Life: His and Hers

“Health insurance is a scam,” he said. “I refuse to purchase this useless farce.”

He set down the enrollment papers and looked at her.

“What? You are not.” she rolled her eyes.

“Nope,” he said. “Don’t need it. I am strong. Like bull.”

“Bull is right” she snapped, then went on. “Now, I don’t think you need it if you’re healthy and take care of yourself-”

He came to attention, his eyes focused on hers, “YES.” He paused, contemplating her. “You know?.. you are so sexy when you make sense.”

She rolled her eyes again: “BUT… you need health insurance in case there’s an ACCIDENT.”

He grew distant. She was no longer recognizing the appreciation he was giving.  “Leave me,” he said simply.

She had a look of confusion. He explained: “Leave me there. At the accident. No hospital, none of that technology that only extends our life into dementia and incontinence. What a terrible place to be, so confused that I’m unable to wipe my drawers after I shit myself!”

She shook her head, “The technology is there to save your young, dumb life. And you can’t refuse care if you’re hurt. They’re obligated to give you care-”

“WHAT KIND OF AUTHORITARIANISM ARE WE LIVING IN TODAY?” he burst out, making her flinch and then look at him, tired and disgusted.

He saw her reaction but rambled on, “A man just can’t be left alone to die? Why are we forcing unwanted medical procedures on our citizens?!”

She sighed, “We live in a society now. So you need to leave the cave and join us in this century.”

“I’ll tell you what all this health care is, at its core…” he leaned in like he had a secret gem he was revealing. She opened her mouth to cut in, but instead of her voice out came his:

“Health care is a system of manipulation…by the owners,” he proclamation.

“You’re a weirdo,” she responded, and started checking her fingernails.

“No, it’s true,” he was adamant. “All the industrialists, you know, the BIG ones. Multinational, international, the powers that be…It’s an elite club. And they want only one thing.” He paused.

She allowed herself to be drawn in: “And what’s that?”

He answered, “To make sure they stay on top, of course.”

She shook her head and took out her phone. She raised it above her head, checking angles on a selfie. He ignored this and went on, “…even those in government. They want to make us think we need them, so they force us to have insurance.”

She had settled upon the optimum angle for her selfie, and conjured up a seductive smile. He continued,  “…across every continent. The leaders in each major sector, they are all synchronized,” and this is where he brought his hands together and interlaced his fingers to put a finer point to it:

“They’re organized into a net, no, a web, that goes across everything, from government to business…They both know it’s far better to squeeze as much capital out of the workers, basically, to keep them busy working….then health care is there to provide them the healthy worker to keep everything going. Bring them in to work, clock in, releasing ownership over their lives. You know… to the overlords. And then they clock out, obediently, because the checks they get are like a bribe, a little treat, like a mouse running in a laboratory maze.”

She finally gave him her full attention and snapped, “Are you serious now?” It was a stern reprisal, like for a dog that peed on a rug…a rug that really tied the room together.

He was brimming with righteousness at the injustices of modern society, and then his face softened, “I don’t want to live past my prime. So, as a preemptive message to you, before I get too old to make my desires clear:” he paused, and then, “I’m dying with my boots on.”

“Your boots…?” she said with genuine wonder at what he meant. She asked, “Who ARE you?”

“What, you’re not impressed by my act?” he said with raised eyebrow. “I’m an entertainer,” he stressed the word, entertainer. A giggle escaped her lips.

“See, I do this because I know you enjoy it,” he smiled and reached out to pull her close to him.

She smiled and let him. “I do like it,” she said quietly.

He brought her face close to his and very slowly kissed her, then let his lips hover just out of reach of hers, so that they felt the heat of their breath on each other’s faces.

He said softly, “Actually… I love doing it. It doesn’t matter who it is I’m with.”

She pulled back, and then leaned in to push him forcefully with both hands. Her eyes were indignant but her mouth twisted into a smile.

“You’re a dick,” she said, and got up and walked away.

“What…?” he called after her. “You’d said you wanted honesty!”

Your strength is needed. Now…more than ever.

Some people think they know better than others. You know the type. They give advice on everything. They believe they have the system of do’s and don’ts that will work. They want what is best for you. And they believe they know what the best thing for you to do is. In fact, they think they know what is best for everyone.

Others believe it’s better for people to make their own choice. They believe people will strive, work, share, and care for others. Not because we’re forced to, but because in a stable system of laws, that is what we will do. They believe people should have the freedom to live how they want, but without hurting others. To choose what passion to follow, where to work, how much to pay, how much to get paid, what to buy, how to explore their own consciousness, and who to congregate with.

There are those who want a system of control because they want to protect people, not just from others, but protect them from making the wrong choices. They want to protect us from ourselves. They are cautious of people. Do they even trust people?

They like giving guidelines, and providing a program. They believe in a high standard of living, and they want everyone to have that standard, not just the opportunity for that standard, because they think everyone deserves it. And they will engineer a system using their formula of mandates that will get you this, regardless of how this effects the financial condition of the country. They will make it too affordable to pass up or they will cook it into the system so you have no choice.

These people truly want to help others.

And they believe they are the expert authority on that. And they believe in a central authority. Like a central bank that controls money, or a central insurance company that controls health care, or a central department of energy and agriculture to provide corporate welfare. Or a police authority that has taken our right to trial, so we can be arrested without charge.

Those who believe in people are different. They are courageous, because living an empowered life is damn scary. But that is why we are here. Not to make a perfect world, but to accept that life is not going to be perfect, and anything that is worth doing in life is risky. And caring about someone else is not about giving them something. It’s about being their friend and helping them face to face, not through a check delivered by a service taken from our paycheck.

We’re here to make choices, not have someone else make them for us.

We’re here to get hurt, mend, learn, and grow. And when we see someone else hurting, we’re here to extend our own hand and help them up. Not pay others to help them for us. Because people need to intimately know they are valued before they can do something of value. And because you cannot make someone care about you by forcing them to share with you.

We’re here to explore our passions and our own consciousness without being restricted on what we can do, unless it hurts another person.

We know that we cannot get as far alone as we can by joining others, but not in faceless networks. We’re here to share life in a community, because we must have the opportunity to learn that without guidelines or incentives, a rich life is one of honest collaboration with others.

We know that if we give leaders the authority to do things on behalf of us, we must remain aware of how they are using this power. And that we must stop them when we feel they are doing a disservice to us.

We know that we should treat everyone else how we would want to be treated. And so we act accordingly.

These people trust humanity to do the right thing.

Some might call these libertarian values.

But they are not.

They are called human values.

And I believe it is how we should live.

How to fix a problem 101: Address the cause

The city decided to start providing water to the runners at all the charity runs. It was for a good cause, and the runners needed the water, and it would be a good gesture of support to the community. So the city contracted a company to provide the water and it went well for the first year, but the next year the company raised their prices, just a little. They said they were switching over all the water to bottled water, which the runners had been preferring. The city agreed, and another brilliant year of charity runs went by. At the end of the year, the company again raised their prices, indicating that they were upgrading to higher quality water. The city again agreed and another year of runs was soon completed. At the end of that year, the company said they had found a great response to the few water misters they had installed that year, so they were increasing the prices again. The city wanted to keep the runners happy and so agreed to the price increase again. And so it went, year after year – the runners were getting water, energy gel packs, sunblock, sunglasses – until the city decided to add a small fee to the entrance price of all the races, so all the runners could chip in for the benefits that were offered.

After a few years, the company’s prices kept increasing, and the fees kept increasing, and the runners reacted: Some runners didn’t care. They didn’t think about it too much. Others thought it was reasonable, since everything that was offered was good for them. Others were irate that they were being forced to pay for things they didn’t use much, or at all.

If you were the city, would you continue accepting the increased costs and raising your fees? Is there anything else you would do? Got your idea? Great. Now let me change a few things in the story.

Say instead of water and sunblock, it was health care. And say the company was an insurance company. And instead of the city, it was the federal government. And let’s call the fee a tax.

We need water. Everyone should have water.

And we need health care. But do we need bottled water and energy gel? Do we need the number of MRIs, CTs, and surgical treatments that are provided every year in this country? Studies have found many of them unnecessary, so many, in fact, that it is one of the main drivers of our relentlessly increasing cost of health care. The other factors? Administrative costs of working with different insurance companies.
And the third factor: People not following their doctors’ orders.

So, who gets the blame? People for wanting better stuff? The city or the company for wanting to give the people what they want? Everyone is responsible, which means no one should be blaming anyone. Pointing fingers at selfish insurance companies or rich doctors or people who choose to be unhealthy does nothing except deny each of us our responsibility.

Would you do what the current government is doing and force a water tax on everyone, regardless of their responsible use of the water?

Would you continue to feed the beast of the health care system as costs increase year after year after year?

Or would you try to bring down the cost of the product by addressing why we’re using water misters when maybe what we need more of is education and a reusable plastic bottle we can fill from the tap?