Monday, August 3, 2009

Paying the premium

Grateful for yesterday's drenching rain, watching the swim team practice in the morning mist, red bathing suits disappearing twice, once into the lake, again into the fog. Yesterday was a good day for the ducks, as they say. You should be deeply grateful -- you could be living out west in lizard country where the aquifers are drying up and your friends are baking. Can't effin live without water.

Be grateful too that you've got everything you need, though you may not have everything you want. The trick is to close your ears to the Free Market Boys and their shilling
experts who always want to sell you something, a new toy, a patch of green grass just over the ridge, an impressive lifestyle, one that requires renting a storage unit, borrowing money, and taking out lots of insurance.

Be grateful that you don't have a lifestyle that requires lots of insurance. Especially these days, when insurance itself is so expensive. Even more expensive than the sure knowledge that nothing under the sun lasts forever. You gotta feel sorry for those blinkered bastards sitting at their spreadsheets, poring over their actuarial tables, calculating the worth of a human life, or the cost of sickness, or how much extra to charge those living in a flood zone. Hell, if someone in the corner office so decrees it, you're paying flood insurance even if you live on a mountain.

You go to church and he's usually sitting in one of the front pews. The insurance agent. A big guy -- the hale and hearty type -- always asking after the family,
so good to see you, how's everybody doing? A pillar of the church, which is, of course, selling you the biggest effin insurance policy of them all. Try selling it to the worms.

Quist used to tell me that there was no such thing as insurance. "At some point, you can't make the payments, and even if you could, you can't bring back the past. Hell, even unemployment runs out after a while. You see those guys standing around on the street corners -- I'll bet they all had insurance at one time or another."

On a rainy day you can't run away, especially when it comes down in sheets, and lightning dances crazily over the green hills of Jersey. So you stay put and pay heed to the creek, grateful for the rushing water, the overflowing gutters, the mud, the ecstatic worms, the washed away remains of last week's Outdoor Living. On rocky paths scrubbed clean by yesterday's cataracts, follow your gratitude down to the lake, filled to the brim in its mountaintop basin. Rain is part of the picture. Just like loss and pain and having to start over again. Without insurance.

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