Friday, July 23, 2010

The Sign of Things That Have Already Come (With update)

Last night A week ago today, Mrs. JP became one of the latest of America's working wounded. She got shitcanned for an indeterminate period of time from the sign shop at which she was working for almost a year (the right wing assholes put her and everyone else out of work for a week last week when they went to the Cape, meaning we didn't even have anything to deposit in the bank today. Unlike her bosses, she still didn't qualify for a paid vacation.). With my unemployment benefits crapping out last month and the Senate doing diddly regarding an extension, that means we have zero money coming in for the foreseeable future. They claimed business has slowed. Mrs. JP says she's been as busy as ever, which was very busy.

(Update: The Senate finally passed its version of the UI extension bill. Yet when they finally get around to passing the reconciled version and Obama signs it into law, it'll still take up to three weeks for the benefits to be implemented into the state system. I'll get them retroactively in one lump sum but probably not until the middle of August. Mrs. JP filed for UI benefits yesterday but, once again, it'll take about 2-3 weeks for her benefit claim to kick in. Until then, we'll have nothing coming in.)

It wasn't exactly heaven in the workplace: She was making minimum wage as a graphic designer, a job she's been excellently doing for almost two decades. She literally cried and begged to continue working. Her right wing bosses were completely unmoved.

I perfectly understand how she feels. I experienced it for the latest time last April 27th, exactly a month after getting the old heave-ho from my home of 15+ years.

There's the feeling of guilt, of shame, as if you did something wrong. Then you get angry with yourself for feeling guilt because your memory informs you that you did all the right things: Got up for work every morning, showed up on time every day, did a quality job, hardly missing a day, often going above and beyond the call of duty. You played by the rules and got kicked in the sack for it.

Then your anger at both yourself and your former employer is suffused with fear and you find yourself spending more and more time and energy trying to keep incipient panic at bay. It's a very draining, very demoralizing experience.

I've been running myself ragged looking for a job and burning up a lot of gasoline we really can't afford applying to as many as nine places a day (or three times the MA Department of Employment Training's weekly minimum for job search contacts). Hopefully, I should hear something by Wednesday, the same day Mrs. JP has to call her job to see what's going on. In the meantime, we have exactly zero chance of paying the rent August 1st, much less feeding ourselves and paying off our new auto insurance premiums. The prospect of eviction, at the exact same time our lease is up for renewal, is doubly terrifying when you realize you have no place to store your stuff and there are no homeless shelters in the area.

I know a lot of other people are hurting, a lot of news outlets like Truthout, Buzzflash, RSN, The Smirking Chimp and others are asking for donations at the same time. I feel bad for them and for individuals who are also hurting because I understand what it feels like to live with that panic that moves into your life like an unwelcome house guest. So anything you can do to help would be very, very greatly appreciated, as our backs are really up against the wall this time.


At July 17, 2010 at 3:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Listen Mr. Pork, I've suggested this several times, but it makes no impression on you. I've been reading your blog ever since you linked to it in the comment section of Hullabaloo to announce the end of your shack-up with the "douchebag". And ever since then, every time I read your blog, I only have one reaction: What the hell are you doing on the East Coast?
Look, I grew up on the easst coast, and moved to the west coast, and I beg you to consider moving west. It doesn't have to be California, northern or southern, anything west of the Rockies will do. You were made to live out here, every word I read tells me you have much more in common with us westerners. Much more in common with us, no matter what the political persuasion. In fact, I think you and the girlfriend would be a big hit out here. Oregon would be my suggestion, Portland to be specific. But that's just a suggestion.
I think you should set your sights on acquiring the resiources to make the move out to the west. Every time I read your blog, I think "this is where he belongs, and he will be sucessful and happy out here.
Please don't reject this advice out of hand, it is offered sincerely, and I'm sure a move west will be the beginning of the happy ending for you.
I'll say it again: Oregon is your first choice, and Washington your second, California is a mess, of course.
Please consider it. You would fit in better with the right-wingers out here than you do with the liberals back there! (Not because you agree with them, of course, that's not what I'm saying at all)

At July 17, 2010 at 3:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"(the right wing assholes put her and everyone else out of work for a week last week when they went to the Cape..."

Perfect example, Mr. Pork! On the East Coast, her bosses will be infuriated when they see the stuff you wrote about them. Out here, why, she would get a promotion, or at least a raise if they knew her boyfriend was calling them "right-wing assholes" on his blog. Out here we know there's no such thing as bad publicity.

At July 17, 2010 at 4:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

do you have any people that can help? what do you need in the short term (if there is such a thing)?


At July 17, 2010 at 5:16 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...


No, no one can really offer anything but sympathy.

I'm not going to give you a sum and say, "Give me this."

But our rent is $650 a month. Our auto insurance (due in a week) is $45+. It costs $50-60 a week to feed us. It costs $35-40 to fill up the gas tank. NStar gas is about $20 a month. Electricity is anyone's guess since we've been using the AC during this heat wave.

We have less than $300 in the bank right now with one more $240 or so check before we get shut off for good.

So do a little basic math. We're screwed.

At July 17, 2010 at 11:32 PM, Anonymous Jacqueline S. Homan said...

I can sympathize. I am long-term unemployed without any income other than the $20-30/mo in royalties from book sales from books I have written and published (all non-fiction/social justice genre). I get food stamps, but that's all.

Two months ago, after FINALLY managing to scrape enough money from salvaging scrap metal (in between sending out resumes and copies of my articles in my writing portfolio), I got slapped with a diagnosis of glaucoma when I had my long overdue eye exam for new glasses at Sam's Club.

I was told I needed to get to an opthamologist right away for a more thorough glaucoma follow-up exam and begin glaucoma treatments so as to halt the progression of this incurable condition.

Without treatment, I will go blind. Sight loss from glaucoma is gradual, but any sight lost from glaucoma is irreversible and permanent.

But with no money, no health insurance, and no income, I can't get the medical care I need so I will at least have half a chance of getting back on my feet.

As a 43 year old woman with more than 3 years gap in my employment history, getting a chance for a job is hard enough. But without my eyesight, I'm screwed. I can't help myself and "pull myself up by my bootstraps" if I end up stone blind for lack of resources to get the help and treatments I need.

In PA where I live, poor adults without kids can't get Medicaid unless they're terminally ill (and then they must fight like hell for it).

People think there's "all this help out there" for those of us who are jobless, poor, and really down on our luck. The truth: There's not.

I have researched every possible avenue online, every agency. You either have to be over 65, or you have to meet some ridiculously impossible to prove/meet criteria — such as income tax returns as proof of income. But when you have NO income, you have no income tax return to use as proof of your situation.

So I am totally screwed and can't get help to save my eyesight. And without your health, you have nothing. No hope, no chance, no shit.

At July 18, 2010 at 10:04 AM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

Damn, Jacqueline. I'm very sorry t hear that. Don't you have health insurance of any kind? I know, silly question. I, too, saw Michael Moore's Sicko.

At July 18, 2010 at 1:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I really thought that making a donation would make me feel good. Why do I feel sadder? Probably because I know that what little I can give won't help much. So much for the "small government" conservatives who would have no social safety net and have us count on our friends, neighbors and churches for charity, and medical care, according to some dumbass pundit whose name escapes me. See, the problem with counting on your countrymen to help you out is that those most able to help you are the least likely to actually do so.

At July 19, 2010 at 8:49 AM, Blogger Barry said...

That Crashing Sound is the collapse of the American middle class. Or maybe it's just me.

Things are tough all over, JP. Best of luck to you. If you have to go nomad (like we are considering) remember that there is a whole country between the coasts. You're welcome to visit with us if you pass through Cincinnati.

At July 19, 2010 at 9:06 AM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

Anon: If you gave something, thank you. If you didn't, just remember that every little bit helps.

At July 19, 2010 at 7:12 PM, Blogger Jill said...

Anon: That dumbass pundit was Republican Rep. Eric Cantor.

At July 20, 2010 at 11:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay,Mr. Pork, have it your way. You wanna hang out with those stick-up-their-ass, witch-burning puritans in that no-account, one-horse, two-bit, three-strikes, four-flushing, fifth-rate, six-and-violins obsessed, seventh-inning-stretch town, don't blame me if you end up behind the eight-ball.
Just say "nine" to the North-East, the West is only about ten states away. I'm not saying you'll get rich out here, but it's much easier to make eleven.
Damn it, Pork, as you can see, people are counting on you!

At July 20, 2010 at 11:12 AM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

Well, I'm a native New Yorker and Mrs. JP's from Rhode Island. But as far as we're both concerned, we're New Englanders. I've lived here off and on (mostly on) for going on 33 years and we're both perfectly comfortable here. The unemployment rate is lower than the national average and, finances aside, we're both very comfortable here.

So, while I'm sure Mountain View is a beautiful city, New England has its charms, too. Robert Frost was a native Californian but New England got him early in life.

At July 21, 2010 at 1:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the response. If you have a deep attachment to the area, and god knows it's beautiful, full of history, has four seasons, all that, it's hard to leave.
I just feel you are either a born or made Westerner. When I read you, I hear the voice of the west, as I've heard it for the 30 years or so I've been here. Best of luck wherever you are.

At July 21, 2010 at 5:13 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

It's very interesting you would say that, Anon. What is it about my writing style that suggests "westerner" to you? I always thought I wrote like a hard-boiled, smart-assed New Yorker. No one's ever said about me, before.

I'm not saying you're wrong or misinformed. I'm just curious as what it is about my writing that suggests I'm from the west coast (in fact, the only time I ever spent on the left coast was when I was in BUD/S on Coronado Island off the coast of San Diego).

At July 22, 2010 at 11:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, yes,you are more verbose than is customary out here, and that makes an apparent difference, and that has to be adapted to, if you come out west. But it's the way you relate to the world, the real world of your everyday life as you detail it in your blog (not, or as opposed to, the literary world of your fiction writing, which could be the same anywhere, that's up to you, of course.) Jurassic, which strikes me as very much more typical of Westerners as I know them. And when you and the people around you are in sync on things like that, life is easier. I think you would do well in the west. Of course, it has to be admitted that I have spent my 30 years out here in a time of economic expansion, one long boom, really, and the West coast I know might be going away with the contraction. So it might be more accurate to say that I wonder why you didn't moved out here 20 years ago.
Best of luck wherever you are. So there it is: you blog pretty detailed about your life and how things are going, and I always get the feeling you would do better in the west. And of course, it's a pretty subjective judgement, of course.
You were in the military, but that didn't get you to the WC for a time? Many, many, lot's of the people out here from the East were first brought into contact with the WC while in the military, and then either stayed, or returned when they got out.

At July 22, 2010 at 11:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I ever spent on the left coast was when I was in BUD/S on Coronado Island off the coast of San Diego).

I missed that first time through. You didn't get time to get into California mainland tho? Or not enough to have it call you back when you were done, anyway.

At July 25, 2010 at 12:07 AM, Blogger Kelsey said...

All I know is we got to help each other get through this, whatever it is.

I hope you'll have enough to get through the next month. Keep letting us know your situation. I can help out while I still have the means, but hopefully your situation stabilizes soon.

At July 27, 2010 at 12:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All I can say is that I hope, if the future allows you the time and resources, you plan to motor west.
Travel my way, take the highway that is best. (I don't think you can use Rte 66 anymore), Specifically, the Northwest, and see if it doesn't tell you "This must be the place"
It's no jive, get your kicks on I-5.

At July 27, 2010 at 12:51 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

They closed down RT. 66? I didn't know that. I do know they renumbered Rt. 666.

At July 28, 2010 at 5:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, this is what I'm going to do. When I read in your blog that you are coming out to the West Coast, even for a visit, I'll get in touch, and do what I can to make the trip pleasant, and maybe show you some places you simply will not be able to leave. This is a great place to be during a recession, as long as you got out here and settled before it starts.
I just can't help thinking you would own this place if you had gotten out here a few years ago.
No, it's not New England in Autumn, but it's got a lot going for it.
Best wishes to you and yours.

At July 28, 2010 at 6:15 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

I appreciate the offer but I still can't understand why you're so obsessed with getting me to CA. I'm not from around there and would fit in about as well as a Great White in the Gobi.

At July 31, 2010 at 1:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...Oregon would be my suggestion, Portland to be specific. But that's just a suggestion...

Uh, yeah.

Buddy, I've lived in Portland for over twenty years. For the last two years, I've been unable to find anything but temp work. If it wasn't for my partner's generosity, I'd be sleeping under a bridge right now.

Speaking of which, the city is about to start reeling again under a fresh wave of budget cuts. As usual, the people already most hard up will be taking the brunt of it.

Some hack at the NYT drooling himself/herself silly over a few cutesy-marketed "green" jobs doesn't mean shit. Trust me on this.

-- ms_xeno

At August 4, 2010 at 6:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not California! Not now at any rate.
More like somewhere outside of Olympia or Vancouver Wa.
But look, don't worry about it now. If you are going west for any reason, make sure to mention it on your blog, and we'll take it from there, if it's doable.
And if you don't like it you'll have a return ticket, so what's to lose?


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