Thursday, November 29, 2007

Swiss Family Soylent Green

When I was a kid I wanted to be Swiss, the youngest son of John Mills and Dorothy McGuire (not to mention being the kid brother of yummy James MacArthur) who, with my make-believe family, was stranded on a desert island in the South Pacific.

Oh yeah, and I wanted to live in a treehouse. Not just any treehouse, but the most fabulous treehouse (water powered) in the world. Built by the Imagineers (before they were called that) at Disney. I loved "Swiss Family Robinson." They were nice people and life on the island was idyllic.

Unlike real life.

In real life I lived with a bunch of crazy alcoholics until it was time to move out and try to figure out what normal was (I failed and became a crazy drunk just like the ones who had raised me).

But throughout the crazy childhood and the even crazier drinking adulthood, there was always this sort of Pollyanna (yes, another Disney reference) deep down inside of me, who thought that somehow or other, magically, life would "turn out okay" or that somehow I'd crash-land on an idyllic desert island with a picture-perfect family.

Then I got sober. I've succumbed to the reality that life doesn't often turn out okay unless you put a lot of grunt-work into it.

I don't think that we Americans have been putting in enough grunt work for the last 50 years or so since World War II ended. Oh, we worked like sons-of-bitches during the war. But then we got cocky. And entitled. And downright lazy.

I have a theory that we're all going to be in for a very rude awakening and not in the too distant future, either.

I think that within 20 years we're going to see a horrifying spike in the suicide rate in this country as more and more boomers (like me) hit the old-age/lack of financing wall.

Longevity, dramatically diminished means of support and an increasing reliance upon an already overworked and overpriced medical system are going to be the straws that broke the camel's back. People will simply run out of options, until they're faced with the only practical solution -- self-extermination.

Government won't have to "fix" Social Security. It'll simply need to wait it out -- until enough old farts do themselves in to automatically make SSA solvent again (which will also fix Medicare).

I think that we've raised a generation or two of hedonists who, frankly, will be relieved to see millions of us head off to early graves. That way there'll be more for them!

I realize it's dark thinking. Even "stinking thinking" in recovery parlance. But it's also an idea that keeps popping up in my head.

Things are going to get real ugly. And soon.

I just hope that when the time comes the survivors willl remember to NOT eat the Soylent Green.


Bev Sykes said...

As someone turning 65 in 2 months, I didn't need to read this. :/

JoyZeeBoy said...

Sorry, Sis. But I'd be intellectually dishonest if I didn't write about ALL my thoughts, fears and feelings.

Once upon a time, I cared about nothing more than gay rights.

Now I'm totally interested in social security and national health.

Aerten said...

You are such a ray of sunshine, Ron. But you're right... there were days oh so long ago that gay rights and women's rights and funding for AIDS research was all I cared about. Now I'm looking at toiling away at this desk until I drop because I can't afford to retire.

(And my childhood fantasy was to live in the orphanage... that's how bad MY family was.)

JoyZeeBoy said...

In my case I both drank up the retirement funds and frittered them away on a so-called boyfriend who wasn't a boy and certainly wasn't a friend.

It doesn't matter. Like you, I'm gonna have to work until I drop dead in the saddle.

And you know what? That's actually not such a bad thing. I don't do well with unstructured time. The last time I took a couple of years off I wound up nearly drinking myself to death.

p.s. I like your art a lot.

sillama1 said...

You probably have tapped into a collective-consciousness meme that is brewing in a bunch of people's heads. I'm past 65 and still working, but happier than I used to be when I was living in the U.S. That's cause I can earn enough to live on relatively easily here in Korea. A solid group of good friends is another big plus,- expats and local folks. I'll just keep on till I get too feeble. Then head for the nursing home. Or take Bruno B.'s path. Till then, I'm going to enjoy living every day, one at a time.

Hugs from Asia,
~ Sil in Corea