Sunday, October 21, 2007

Autumn Leaves (soon)

Make no mistake about it, there’s still fighting and dying going on. This war, though, waxes and wanes in our collective hyperactive consciousness.

We are concerned right now about the coming primary campaign and wonder if it all wasn’t started way too early. A wash of candidates flows over us with every touch of any medium: television, the web, newspapers, newsmagazines – Clinton, Giuliani, Obama, Thompson, Richardson, Edwards, McCain, Huckabee, Biden, the messages all the same in that you only hear what you want to hear.

On Friday the stock market took a 367 point tumble and that, mixed with continuing bad news about the achingly slow (for a real estate family) real estate market, no doubt suggests to the young that the end is near. To the old it’s simply another dip in an economy they never felt treated them fairly anyway.

On an unusual personal note, a recent leg injury has thrown me right into the middle of contemporary health care, from emergency room visit to a specialized orthopedic clinic. Unlike some forty-odd million Americans, we are insured (at a cost of about $1100 a month: a choice we’ve made at no small amount of sacrifice), so the primary foe has been not care but fear: Is it as bad as I think? Better than I think? Will I lose my foot, my leg, my ears (heh-heh, just kidding, the ears are fine)? What will the M.R.I. reveal? I’ve done so well (sort of) in three weeks, will the arthroscopic surgery set me back?

We have money in our Health Savings Account to pay for this and, once we reach our deductible, the insurance will kick in. But the Emergency Room visit only revealed that the knee was not broken. It did not show the tissue damage that was revealed at the expensive orthopedic clinic, an exam I was able to undertake because I knew the expense could be handled.

So I can indulge my fear in ways the uninsured cannot.

The dollar is weak in nearly all possible markets, a sign that while the world may respect the boldness and vigor of America, the world does not really like us. The First Bush (GWB) has spoken out, for example, on the recent troubles in Burma and Darfur, but no one actually listens to him anymore. Along with being a fairly detestable person, he is also a lame duck making many of us hope that we can just hang on for the next fourteen-odd months.

Nevertheless, the children are in school, the leaves are turning, the supermarket shelves are full, the merchants are complaining about sluggish shoppers, and the repair job on California Street has been completed.

There’s an upbeat sermon in these latter notions. I won’t indulge it right now.

(from, Cherub: An Iraqi War Diary, by G. K. Wuori © 2007)


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