Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Busted, Like Everybody Else

Some days no matter what attitude you adopt, at the end of it, you're still busted.

We started with yet another snow day, which I found to be pretty hard to accept. We got hit with some bad weather in the middle of the night but it seems to me it's gotta be somebody's job to pay attention to that and get on it. On my perfectly uneventful way to work, I passed school buses from a number of neighboring districts carting students off to school. Mine were home with each other and later in the day, a friend, and although things were fine, I was really not. In my district, these kids and their classmates went to school on ONE Monday in all of January and not because of the weather, had a four-day weekend last week, and had two long weekends in October. I'm really tired of that. I'm not sure the value added in whatever the teachers are gaining on the training days is going to be reflected in my kids' education, and I'm not sure I understand why we're teaching our kids that if there's a little snow on the ground, you stay home.

When I was a kid--and I know what you're thinking, but no, I did not have to walk to school both ways although I did ride the bus for an hour -- school being canceled really was a rarity. Drivers threw chains on the wheels and away we went. My elementary education may have been substandard to what kids are getting today, but I don't think I turned out that badly. We almost never had a snow day in high school because our parents took us to school.

But what good has it really done? I walk around in the dark but still have climbing electric bills, I keep turning down the heat but my gas rate still creeps up. Gas, groceries, everything every day is just costing us more and more and more.

But that's not what really set me off. Tonight in an effort to "help" my son set up a load of laundry but overlooked something that was left in the drain sink. The result, as you can imagine, was a sizeable flood in my kitchen and laundry room, a good bit of which I was able to usher out into the garage, and the rest was mopped up by Son of Mando with what clean towels we had. The whole time all I could mutter was, "Well, it's a good thing we didn't want a vacation this year because now we're gonna need a new floor." And I hope that's all we need.

And its just one thing after another and another and another until all I want to do is just close the door behind me and walk into the wilderness. Or, maybe depending on who's doing the laundry, swim.

I'm like a lot of Americans. I'm tired, I'm underpaid, I'm overworked, my kids don't listen, my money's not worth anything, and I'm running out of ideas.

I'm busted.

(Here the Johnny Cash version here, or Tim O'Brien's rendition from Cornbread Nation here.)

(Harlan Howard)

Well the bills are all due and the babies need shoes and I'm busted
Cotton is down to a quarter a pound and I'm busted
Got a cow that went dry got a hen that won't lay
A big stack of bills that gettin bigger each day
The county's gonna haul my belongings away cause I'm busted

I went to my brother to ask for a loan I was busted
I hate to beg like a dog for a bone but I'm busted
Well my brother says there's not a thing I can do
My wife and my kids they're all down with the flu
And I was just thinking about callin' on you cause I'm busted

Well I'm not a thief but a man can go wrong when he's busted
You know the food that we put up last summer is all gone and I'm busted
Well the fields are all bare and the cotton won't grow
And me and my family we gotta pack up and go
But I'll make a livin just where I don't know I'm busted

Got a cow that went dry got a hen that won't lay
A big stack of bills that gettin bigger each day
The county's gonna haul my belongings away cause I'm busted


At February 27, 2008 8:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My dear husband just told me that the consumer price index went up a whole perecent point last month, which apparently translates into "double-digit inflation." Ayep, we're all busted.

At February 28, 2008 9:45 AM, Blogger Shameless Agitator said...

8 years of Geedubya Boooooosh and the whole world is busted...

At February 28, 2008 10:10 AM, Blogger Blueberry said...

I remember that song best by Ray Charles.

My own tales of going to school in the snow pale beside my mother's stories to the point of being almost not worth telling, but not sure where I come down on the issue of snow days now. I do wish that the kids could "telecommute" on the those days -- at least get an assignment through email. I also think there should be school in summer. When you grow up, you will probably have to work all year, so they might as well get used to it. It's not as though most of them are needed to work the crops, like in the olden days. Wasn't that the reason there was no school in summer originally? I have a very unpopular opinion... I know.

At February 28, 2008 12:25 PM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Hey all y'all,

Well our GENIUS president BOOOOSH has now said we are not headed for a recession. Golly, I sure feel better, don't you?!

Blue, I'm with you. There is such broad inconsistency in the quality of and access to education. And I hate anything that teaches kids it's ok to be lazy. The enormous sense of entitlement that prevails in our society is just revolting. We've had a problem with our DSL at home and you'd think that because I didn't have a magic solution to fix it RIGHT NOW I'd just sentenced my 13 y o to 30 years hard time. Kids have no sense of priorities. At the same time, in the lower middle class and poverty-stricken urban and rural America, kids are probably grateful to be in school where it's warm, safe, and they can get a meal.

And why can't we have some sort of apprenticeship program or something? Our highschoolers have to complete 40 hours of community service to graduate, but that's over 4 years. Kids need to learn to work, to become part of community, and that participation in society is meaningful.


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