Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Life in Obama's America

Myron arises at noon and prepares his afternoon tea. He fills his pot with good bottled Evian because it's being handed out at the co-op. He takes his medication, generic Xanax, smuggled in from Saskatchewan because it's distributed at the free clinic. Myron's meds are safe because they aren't manufactured by some big corporation and are naturally mixed with regurgitated goat feces. Myron's old COBRA insurance would only cover unsafe US pharmaceuticals because Congress gave them tax breaks to insure their participation in Obamacare. But, now that Myron is no longer counted as "unemployed," medicaid allows him the safer Canadian option.

Myron is hungry, but the food kitchen doesn't start serving until 3 p.m.; so, instead he takes his weekly shower. He reaches for his bottle of government-issued shampoo which is labeled with every ingredient. Unfortunately, he is unable to read the label because he went to public school in California. After air drying, Myron calls his mom to find out what he should wear that day. She is just getting home from workfare and advises him to dress warmly for the weekly protest at the State Capitol that evening.

After dressing, Myron climbs into his Government Motors (GM) vehicle. He appreciates the car allowance he receives for participating in the "driveshare" program. Just then, Myron's neighbor approaches and tells him that this is "his" day to drive and Myron must find another way. So, Myron walks over to the light rail station. He feels a sense of pride because he knows it was "his people" which forced the government to bail out the local transit district. He stops to buy a ticket and chuckles softly before bypassing the machine and jumping aboard. Although the train is empty he remains standing. "Hmm," he wonders, "why is ridership down? Don't these people appreciate all I went through to get them this convenience?"

He reaches the soup kitchen and the line is extremely long. Myron thought that most of the folks in line didn't really "need" the services there because after all, the stimulus had seen to creating (or saving) millions of jobs. "Oh well," he thought, they're probably just like me, and only there to offer support and understanding. He walks over to the "tip jar" and begins reaching into his pocket. Since his last extension, Myron still had 87 more weeks of federal unemployment. He pulled out a few bills and reaching further, found a quarter and tossed it into the jar. Just then, his BlackBerry alerted, telling him he only had a few minutes to get to his bank before closing time.

Since Bush ruined the economy, Myron has been forced to subsist on his unemployment check, worker's comp benefits, Section 8 housing, and food stamps. He did appreciate, however, that his money came directly to his EBT card so as not to further stigmatize him and his family. Myron's wife had recently received an $8,000 stipend so they could repurchase their 12 bedroom, 10 bathroom home which they previously lost because of Bush's incestuous relationship with the banking industry. The couple and their 11 children lived in the house for seven years, initially qualifying for it under the Community Revitalization Act of 1977, or 1979, or maybe it was 1985.

Leaving the bank, Myron headed for his father's home, inside a gated senior community, Happy Gardens. He didn't really like the "Gardens" because he thought it was just "more evidence of a lifelong hardworking citizen being forced into substandard housing by an uncaring government." Myron's father came to America for a better life, but felt the government never really welcomed him. He was never able, through the years, to hold a job because of Republican indifference and up to recently, was forced to survive on a meager $2,400 monthly SSI check. He was ready to give up before finally, Happy Gardens was taken over by HHS and the panel decided he could stay on with enhanced benefits.

Myron's father was sitting in his kitchenette, listening to NPR. He never listened to commercial talk radio because he knew every host was lying to him. "Oy," he gasped in Myron's direction, "now even NPR is giving Tim Tebow updates. It's unconstitutional, I tell ya." Then, he mumbled something about bailing out Air America and fell back asleep. Myron felt ashamed that the government had let his father down. After all the sacrifices, and even giving up his medical license in the "old country," Myron's father still demonstrated his allegiance by agreeing to see patients at the "Gardens" under a pilot Obamacare program.

Myron slipped out of his father's apartment and headed back to the light rail station. At that moment, his son drove up and offered a ride, adding "you on your way home, dad?" "Not yet," Myron replied. "Your mom and I have to get your brothers and sisters back first. But you can drop me off at the reporting center." Myron's son, a 22 year old former marine, college student, bartender, and amateur stand-up comedian grimaced, "don't go back there, dad. Nobody goes there. All my friends think you're crazy."

"Don't argue with me, damn it," counters Myron, "or we won't put you back on our insurance policy." Myron's son suddenly pulls the car over. "All right, Dad," he yells. "Get out! I don't need you. I'm a former marine. I'll get my own insurance. I'll show you. I'll just go over to the non-profit consortium and get my own." Myron shrugs his shoulders and hops out of the car, mumbling "suit yourself."

"Hey, wait a minute," Myron says looking back into the passenger window, "it's not 'your' day for this car, is it?" Just then, a police cruiser pulls up with red lights and siren. "Oh great, exclaims Myron, "and I'll bet this hybrid's hot too. Now, we're gonna get hassled by the man." Just then, the officer walks up and rhetorically asks, "do you know how fast you were going?" Myron knew his son had warrants, but they were all minor, just drugs, petty thefts, and non-residential burglaries. Still, he knew he had to act fast because his son also missed the last amnesty period for erasing those warrants. "Thank God you got here, officer," Myron panted grabbing his chest. The car wouldn't slow down. It was crazy. I think the accelerator was stuck."

The officer put his sunglasses on top of his head and stepping closer to the vehicle, stated "hmm, this isn't a GM car, is it? Is this one of them "Pree-us-ess?"

"Why yes, yes it is," answers Myron, confidently nodding his head.

"Oh, well, then" replies the officer, "you're free to go...and I DO mean free."

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