Taughannock Falls

Taughannock Falls
from: althouse.blogspot.com

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Let's get real for a second

Tonight I was all set to pen a little commentary on Paul Krugman's reaction to President Obama's budget speech. You all will probably hear about that soon enough. Yet tonight real life intruded on my little liberal world. As I write, my acquaintance Jimmy is settling in on my futon in the next room. This is, by itself, of little interest. But how did he get there?

You see, Jimmy called me out of the blue, months after the last time I had seen him in the company of a mutual friend. Jimmy is not really a friend of mine, although we have always been pleasant to each other. He's a man who was raised in a middle-class suburb, and graduated high school. A drinking problem and a hot temper has resulted in his estrangement from his wife, kids, and family. He's a hard worker, and before the housing bubble burst, was usually able to find work on small and large construction sites. About ten months ago his last unemployment check from his last steady job in Massachusetts ran out. Since then he's been living hand to mouth, often sleeping outdoors.

So why did Jimmy call me tonight? Well, he showed up to the shelter 20 minutes late, and was turned away. A couple of close friends who might have helped out are currently pissed off at Jimmy, for reasons I don't fully comprehend. It's chilly and rainy tonight, and Jimmy really didn't want to sleep outside. Working down his list of phone numbers, he happened to get me in person. Why did I drive five miles to take him from the rain and let him doss down here for a night? He's not much of a conversationalist, and neither he nor anyone he knows is in a position to do me favors. But he's a human being!! In this wealthiest country on earth, it fell to me, who barely can afford to give Jimmy money for breakfast, to maintain the illusion in Jimmy's mind-- for one night-- that America values people nearly as much as dogs or cats.

Can we do something about this? Do we really need all those fighter jets? Could we possibly ask some millionaires and billionaires to do a little less hoarding and a little more sharing, or better yet, hiring? Let's get real here for a second and pay attention to what America has become. Now back to your regularly scheduled programming...


cassporter said...

Damn, Ulysses! You had to get me all pissed off before I even had my coffee.

Motivated In Ohio said...

"Because he is a Human Being" that is the best reason I have ever heard for helping the helpless.

Cletis L. Stump said...

Ulysses, you, sir, are a kind and caring man. You have my respect. I made up a T-shirt awhile back I allow charities to use for fund raising. "Love is a Verb". You embody that concept. May I reprint this?

Ulysses said...

Cletis, as always I'd be honored for you to reprint my post. Kudos to you for building a little virtual community of caring, creative folks over at the B. of C.!