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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Economic/Schmeconomic

The best part of being 2nd generation-American-grandchild-of-farmers? I have never been wealthy.

Ok, I have never really been poor either and I have lived a pretty nice life. Catholic (private) schools, good clothes, never missed a meal unless it was Lent - all in all, I have had it pretty easy all my life.

I have even had tastes of the 'good' life because I am blessed to have some friends who are damn well off. For whatever reason they enjoy my company and have wisked me away for weeks in Cabo, weekends in Aptos and nights in Danville (California, not Illinois). All in all, I have had some lovely vacations and even managed to save my own money to go on exotic jaunts around the world. I paid for Israel and Rome....so it will be another Ice Age before I can get back there but that's cool. I have been..so I am satisfied.

The point I am trying to make is that I am faced with a really strange dilemna all because some people I do not know, and who have demonstrated profound disdain for people like me, decided to rip off the world through war, poorly regulated financing and plain old fashioned greed. None of these yahoos currently trying to explain how they were paid bonuses for running reputable companies into the GROUND could give two hoots for a middle-aged-wild-child-rock-and-roll-writing-Catholic with two bad knees and a weight problem.

Yet it is their behavior that has someone like me looking at the possibility of retiring earlier from my 'safe' government job because if they impose furloughs I will be taking a 10 percent pay cut. That pay cut will affect my pension, which is based on my highest earnings during a 36 month period.

So I have my call into the retirment board because I have to find out....what is going to be best for me? What will save my pension, my future benefits and make working the night shift cleaning crew at Taco Bell something I may not have to do....unless, of course, I want to for research purposes.

I don't know. This whole thing makes me sad. I mean, yes, I have to be smart and I have got to plan but ultimately I have to trust in God. He has gotten me through drug addiction, alcoholism, rapes and beatings, abortions and mayhem as well as a Rolling Stones concert when I was 12 (I had absolutely no business being there. My cousin was babysitting. It was not my fault). He has given me the strength to get another college degree and endure the likes of E at work. I have been given a burst of creativity and I have paid off three credit cards in the past year. My life is not bad and I do not want to give anyone the impression that it is; rather, I want to try and explain how weird it is for someone like me to be listening to all this dire news right now.

Because I keep thinking of all the missed opportunities of my life and I wonder if I had somehow managed to not blow so much up in a whirl of vodka and white powder, would I be going over the photo shoot for my newest movie poster right now instead of taking my lunch late because some idiot had to register as a drug offender (sir, do you have any tatoos? No, please, do not disrobe..thank you)?

This morning I prayed the Rosary in honor of Our Lady of Lourdes as it is her feast day and St Bernadette is one of my favorite saints. I wish I could have the kind of steel in my spine that so many of these women have - the ability to just go forward through the darkness and say, "No big deal. Thank you for letting me share Your suffering, Lord". Instead, I want to say, "See that guy over there? The one who seems to think killing an Archbishop during Mass is an appropriate way to express your disdain for his politics? Give him some suffering and leave me be for now. I have bills to pay".

And miles to go before I sleep.....

Well, anyway...I get to attend a meeting tonight after work with my sponsor. It is a meeting I helped start about 12 years ago before I moved to the Central Valley. And I look forward to seeing people I love and respect. Like I told Susan, the past two years have been utterly amazing and the fact that the two of us did not end up under a bridge sharing Thunderbird out of a boda bag and deciding to drive to Sonoma County in the middle of the night is a testament to the power of God.

Thank you, Lord, for my life today. I wouldn't change a thing...even if I could.

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