Dying with Debt

I think it is fairly common practice that when you are feeling down-in-the-mouth, or depressed, or down-and-out, or what have you, most of us go to our parents, or someone who is like a parent to us. So, what happens when a parent comes to you and tells you that they’re depressed?

Yesterday, my mom told me that my dad was not his holly-jolly-Timmy-Mullaly ol’ self. She said she didn’t know what was wrong but he was quieter, more quick to frustration (which is fairly common for Dad anyway, so it must’ve been pretty bad), and openly told my mom that he was depressed, which is something Dad never does. My mother’s solution was to buy him a new coffee maker, so he wouldn’t feel bad about the old one breaking. But I had a feeling it was more than a coffee pot’s problem.

I took the opportunity to talk to my dad, just he and I, and I think he just needed someone to listen last night. He heaved the feelings that were clustering in his chest off into my ears, and I listened carefully. I think I’ll have to plan a day trip soon with him, but ultimately, I think there comes a time in everyone’s life now and again where we just get fed up with the same ol’ shit day in and day out. I want to think that this is where Dad is at.

He’s turning 65 next week, and there is no signs of retiring anytime soon.

“Blue collar worker my whole life,” he shrugged. And that’s just it. My father has worked his whole life in the blue collar field – shipping, packaging, etc. There were moments when my father could shine with his cooking, but never was given a true chance all because of money. Anytime he was ahead of the game, he’d get slapped in the face with responsibility. That included me. His money that he has earned has helped me get straight teeth, a college education, and a car loan. It kind of makes me feel guilty.

Granted, my father didn’t even complete high school. He left school around the eighth grade back in Ann Arbor, Michigan and worked at gas stations and restaurants to make his way. He later went back and got his GED, but didn’t go any further. It was blue collar jobs from then on out.

Why does money have to be our God? And please, don’t act like money isn’t God in your life. Everything revolves around money. Everything. Even religion. It’s all about the dollar bill. And even at the end of your life, you’re only as good as your money. Once you’re in the ground, your family has to pay for your death. Funeral costs, headstones, et cetera. It’s disgusting.

I told my dad that I loved him and that he’s much more to me than the money he makes, but I know it wears on him. It wears on him because Mom wears on him about money constantly, and he feels he doesn’t get a minute to enjoy his life because of all the work he does. This is not fair. I should not have to see my PARENTS struggling like this. My country is so (pardon the language, but) fucked up about its economy and how it works. There are people suffering, silently, begging for help with no help to be had. People are falling through the cracks, dear Government Officials, and your baby booming generation is falling into that crack badly. Fix it, you jackasses. Quit paying yourselves and help the people who have worked tirelessly their entire lives. Like my dad.

He deserves retirement at 65 more than a politician does at 50. It kills me to see him hurting, to see him struggling financially and emotionally. A man like my father is breaking at the seams in hopes of being able to live the rest of his life happily. I guess that’s what the meaning of the “pursuit of happiness” is. We pursue it, but it seems not all of us will get there.

We’ll still be paying off our debts.

Debt until we die.

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