by Neena Strichart
Quite a while back, I had made the ultimate boo-boo; I accidentally deleted everything in our business email account. When I realized what I had done, I broke out in a cold sweat and thought I was going to faint. As we all know, deleting emails immediately sends them to the Land of Never To Be Retrieved… or so I believed at the time.
After I collected my senses, I quickly got on the phone with my computer go-to guy, Mike Mora of Genus Services. He sweetly scolded me for my carelessness and then said he would try to retrieve the discarded files. It took a day or so, but he did it. He will forevermore be my hero. When recently looking through those old files, I came across a commentary meant for my eyes only. It was sent to me by Dianne Theil McNinch more than a year ago. I reread the humorous yet poignant message and was so glad it had not been lost forever. Coincidentally, I ran into her at the Bixby Knolls Car Wash’s 35th anniversary party two weeks ago, and I reminded her about that email she had sent me so long ago. After claiming she still felt the same way now as she did when she wrote the piece, she agreed to let me print it for you all to read. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did and still do.
Life is tough right now, so many of us cannot get jobs. Many of us are unable to acquire employment because we are: overqualified, too old (they won’t admit it when they hire a younger person), too set in our ways (we won’t admit it), or too discouraged (and having a hard time admitting that).
So we turn to “the gratitude solution,” make a list of all that we are grateful for, and concentrate on that. Yeah, yeah, yeah, that works for a bit, and then the reality of the pile of pucky we are dealing with comes back.
Some would say we are dealing with events that have a lesson for us to learn. Bullpucky, I just want to wallow in the miasma of my own misery. Okay, I get it. What the heck do I have to complain about? I do have a roof over my head, food in the house, and a car that at least gets me around town. I know a lady who lives in a tent down by the river and recycles out of my dumpster, and I leave special food packages for her. I know many folks that must rely 100 percent on public transport, and a former neighbor just had a leg amputated and now uses a wheelchair. I know folks who are going through tremendous health challenges with cancer.
But, dagnabit, I want to wallow in my own problems for a while. I want to cry, to tear up and sob that I cannot get hired for jobs I could do really well. Working for a nonprofit, marrying folks, being a hostess at a restaurant, being a security guard– these and many more are jobs for which I could not get hired.
I absolutely need/require more income than my meager SSI provides. My basic outgo exceeds my income. Basic, really basic: I have not purchased new clothes in two years, and my car is almost as old as my grown children, and it moves as slowly as I do. I am falling more behind in property taxes, and that is a worry. I want to enjoy my self-pity, and yet am unable to properly immerse myself. I’m truly scared about the future.
Why can’t you and I just get down and get funky for a while, and stop all this frickin’ Pollyanna outlook about how much we have to be grateful for. I want to mourn the loss of income, the loss of personal travel, the loss of travel to volunteer to create greater good, the loss of opportunity to donate cash to a lot of the good causes in my city, the loss of driving a car that can travel on a freeway, the loss of being able to pay someone to help me with the upkeep of my home, the loss of buying new clothes, the loss of buying nice fragrances.
Heck– I want to have a pity party on my level.
That is it, just by typing that phrase, I can name it. I want a pity party on my level, on the level of MY discontent. I want a pity party that acknowledges that we don’t have to be reduced to living in a tent by the river to feel sorry for ourselves. Or face tremendous health challenges. We have and deserve the right to feel sorry for ourselves at the level we are in. I don’t want to stay in the well of despair; I just want to go and have a dip for a short while. I want to have, say 20 minutes, of gut-wrenching despair, crying, sobbing, cursing the universe for the inequity of it all. Then I’ll climb out and get back to my Pollyanna self. Want to join me?