You know that saying: I felt sorry for myself because I had no shoes, until I met a man with no feet. Material wealth is relative. Well, up to a certain point, anyway. Or I should say, down to a certain point. When you don’t even have money for necessities like food and housing, it’s no longer relative. But otherwise it is. For instance, for most of my life I thought I was sort of poor—I used to call it broke, actually—until I really was! I can pay for necessities, but at a fairly low level. Still, I frequently recall with wonder the days when I could occasionally rent a car, and, even further back, when I owned one. I even went on a few seaside vacations. And I thought I was poor!
I just visited friends who think of themselves as ordinary people who, like everyone else, are struggling to get by. Their refrigerator is bursting with vast containers of food bought in bulk, and they frequently go out to eat. To many people they possess unimaginable riches. All relative.
Still, what’s happened here in America is unspeakably unjust. Nobody should go to work every day and be poor. I don’t care who they are, what kind of education they had, or what kind of work they do. When I worked as a secretary I wasn’t exactly poor, but I could barely make ends meet. That is the worst life of all: to get up every morning, go to a place you have to stay at for nine hours, do someone else’s tedious or difficult work, and have hardly any time to yourself or your family and friends, yet still go without, pinch pennies, beg the phone company not to shut you down. Some people work two and three jobs these days and live in hotel rooms. (Read Barbara Ehrenreich’s book, Nickel and Dimed). I’m poorer now than when I worked for low wages, but at least my time is my own. The working poor are in a terrible position.
I don’t know if everyone knows this—younger people, for instance—but it wasn’t always like this. Once upon a time in America if you had a job you might actually own a house, a car, feed a family of four, and even save some money! For the past 50 years workers’ lives have gone steadily downhill. We’re moving towards becoming the England of Charles Dickens’ time. It’s taken a lot of maneuvering on the part of the upper classes, busting unions and such, but now they have the majority of the population dancing like puppets on strings.
It’s a complicated, convoluted and depressing situation, and I haven’t much else to say about it, so I’ll move on to another source of my depressed mood, trivial by comparison…
DEREK JETER ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT AFTER THE 2014 SEASON
I —we—were lucky enough for over a decade to watch a fantastic team of New York Yankees, with the Core Four at its center: Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter, and Andy Pettitte. One by one they left, not only the Core but other greats as well. All but Posada, who was shamelessly and unforgivably pushed out, retired by choice. Captain Jeter, a fan favorite with his boyish dimpled good looks and extraordinary playing, is the last to go. I’ve had trouble enough continuing to follow the Yankees since Joe Torre was bumped and Girardi the incompetent became manager, so once Jeter leaves I don’t know what I’ll do.
I’ve tried to develop love for one of my home teams—the SF Giants or the Oakland A’s—but it just doesn’t fly. They never seem to hold my attention long enough to get to know them, let alone root for them. The A’s are constantly coming and going, thanks to Billy Beane and his Moneyball sabermetrics system. The Giants are erratic: champions one year, in the basement the next. I suppose I could jump on board, with my masochistic son, and root for the other New York team, but I don’t like losing all the time. So much for them Mets.
As the Yankees have crumbled, so too has my enthusiasm for writing about baseball. Anyone who’s followed DIRTY LAUNDRY for any length of time might have noticed I blogged a lot on the topic at first, and slowly dribbled down each season. Of course, my posting in general has fallen off, from daily to every other day to a few times a week to a few times a month. Shit happens. I don’t know what’s in store for my blog this baseball season, but I’ve been thinking of reorganizing anyway, combining DIRTY LAUNDRY with my business blog, BOOKBUSTER, and concentrating on the writing life and business. Stay tuned.