Life Is Not Fair
Listening to my fave radio station in the world — Louisville’s WFPK — this morning, I learned that it’ll be pushing 60º in the River City today.
Sixty goddamned degrees.
Now L-ville is a mere 71.13 miles from B-ton as the crow flies. So why is it that they get March-like temps and we get freezing rain, sleet, and snow today?
I’m telling you, some rotten-to-the-core weather deity has it in for us.
Condolences; Here’s Your Bill
We all agree that there’s a crisis in health care in this holy land. It’s true even after the initiation of the Affordable Care Act under which some 12 million people are now covered.
Still, though, health care in America is a money game. If you’ve got the dough, you don’t have to worry all that much about fancy tests and ER visits and expensive prescriptions. If you’re poor, well, life is tough, isn’t it?
That is, human health care. What about critter doctorin’?
I know a guy — let’s call him Randy — who’s on the hook for a medical bill from a veterinarian that he can’t pay. He’s an Army veteran and he’s going to school right now, looking to earn his master’s degree in business.
Randy’s cat was injured a while back. Over the next couple of days, the cat’s wound became infected. Randy took the cat to a local veterinarian. The vet told Randy the cat would have to stay overnight. The next morning, the vet called Randy and gave him the bad news — the cat had died that night.
Randy cried his tears and got on with his life. Then the bill came. The veterinarian wanted $600 for treating the cat and boarding it overnight.
To a guy like Randy, $600 may as well be $60,000. He’d be hard pressed to pay if the vet had demanded $60. Randy told the vet he didn’t have the dough. The vet responded by hauling Randy into court.
The two parties have yet to meet before the judge. Randy says the vet is a villain, charging him, essentially, for services that did him and his cat no good. Why, Randy wonders, should he have to pay for them?
This one’s a poser, no?
A Live Cat
Even lawyers, a breed we like to stereotype as money-grubbing, offer services at contingency rates, meaning if they lose your case, you don’t pay them. Can’t doctors do something similar?
The argument can be made that doctors, their nurses, their receptionists, their record-keepers, and everyone else associated with running a well-oiled office still have performed for you whether or not your cat dies or the dot on your skin becomes cancer. Then again, lawyers can say the same thing. Doctors may counter that they actually use goods and products — hypodermic needles, catheters, medicines, and those paper slippers you have to slip on as you trudge down the hall to the MRI room. Somebody’s gotta pay for them.
All Randy knows is he brought his cat in for repair and was left only with an impossible bill.
I don’t know where I stand on this right now. I suppose if I were Randy’s confidant (we’re only acquaintances) I’d suggest he work out a payment deal with the vet or offer to fork over a percentage of the total at once. Of course, Randy would say he doesn’t even have a fraction of the $600.
The only conclusion that makes any sense is being poor sucks.
The Bell Of Bloomington
Our town’s Bell family is quite a high-minded bunch. Janet Cheatham Bell, who lives here, writes about being a black woman, touching on nearly all aspects of living in this holy land, what with our racism, sexism, poverty, materialism, our love of guns, our fear of The Other, and a myriad of different ills. Her kiddo is comedian and social commentator W. Kamau Bell who’s the equal of or better than 98 percent of the gabbers and muggers who appear nightly on television (and don’t ask me who the superior two percent are). He had his own show a while back, on an FX network, but that didn’t work out. He doesn’t look altar-boyish like Jimmy Fallon or innocuously clownish like Conan O’Brien. He looks like, well, a black man and that’s a bit scary for Ma & Pa Kettle.
Bell, Then & Now
Janet has been writing about her negotiations with America for years. Her tomes include:
- Famous Black Quotations
- Victory of the Spirit: Reflections on My Journey
- The Time and Place that Gave Me Life
- Not All Poor People Are Black
Nobody’s made a movie based on any of her works but I’ll tell you this: They’re a hell of a lot more compelling than some upper middle class white woman’s story about “finding herself” by hanging around with sub-continent mystics and shamans.
Bell (Janet Cheatham, that is) this past month did a series of radio and web interviews largely in celebration of Black History Month. Here are some highlights:
- Northern Spirit Radio
- With Cyrus Webb on Blog Talk Live
- WFYI-Indianapolis, No Limits
She hints she has a few more interviews coming up in March — Women’s History Month — so keep an ear and/or eye out for them. Perhaps it’s time we start seeing the likes of Janet Cheatham Bell as more than just token speakers for black people but as articulators of the entire human experience. She is one of us — all of us.