Friday, May 28, 2010

Too Numb to Cry So I'll Try Laughter

Have I mentioned today that I NEED a FREAKIN' JOB?

Well I do and as I search for employment sometimes it's all I can do to stop myself from just curling up in a fetal position, cursing the fates and furies/Gods and Goddesses or any other entities or "supreme beings" that I can blame.

But now that I've gotten the obligatory whine out of the way, I'm going to talk about some of the folks who are in far worse straits than I am, as difficult to believe as that may be.

If you want to have your heart torn out, watch the video with this Seminal Diary from Michael Whitney. Or read this diary where Michael talks with some of the fishermen effected by BP's environmental catastrophe (it seems Tony Hayward decided to upgrade it from the moderate environmental impact he first called it).

I'm only without a job. The folks in the Gulf of Mexico that are dealing with this disaster are out of a life style. As Michael reports in the second linked diary above:

Now he has nothing but oil. Raleigh estimates that, since the oil sinks into the soil where the oysters grow, it will be at least 10 years before Grand Isle fishermen can harvest oysters again.

Ten years can flash by in an instant it seems, but not when you are waiting for the return of your livelihood. I'm six years into my unemployment/underemployment life now and can't imagine facing another four years of this. I never anticipated I could go this long; yet as I say, I'm blessed compared to what these folks are looking at. And there are thousands more who lived and worked along the Gulf who are looking at years and years of lost wages, lost lives.

I could never do this type of work. Nor could I do the work on the oil rigs. A few years ago I tracked down a high school classmate who has worked oil rigs in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico and tug boats plying the Intracoastal Waterway and was visiting him on Tybee Island, GA. After I had gotten motion sickness while we were standing on floating docks, Joe told a story about how he'd been on a rig in the Gulf when a storm came up. He said there was an accountant visiting the rig the night of the storm who got deathly ill from the motion. I told Joe, that was me.

But it's not just the motion. All these people in the Gulf affected by this disaster are used to hard work. Now they are watching their lives be smeared by the actions of the "Drill Baby Drill" crowd who can't seem to connect the fact that all those regulations they decry and worked to avoid, were in place for a reason. As Steven Pearlstein noted in a column at the Washington Post the other day,
The biggest oil spill ever. The biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression. The deadliest mine disaster in 25 years. One recall after another of toys from China, of vehicles from Toyota, of hamburgers from roach-infested processing plants. The whole Vioxx fiasco. And let's not forget the biggest climate threat since the Ice Age.

Even if you're not into conspiracy theories, it's hard to ignore the common thread running through these recent crises: the glaring failure of government regulators to protect the public. Regulators who were cowed by industry or intimidated by politicians. Regulators who were compromised by favors or prospects of industry employment. Regulators who were better at calculating the costs of oversight than the benefits. And regulators who were blinded by their ideological bias against government interference and their faith that industries could police themselves.

I'm only without a job but I still have my family and friends, most of whom are, if not OK, at least available for support. The folks affected by this disaster are looking at all their families, friends, neighbors and they are all in the same horrendous situation. I can not begin to fathom the pain they are in as they watch their oil fouled lives begin and see the mealy mouthed promises and word parsing from BP and their elected officials.

Please visit the Firedoglake BP Oil Disaster Page for their on-going coverage.

And because I can:


  1. Came here from your blogwhoring comment on Hullabaloo. Like the blog. Best of luck from another person in the same boat.

  2. Thank you.

    I hope you do visit some more.

    I try to post a hopefully pertinent post every day or so.

  3. I, too, am out of work and benefits about to expire. I am a 60 year old single female...those employers are lining up to hire me..hahahaha. My last two employers closed their doors and left me and others scrambling. Hopeless doesn't even cover what I am feeling. Thanks for your insights and to you and others like us.

  4. I came here via your link on Hullabaloo. While I am currently employed, it took me 2.5 years to get here. Best of luck to you.