The economy sucks, global climate is in a tail spin, every nanosecond someone, somewhere in the world is breaking a bone or turning grey, and I’m trying very hard to lighten up.
I leaf through the mail I just picked up and my heart begins its own dubstep vibes; Kohl’s has sent me a 30% off coupon, JC Penney wants to reward me for being a fabulous customer, Pier One says they’ll knock off $10 for every $50 I spend, Subway has my favorite deal – BOGO, but only if I use it this Friday. Amid this cornucopia of delight is my credit card statement. It reads worse than my progress report for a ski lesson that I once took – Does not understand the basic concept that her skis should touch the snow and not stay airborne during the entire ski run.
I scan the vast expanse of my purchases this past month and I know what’s coming next; sequestration. The cuts would be split 50-50 between domestic and discretionary spending. It’s going to be brutal.
My husband walks in, glances at the total and like John Boehner, he sighs. “You shouldn’t feel like you can single-handedly prop up the economy,” he says. “It’s a shared responsibility. Let the others do their part.”
“I know, I know,” I tell myself. “No more bail outs. I’m not too big to fail.” It’s those blasted coupons and the clearance racks that are doing me in. They drew first blood.
My daughter and partner in crime concurs. “It’s really hard to resist,” she tells him. “Who can pass up a $4 pair of skinny jeans, or a $3 Liz Claiborne sweater? Plus, we always get you something,” she reminds him.
We share a conspiratorial look. She has my back. This is brilliant. By making a purchase on his behalf, we were essentially making him a part of the problem.
But he isn’t buying any of it. “Got to tighten our belts,” he says soberly. “Immediately.”
“Hey, I work ….”
“But it only pays for your hair color,” my daughter reminds me.
At the dinner table we talk solutions.
“We could stop eating,” says our resident drama queen. “Would that help?”
“That’s overdoing it, don’t you think?” says our oldest, ever the voice of reason, whose growing wish list roughly equals the cost of 30 credit hours of college tuition.
“Aw, don’t say we have to live on love and fresh air ….” pipes in our youngest, who has the appetite of a Hobbit.
Zephyr, our mutt, is starting to look really anxious. He’s understood two words in this conversation; “stop” and “eat.” He’s put them together and naturally drawn the only conclusion any reasonable dog could. Bet he’s wondering how sequestration will impact his social-economic status. Will he be part of the domestic or discretionary cutbacks? Is organic turkey jerky a discretionary expense? What about his dog chow chock full of blueberries, chicken and tasty veggies? Will he have to now settle for something generic?
Across the table, our brood of three is contemplating the very same issue.
“I guess that bomber jacket like the one Detective Burkhart wears in Grimm is out,” our oldest says sadly.
“No, I’ll buy it for you when it goes on clearance,” I say cheerfully. DRAT! There’s that word again; CLEARANCE.
One look at my husband and I know that this time, COMPROMISE is out and any chance of an ELEVENTH HOUR DEAL is off the table.
The next morning, my husband reminds me, “The Senate (him) has done its job. It’s time for the House (me) to do its job.”
En route to school my youngest wonders, “What’s sequestration mean?”
“It’s like when a person’s hands get cut off for stealing, and then they chop off his feet because that’s what got him to the place where he stole, and then they lop off his head because that’s where his brain is; you know the one that thought up this scheme in the first place.”
“Ouch, it sounds painful,” he says sympathetically.
No kidding. In my desperation, I’m left with one recourse; I clutch at Boehner’s famous words, “Hope springs eternal.”