Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Poor Me! Brigade

It's been estimated that 1 out of 6 Americans are on disability.

Good God. It's like a Wonderland of laziness.

In a nutshell, then, five adults are getting up every day and going to work to support one person who is not willing to do so. Wonderful. I'll think of these delicate flowers when I arise at 5:45 am on Monday to plunge into my 13-hour day.

Here's the thing, though ... I really don't mind giving a few dollars to support the profoundly retarded or the incredibly (legitimately) disabled - it's what a decent human being does. However, I haven't seen that it's the case. In fact, I've spotted all sorts of "impaired" folk at their jobs. There's a man with several handicaps who labors diligently at the place where I buy dog food; he's there, without fail, ringing up my dog food purchases for years. I applaud him - he's pleasant, competent, and helpful to customers. There's also a man missing a leg and an eye at the local grocery store. Not only will he bag my groceries with finesse (honestly, it's a skill to do it well and quickly), he'll do it with a smile and a joke, and he'll offer any assistance I may need in loading the bags into my car. He's got an amazing sense of humor, and he's a main reason that I patronize that particular store .. dammit, who couldn't use a laugh, right? Right.

However, I know a few people who are on disability. "Depression" seems to be the common cause of it. This annoys me, since I, myself, have been diagnosed with a pretty severe depressive disorder. Guess what, though? I get up every morning and I go to work. Even when it's unpleasant. Even when I'm in physical pain. Even when it's damn near unbearable to function, I go. It's what you've gotta do to survive. It's what you do as a grown-up. It's not fun. It's hard as hell some days. But, then again, that's why they pay you.

It's odd to think that I know people who are missing limbs, I've worked with wonderful people who happen to mentally retarded, I've had dear co-workers who are deaf, blind, missing fingers, missing limbs ... hell, I had a job helping recovering heroin addicts who happened to be felons get back into the work force. They showed up for their jobs every day, and we'd joke that a job is like taking a shit ... you may not like the timing or the process, but you're guaran-goddam-teed to have to do it every day.

And not one of these people were on disability. I guess they weren't depressed enough. *sigh*

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