Luckily, out of country.....I learned a new trade.
Now, watching big industry destroy any hope of my company, my family and my workers ever having any kind of reasonable chance at any acess whatsoever to any kind of health care....even that available to tribal Africans in the middle of war zones in the middle of the most desolate and backwards part of the planet.....I am lining up my options.
Luckily, my grandmother had the good sense to be born in a backward, third world country....not to mention my grandfather.
Grandma was a scholar. Her college poetry teacher was shot against a wall in a prison in south Dublin....400 meters from her classroom....for advocating the kind of freedoms we all take for granted and willing cede away. Grandma voted with her feet, married a writer/gambler/horses guy and emigrated to Redondo Beach to live the new life in the New World.
Grandpa Jack meanwhile got kicked out of his upscale Irish family for his penchant for gambling...and probably his penchant for speaking truth to power. He started a labor newspaper in Terminal Island amongst the Irish sailors and workers.....and got a beating for his trouble. The ruptured intestine, and the drunken doctor who was all Grandma could afford were not enough to keep Jack alive.
Grandma took the Red Trolley from Torrance up to USC every night to finish her degree. She left Uncle Jim to fend for himself in Redondo....and farmed out my mom to the Sacred Heart nuns up in Menlo. Mom rarely saw her family.....she is still kooky about holidays and family.
Grandma finished her degree....and her determination led her to become the first woman principal of a school in LA County.....White Point School in San Pedro, overlooking Terminal Island.
Grandma married a ship's carpenter who worked in the canneries. Grandpa Tom had grown up in the same small town in Ireland as Grandma.....Tom was a carpenter...an union man. The process of progress from apprentice to journeyman to master carpenter actually carried with it physical changes and deformities that eliminated the need for any kind of written union card: hand held wood planes required that the apprentice bent in his little finger to hold the plane steady as he smoothed the giant beams used in shipbuilding. After only a few years, the pinky finger became permanently twisted and bent under and into the palm of the apprentice.
Hence....when Grandpa Tom found himself in America looking for work....all he had to do was hold out his hands, in lieu of CV. The crippling effects of his work were enough to guarantee him entree into the higher levels of his profession: union carpenter.
Chefs and bakers have similar deformities. The skin on your forearms....the ones that moms use to test baby bottles...are especially sensitive, and prone to scarring. My arms look like those of one of those scary tribal Nigerian bus conductors in London.....and I got two new "stripes" on Monday: one under my right arm, one behind my right elbow. No wonder that Vicodin is the State Bird of Caterland.....
Anyway.....how ironic is it that now.....as I watch my health care insurance costs spiral out up beyond my rent....that I realize that it is perhaps time to cash in my genetic and social heritage.
I am a dual citizen. My grandmother's and grandfather's birthplace in Dungarvin guarantee me a passport to the country that millions of my relatives left 150 years ago as being the most brutal, murderous, deadly place on Earth.
Ireland was Darfur in 1846.....probably worse.
Ireland was Chechnya in 1921.....probably worse.
Ireland was Lebanon in 1969.....probably worse.
And now...this destitute, benighted speck of exhausted land and exhausted people has a health care system that makes that of the "Greatest Country on Earth" look like Darfur's.
Check this out: