First Posted 24-Sep-2015
It should be from each according to his ability and then to each according to his need. My decade long move toward a stable life is a disastrous idea. It is an odd success in conflict with the values of my pink diaper heritage. I should not, under any circumstances, seek to have my own car, my own house, enough wealth to sustain these, and all the other trappings of first-world life I have acquired.
The highest, most noble person is a lesbian, African-American, overweight, on a slew of medications for the typical satellite of health troubles–bipolar, autistic, addicted to [pick one, maybe more than one], high blood pressure, diabetes, neuropathy, sleep apnea, and for good measure, insomnia. I, sadly, am not any of the things that would make me worthy of public housing, TANF, SNAP, SSI, Medicaid, Pell Grants, an Obama-phone or a free Cadillac. Instead, I’ve had to hold down jobs for a string of evil corporations. I know, so sad, so sad.
I make an awful candidate for emigration to the Peepul’s United Demokratik Free Anarchist Republik of Berkeley. It’s ok. I left in 1984 and didn’t plan on going back. It is the RePat Squad of the PUDFARB cops that has been lurking about looking for ways to get me to give up my evil capitalist ways and return to being a good hot mess. Those RePat guys are kind of pitiful. I sometimes buy them breakfast out of sympathy. Not an easy job working for a boss that is mental.
I probably could gain the accolades of my socialist friends by declaring myself 100% mentally disabled and in need of public housing, TANF, SNAP, SSI, Medicaid, Pell Grants, an Obama-phone and a free Cadillac. There is history to support this. Grandma was mental, as was Grandpa Wells. My Dad seems to have collected himself together and decided that a life in public housing on psych-disability was not a plan so he put himself through college and became an electrical engineer. My Mom is mental, having been diagnosed with depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and for the last 15 years or so, dementia. At least two of my three sisters are diagnosed with a mental illness. One is badly bipolar. The other, I believe, was treated for OCD and is doing ok. There is a lot of crazy in my family. So, it is within reason that I might be a bit touched as well. To add to the preponderance of evidence is the summer I spent in physical therapy treating a severe inability to coordinate my hands & eyes. And this personal anecdote, that the description of Autism Spectrum Disorder sounds a lot like symptoms I have.
A social worker offered me psych-disability SSI in my twenties. I turned it down. I chose then, going with my gut, to say that I’d rather work. I’d rather have the satisfaction of being tired after a day’s work knowing I’d earned my pay. I’ve suffered for the choice since then but I don’t regret the choice I made that day as I sat next to the social worker’s desk in a prison-made chair.
“To each according to his need” is perverse. It sets up an odd dynamic where having wealth becomes a huge problem. It is how I was raised, to have great need so that I could suckle on the teat of Mrs. Uncle Sam. I bit that nipple bloody a long time ago and have struggled to feed myself ever since. Not going to apologize or return to it, nope.
For all the hard times, the four times my life has collapsed, for the wrath I incurred biting that nipple, I’d rather have this life than the other with binky, bottle and free Cadillac. It’s not been that long since I got this job and starting making a lot more than I am used to making. I’m out of the hole and able to breath a bit. As a candidate for being one of the downtrodden I’m doing all the wrong things. I’m screwing that up. But, as a candidate for membership in the silent majority, with bills paid reliably and able to enjoy many of the trappings of first world life, I’m doing well. I’d rather work for an evil corporation.