Thursday, February 13, 2014

You Discover that You'd Just Be One More Person Crying

I have a confession to make. I saw on YouTube the Bob Dylan commercial for Chrysler that was broadcast during Super Bowl Collision of Roman Numerals and loved it. I have no idea if it's a 'good spot' or 'moves tin' off the dealers' lots and before you ask I don't drive a MoPar product.

I just love Dylan and the spot is so weird, the only other guy I can see ever doing it is Neil Young. I'm thinking that contributing to my enjoyment of the commercial even more might be all the while it's on, playing in my mental jukebox is It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) because even though neither of us is, it most certainly is not.

This New Normal where it's frenetic and ruthless all the time, really sucks and makes me sort of happy I'm getting old because if I were younger and thought real hard about the direction in which this world is heading and how much warmer by the minute it's getting in this hand basket, I'd head off the heartbreak at the pass and pin my hopes on reincarnation (it's why my Next Life To Do List is so neatly written in case I have a reading disability).

This time of year, as so many of us are stubby-penciling tax returns or clicking keys on-line, as I do because my brain goes to mush by the time I get to 'Line 47: Depreciation on Dirigibles Used by the Queen's Marines in the Line of Duty When Negotiation Was Disregarded.' You'd be surprised how often that line could be used and disappointed to learn it's not.

But while we're grinding on tax returns-and I can remember my Dad after New Jersey had an income tax, having to fill out forms for Federal, Jersey, NY State and NY City. The latter two couldn't have enough taxable tourists, folks who worked in one place and lived in another. Talk about free money. There are grandchildren on the Lower East Side whose Gramps and Grams finished high school with books my father's city tax returns financed.

But as Oliver Wendall Holmes noted, 'taxes are what we pay to live in a civilized society.' I guess the price per pound on civilized must be stratospheric as I'm thinking we should be getting a chunk of change back from our dollar. Notice he didn't say 'free' and in these times would never say economical.

Especially if you are, or know, one of the tens of millions struggling on or close to earning a minimum wage that's designed to make sure you don't die, but also assures you can't do a lot of living, either. At one point, before 'selfies' was in the dictionary we added 'McJob' to describe those positions we pretended only 'high school kids' were filling. We now have a generation grown and gone who never got rid of the smell of the french fryer from their clothes.

We have fewer people in labor unions than at any time since before the (last) Great Depression and more people at/below the poverty level in the entire history of the Republic. Coincidence? Not likely, especially when it's pretty common knowledge who has the money and how much of it they do have.

We have the incredibly wealthy exclaiming how awful our economy will be if we raise the minimum wage to closer to a living wage. But nothing horrible seems to happen when those at the top of the pyramid give themselves seven figure bonuses for managing expenses, to include the salaries and benefits of the workforce, to the max benefit of their multi-billion dollar Incorporated Citizens.

We're well on the way back to a Third World Nation where decent housing, potable water, safe streets and edible food are all rationed commodities beyond the reach of the 'working poor.' Makes you wonder how long we'll keep building automobiles, especially when we can no longer afford to ever buy them.

I'm impressed (not at all) by the number of the religious, mostly right, who thinks there's a biblical cachet to poverty in much the same way as they believe in bible stories about Adam and Eve but not Adam and Steve.

I wonder if they ever read a story in the New Testament of  Christ driving moneylenders from the temple. I imagine they'd rush to assure me how pleased about He'd be to learn they now own it.
 -bill kenny

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