor. All of them have always lived with a roof over their heads and food on the table. But they are dumb as rocks! They hate anyone that is less fortunate unless it brings them income. They assume that a woman that has kids MUST be a welfare cheat but have nothing, NOTHING, that even remotely proves that but still they hate her and talk about her among themselves.
When I was growing up there was a joke we told now and again. When you found yourself standing with 5 or 6 friends you would remind them that in any group of people, half of them were below the average in intelligence. If you believed that you were in the top half, the joke went, who were the ones in the bottom half? That joke doesn’t work anymore. MOST people are in the bottom half today. Most people are outright idiots that make up a reality that suits whatever purpose they have in life and then hate everyone that doesn’t agree to that made up reality. Kind of like religion, but on a larger scale.
If they are simply too stupid to even be able to make up a reality of their own they know that all they have to do is turn on their radio or TV and there will be lots of people explaining what reality is supposed to be that day and, since millions of people are listening to these same voices, then the reality BECOMES reality for that day. The next day the reality may change a little but they won’t notice that because they really never understood what the reality was yesterday except for the list that they were told that these people belonged to “US” and that everyone else was “THEM” and now close your mind and relax until tomorrow, same time, same channel.
I try going to the VA for help. The guy I see sits there for the entire hour and yawns and stretches and glances at the clock. He asks me about my story and I tell him it’s all on that computer beside him since I just spent the last year spilling my guts to another psychiatrist in Bakersfield and all he has to do is take 10 minutes and read it and he’ll know my story. He glances at the computer, clicks it open, messes with it for a few seconds, says, “oh, there it is”, clicks it closed and says “I want to play a word game with you”. “F*ck you,” I say, “That’s all we’ve been doing the last 40 minutes.” and I leave.
So now what? Now who do I talk to? What do I do? Me and the tens of thousands just like me, what do we do?
You want to pay a little more taxes so that the VA can hire people that are actually qualified? You want to pay a little more in taxes so that schools have teachers? The rich won’t and they don’t have to because they bought all the government and an entire Supreme Court and everything else they needed to stop paying taxes. Corporations won’t. You have a dollar in your pocket? That’s more than Exxon-Mobil or Bank of America or a hundred other corporations paid in American taxes last year. Stock market up today? Any more jobs or just more money in a couple pockets?
You want to talk about the heroes over there in those dusty damn countries you can’t find on a map? You want to talk about how they’re “defending our freedoms” and such crap? At what point in your mind do they stop being heroes and become just that guy standing on the street corner with the vacant stare and the handwritten sign that says “Iraqi Vet. Can you help?” Where is that sudden drop off in pride and patriotism and compassion? Does it make a sound or is it a silent closing of the door on them in your mind?
I know that if you’re reading this you’re probably already aware of all of this and I’m screaming at the choir. For that I apologize. I know that the people who need to ask themselves these questions never will ask them because it would be uncomfortable and the answers would make them think that maybe, just maybe, it’s their fault for refusing to see the world as it is and not as they’re told it is and want so desperately to believe it is. I know that. But I’m not happier knowing that.