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Monday, July 6, 2009
(July 6, Too Many Places In America) Disgust is more than a feeling, an emotion. It is a sickness that infects the spirit and soul in profound ways. Disgust is widespread today. Disgust is alive and well in places all over the country.
Disgusted people could give a shit that Michael Jackson died or that politicians are cheating on their wives, quitting their jobs and just being as obstinate, criminal and self serving as ever. Disgusted people don’t understand why big banks get billions of tax payers money, why general Motors should be saved or even how to get their minds around a number like one trillion.
Many of the disgusted are unemployed and have been for far too long to not be disgusted. Some have abandoned the job search while others still knock on doors, read want-ads, ask if a friend of a friend knows of anybody looking to hire. The disgusted are becoming familiar to rejection but not at all used to it. Their unemployed status defies every cell in their bodies and for far too many nights they sit watching infomercials, staring at the walls as the room slowly brightens to another jobless day. It is understandable how, by now, after months of not working, of little or no income and no prospects, disgust has become a heavy, itchy garment put on and worn every day.
Bills began piling up months ago. For the first few months most were somehow able to juggle; pay this one this month, pay that one next month. Meager savings, transferred into checking accounts in small increments, have run dry. There is no more and there is no more on the horizon.
Pride has taken an awful beating and, in some cases, it is down and out for the count. How many times can person be humbled, virtually forced to ask a brother or sister, a close friend or relative for “a little something”, a small loan “just to make it work this month”?
The layoff occurred before Christmas. The cold seemed an appropriate condition for the newly unemployed. To remain idle, without sustainable income as the calendar pages flipped and the summer set in has been as terrifying as it is disgusting.
People are disgusted, primarily, and not necessarily rightfully, with themselves. All of this has to be their own fault, right? They are disgusted with employers who got the best they had to give every day for years at a time - yes, jobs that had once been much more than only their source of income, dismissed them unceremoniously. Tough luck, you know how it is.
With the sense of purpose eroded over all these months, the sense of accomplishment and worth stolen along with a job no longer theirs, disgust slowly begins to fill the void. Disgust can easily give way to acute anger, sometimes an outburst totally disproportional to the event. Disgusted and angry people cannot see very far; the next bill in the mail, the next collection agency phone call, the next time some creditor must be told “Listen, buddy, you can’t get blood from a turnip.”
There is also fear. What will happen if I get sick? Or my kids? Or my wife? What about Mom and Dad, they can’t be making it either? Disgust can develop into dread and than back to anger because, at the heart of it all, it’s money. Actually, the lack of money.
Disgust, for some, may manifest a resentment - he’s got a good job, I don’t. People never before prone to resentment, jealousy or envy now find increasing segments of their daily internal monologue occupied by these very sentiments.
To the disgusted we speak of here, all happiness has been sucked out of life; there is no pleasure, there can be no diversion from the crushing problems of chronic unemployment, despair and debt. These ar the other two “D’s” completing the triple headed monster - disgust, despair and debt. You have to live it to know how it tastes, what it does to your body and mind and how it slowly deflates a spirit until wanting to see another day becomes a fifty-fifty proposition.
Disgust is usually reserved for things, objects, scenarios or events; disgust in the common usage is something triggerd by an external stimulus or one’s reaction to a certain stimulus. When disgust is directed at one’s self (maybe self loathing is more grammaticaly correct, but, who gives a shit) that can be a moment of truth. The past races by with a dizzying sense of disorientation - where did it all go? It seems like only yesterday I was... fill in the blank.
It is not natural to be disgusted with one’s self or, at least, not for very long. This chronic disgust, hopelessness and sense of profound uncertainty can play tricks with your head. It can become the soil for some really odd, wild, irrational thinking. Rationality suffers when disgust is dominate. Reasoning is impaired because all points of reference have dramatically shifted. “I have never been in this position before.” Indeed, new ground, uncharted territory, the heavy sense of being trapped. Trapped. No way out or around these current problems; no way to pay the bills, no way to buy enough food for everyone.
The car needs tires and a brake job. The roof leaks, the toilet leaks and the bedroom window has been broken since Thanksgiving. There is no one to call because the phone is about to be disconnected; they will only leave you alone for so long before they yank it out. Good. Who needs the damned thing anyway?
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