Once upon a time, in a place not far from you, there was a little girl whose family was worried about MONEY. One day the girl’s father died, and MONEY became a very big problem for the family. The girl’s mother worried about money. The little girl worried about money, and it made her stomach hurt. As she grew up, she decided that she would go to college and get an Advanced Degree so that she would have some security in her life and so she could stop being scared about MONEY all the time.
The girl, now a woman, could not afford college. She could barely support herself working full-time at her minimum-wage job. People seemed to understand that it was hard to pay tuition, but no one seemed to grasp that it was impossible to support yourself while going to school if you were on your own. The woman worked one full-time job and one part-time job, and attended night school for four years. Then she went to school full-time, and worked two part-time jobs. She had to apply for LOAN after LOAN to stay in school. She beat the worries down with thoughts of her Advanced Degree. She felt guilty about worrying, since she had it so much better than so many other people.
The woman was working on the beloved Advanced Degree when she became very, very sick, and could not work. Her Evil Advisor said “Depressives don’t belong in research!” and kicked her out of graduate school with a lowly Masters Degree, an inferior type of Advanced Degree. The woman had to resort to using credit cards to pay for her health insurance, visits to the doctor, and medication. The credit card balances mushroomed and the student loans came due!
With time, the woman recovered, and was able to work hard. The credit card balances were paid off eventually, and the woman accepted that the student loans were going to be part of her life for a long time. The anxiety fed on this, but that was ok, since she had lived with her friend, anxiety, for a long time. The woman’s inferior Advanced Degree qualified her to work in a job she loved. All was well.
Alas, the woman became sick again. Her brain was sick, her immune system was sick, and all of her joints and muscles were sick. These conditions were permanent and she had to face the fact that she might not ever work again. The woman had to resort to using credit cards to pay for her health insurance, visits to the doctor, and medication. The credit card balances mushroomed and the student loan payments kept coming. The woman watched all of her hard work evaporate, and the debt monster grew bigger by the day. She started wondering about which she should do first: default on her student loans, or cancel her health insurance.
People said she was very Stupid, Irresponsible, and Selfish. They succeeded at life, why couldn’t she? The woman agreed with them. She had been Stupid to pursue an education when it meant mortgaging her future. She had been Irresponsible to get sick with so many different health problems. Finally, she had been Selfish to try to take care of herself and to seek medical help-those resources were only for the rich.
The moral of the story: Don’t try to stay alive, let alone succeed, in America unless an accident of birth makes you wealthy.
Alternate moral: Don’t get sick.