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In today’s America there is no need for a contract for millions of my fellow working stiffs. With many states like mine ( Florida) having ‘Right to work laws’, unions are few and far between. Duh, like not even 10% of private sector workers are unionized. So, you work for a boss on hourly, weekly or on commission ( as this writer still does.. for over 40 years) you can be replaced or as the Brits say ‘ redundanized’ just like that! And they complain, the Fat Cats who own industry, about slow motion or uncaring employees. Well, like with the guy who put in our laminate floors told me several years ago : “At the place I work, with three of us wood craftsman, the owner just bought himself, his wife and his two children new BMWs. Yet, never a thought to give us raises or a nice bonus at Christmas.”

Let’s not just obsess over the shitty work climate for blue and white collar working stiffs. No, check this out: I used my smart TV and found many ‘ Free Channels’ meaning no cost to watch. I got into a three season series and was really hooked on the storyline etc. Well, with this channel, TUBI, they have more commercials than I have ever experienced. The way things are set up if you try to leave the show you may lose where you are in it, so I had to sit through the ****. Most of the commercials were geared for young millennials ( 20s to early 30s) or the Medicare age folks like myself. I could not believe commercials pushing ‘ Up to $500 cash NOW with no hassles’. Then you have the ones like Credit Karma whereupon the guy wants to rent this apartment and his credit score is low. So, with Credit Karma you see the guy signing for the ‘ way too costly for my budget’ apartment as the For Rent sign is taken down. God bless finance capitalism! How about this one, again geared for that 20 to 30+ age group. It’s so easy to buy a new car or sell your old one. With the app in hand this young woman bought the car online… having never test driven it. No bargaining on the price, and who cares, this is modern America! The other young woman is bragging about selling her car online, and how much she got for it. Again, no bargaining. Obviously, those transactions were through some corporation that has the analytics down to a science… for them!

Twelve years ago I decided to go back to doing stand-up comedy after a hiatus of 40 years. There was a comedy contest at some club in St Augustine, about 50 miles away. I signed up by computer and wrote a nice bit for myself. It was primary election season, so I focused on that and my other major peeve: Dental charges for most Americans with no dental insurance. When I arrived at the club, we contestants met with the MC. He was a regular comic at the place, maybe early 30s. Nice guy. I drew the short stick so I had to go on first. He told me that he would warm the audience up and then introduce me. The rule was to go for 8 minutes. I sat offstage by the bar to observe him. He spent his entire warm up time of 10 minutes with Fart, Tit and Dick jokes. They were laughing hysterically while I was sighing. ‘ I’m dead!’ Before he introduced me I did a quick study of the audience. Thirty five people, mostly two tops, a few fours. Their ages varied from mid twenties all the way up to the lady sitting by herself who looked my age.  I started out with the Republican primary contenders.’ It’s funny folks but if you think about it anyone can kind of look like someone else. Look at the Republicans running for president in 2012. You have Newt Gingrich who looks like a pedophile Bishop.’ { Only the lady right below me is really laughing}. ‘ Then you have Rick Santorum, Senator from PA, who looks like he belongs under a car changing the oil with Gomer and Goober.{ Silence} ‘ Or Sara Palin, who looks like a very attractive Drag Queen.’ { Oh boy, tough crowd}. So I changed gears and did my dental bit. ‘ How many of you folks have dental insurance, raise your hands.’ Two thirds of the audience raised hands… are these people from earth? I went on anyway. ‘ With the way things are nowadays here is how a first visit to a dentist will look like. You’re in the chair, he probes your mouth with his assistant taking notes. ‘OK # 17, $2200- root canal and crown. # 6 and #7 both have cavities, $ 600 total. # 21 $1100 ‘ { The lady below is laughing through it all, while with the other 34 people a silence that can kill. My mouth became as dry as a desert and I prayed the 8 minutes would come… and they did! I walked right out and drove home and never looked back.   

During the Vietnam debacle in the 60s and early 70s many of us college students and young working stiffs got out and protested. Even before and after the Bush/Cheney illegal ( and immoral) invasion of Iraq we had many young folks joining us on the street corner. Perhaps not as many as when we had the military draft, but still enough to give us some hope. Well, since that time where in the hell are the majority of our young Americans? Nowhere to be found, except in the bars and clubs doing what we all did at some time: Partying. The difference is that my generation of young Americans who saw through the **** found time to both protest and party. Not anymore. The empire now owns us. As far as those senior citizens like yours truly, well, too many of my fellow baby boomers are more concerned about their next Social Security check, investments and personal health care. No room for the people of Gaza or the dead end job workers throughout this nation. No room for the blatant racism, homophobia and yes, real Anti Semitism ( Thanks to Israeli actions it has mushroomed) that have infected too many of us.

Finally, this Military Industrial Empire actually loves it when working stiffs and retired working stiffs are divided by issues their embedded media and politicos embellish. We have finally become, for certain, the permanent consumer society we always were, especially after WW2. Those commercials reflect just how far down the rabbit hole we landed. When the choices continue to be presented to us of who should rule us, between a Clinton and Bush Sr., a Gore or a Bush Jr., and Obama or a McCain, a Hillary or a Trump, and then ( twice, mind you) a Biden or a Trump, we are lost as a culture. And they laugh at the other ‘ Banana Republics’.

PA Farruggio
April, 2024