Y’know, Jeff, I couldn’t agree more. After I finished college I could have become a stockbroker, but I was lazy and I decided to work in a homeless shelter. There was no health insurance, which was a bitch because I was exposing myself to TB, hepititis and so on every day. But looking back it, I see that that was my own fault; those people had made bad choices in life, and I should have just let them suffer the consequences, even if that would mean freezing to death.
I’m trying to convince my brother of this; he works as a counselor in a home for juvenile delinquents (he’s always been the kind of person to take the easy way out). I try to tell him that if he’d just go back into public relations, he’d be happier–and have insurance. But he refuses to get a real job. Lazy bastard.
I guess we both get it from our dad; he’s got a Master’s degree, but he’s spent the last 40 years pastoring small churches. The current one is so small they can’t give him health insurance. He even moonlights at a temp agency sometimes to supplement his small salary. There he is, 64 years old, temping, all because he thinks that a bunch of retirees, farmers and single mothers deserve to have a pastor (Shoot, I bet half of THOSE sluggards don’t have real jobs with health insurance). I try to tell him that he has to stop making choices that hurt himself, and but the damn fool won’t listen.
You know, as an aside, I gotta mention that when I’ve talked to runaways or people in shelters or projects, sometimes they tell me about how they grew up in broken homes, or in poverty, or with abusive parents. Once–true story–I met this girl whose stepfather had molested her from the time she was a little girl, and then started pimping her out when she was 14 (he did let her have crack to make it easier). Anyway, I got really pissed at her when she tried to tell me that her life had been hard; it was like she was implying that mine wasn’t, y’know? I told her “Hey babe, this is America, we all got the same opportunites! I made something of myself, you could too if you’d stop feeling sorry for yourself!”
PS: This is funny–her dream in life was to be a nurse’s aide. You gotta get a better job than that if you want Health Insurance!