Tuesday, February 24, 2009

New Gang In Town

Yesterday there was a report of graffiti in one of the washrooms, so it was handled in the way we are supposed to handle all graffiti: call the police so they can come out and identify any gang symbols for documentation.

It did not surprise me that the washroom had been tagged again. For some reason, the local gangs like to claim our washrooms as their own territory. Could they be more disgusting? What is it about washrooms? Have they not seen all the rogue turds and urine on the floors and ceilings (yes, ceilings; we checked with an ultraviolet light), not to mention all the menstrual debris? They WANT this? They want to be associated with this? They want to OWN this and call it theirs? Far be it from me to stand in their way of claiming a dirty fecal chamber as their territory. The next thing you know, they'll be marking up the lawn at my house, where my dog has pooped all winter. This is what they want to be associated with, right?

It turns out the "graffiti" in the washroom consisted of three letters: B T W.

Seriously. BTW. That's gang graffiti?

So, we have a new gang in the neighborhood. The By The Way gang. They're giving the WTF gang a run for their money, and as their name would indicate, the BTW gang is leaving a lot of people hanging as well. While they may beat the WTF gang, which is pretty clueless, we think they'll be no match for the LOL gang, which is long established and very rooted in the community. If you live here, you are in or know someone in the LOL gang -- membership is almost contagious, if you will. You just don't walk into this town with your BTW name and think you can take over from the LOLs. And if you keep up with the gang hierarchy, you know that the LOL gang is ruled by the ROFL, which is ruled by the OMG gang, which is ruled by the OMFG gang, who just plain rule. So, even though the BTW gang likes to think they can just walk into our building and claim our waste receptacles as their own, I really don't think the OMFG gang will allow this.

Hopefully the water-solubility of the tagging in the washroom is an indication that the By The Way gang is not going to be here for long. I'm sure there are other toilets in the world they could claim. But it was flattering to think that there were warring factions of gangs competing for our plumbing.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Typos Make My Job Fun

While trying to help someone find a book on sock puppets, I mistyped my search terms and found myself with a case of the giggles I could not get rid of.

What did I type?

Cock puppets.

Think about it. WHY hasn't someone come up with this yet? And how great would it be to use old socks to make cock puppets?! I'd pay to see a cock puppet show. Once people get good, maybe there will be ventriloquist cock puppetry. Marionettes. Children's shows may never recover.

Coming soon: cock monkeys.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

And I Don't Mean the Cereal

Last week my brother and I went to the post office because we both had packages to ship. I’d sold my second pair of earrings from my Etsy store, and my brother sold a collection of comic books to a man in England. We both had completely blanked on the concept of filling out a customs form for his package, and after waiting in line to get to the clerk, we found ourselves leaving the line to fill out the form, and then having to get back in line again for another eternal wait.

As he was filling out the form, I recognized a patron from our library in line and I quickly turned around so she wouldn’t see my face and recognize me. Silently, I pleaded with him to fill out the form slower, which he didn’t pick up on and soon we had moved to stand in line behind the dreaded patron.

This package he was shipping was going to cost $70, so we were taking turns holding it, trying to figure out how much it weighed. I never dreamed she’d turn around and want to participate, but then again…

Crazy Bitch: Did you say that’s going to cost $70 to ship?

Bro: Yeah, to England.

Oh no! He’s talking to it! Don’t make eye contact! Don’t make eye contact!

I hadn’t warned my brother about her. I just turned around and tried to ignore her. I could only save myself.

Crazy Bitch: How heavy is it?

Bro: I really don’t know. More than ten pounds, I’m guessing.

She reached over and put the box on her hand so she could lift it. Evidently her arm is an acutely calibrated scale. My eyes were rolling and I had my back to her, trying really hard to make all my irritated faces at anyone but her.

Crazy Bitch: Oh, this has to be at least twenty pounds, maybe twenty-five!

Bro: You think? I don’t know. I wouldn’t be surprised, but I don’t know.

Her arm needs to be recalibrated because the box was 12 pounds.

Crazy Bitch: Yeah. Easy. Maybe more.

Bro: Okay.

Meanwhile, I was still facing the opposite direction, trying not to look directly at the fellow in line behind us, who’d taken a step back since I turned around and faced him. Occasionally I would smile at him, and then I’d look away while rolling my eyes and gritting my teeth as the conversation continued behind me.

There was silence and she finally turned around in line again until she decided to whirl around and scare the living daylights out of me.

Crazy Bitch: I went to high school with you two, you know?

Bro: Oh really?

Crazy Bitch: Yeah, what year did you graduate?

Bro: ’96.

Crazy Bitch: Me too. So we all went together.

This was when I couldn’t stay silent another moment if just to disengage her from belief that we were at all connected.

Me: No, I graduated in ’91 so I never set foot in the same school as you.

I immediately turned around and faced the guy behind me again, who looked like he might be getting used to my intrusion.

Crazy Bitch: But you probably knew my sister. Did you know Cindy Brown?

I turned half-way back.

Me: Nope. Never heard of her.

Crazy Bitch: Well, she was a stuck-up snob anyway. Did you know Mark Jones? Steve Smith?

Me: Nope.

Crazy Bitch: Hmm. Did you know—

Me: I don’t remember many people from high school, so there’s no point in asking.

Crazy Bitch: But you and I went to school together.

She motioned to my brother with her head. He shrugged and looked away. I think he was finally picking up my lead.

A clerk at the desk became available and she was called over, thankfully. I don’t know how much longer I would’ve been able to stand there and try not to talk to her before I would’ve snapped. And it would’ve happened. And it wouldn’t have been pretty.

My brother didn’t ask what was going on there, but I felt compelled to explain.

Me: She’s cuckoo for Cocoa-Puffs.

Bro (laughing): Oh really?

Me: She comes into the library and we’re scared of her. When we got in line behind her, I just kept dodging her gaze so we wouldn’t make eye contact. She’s fucking cuckoo. For fucking Cocoa-Puffs.

He laughed. I didn’t elaborate until we got back out to the car, for fear that her cuckoo ears could hear us and she’d go ape-shit.

I wrote about her once upon a time on a former blog, so some of you old-timers might remember this story.

She was walking around the library and she heard one of our staff members using “gang words”. She claimed to know what “gang words” are, and he was using them. The poor librarian she grabbed to report this to didn’t take her seriously enough, so she reported this librarian to the director. According to her, we were employing a librarian who was an obvious gang member because he was using “gang words”, and another librarian who didn’t want to get the gang member in trouble, so she disregarded the complaint.

I told you. Fucking cuckoo. For fucking Cocoa-Puffs.

So, in my post about her, I wrote the following:

I was dying to ask what words were “gang words,” because I wasn’t aware of them having ownership or sole rights to any words. That probably would’ve been on the news.

“This just in! The Happyville-6 gang has officially purchased/won the rights to certain words, which are for their use and their use alone! Do not use these words! If you are heard using these words, you will be subject to whatever punishment the Happyville-6 chose to inflict upon you. The words you are no longer allowed to use unless you are a member of Happyville-6 are now flashing on your screen. Do not use these words!” And on the TV screen you saw flashing in large white lettering, “Soliloquy, hubris, agog, sassafras.” The anchorperson was aghast and then went on to say that more words were still in negotiation, but that these four words were not to be used by anyone outside of the Happyville-6 gang.

Yeah, well, I never saw that on the news, so my guess is this woman was probably wound a little too tight.
Or she was cuckoo for Cocoa-Puffs.

Things pretty much went nowhere with me that day, and she decided to call the mayor and the governor to report this all about her local library, because no one seemed to be doing anything about it. I wrote up an incident report about her and the mayor told me later she called him. He essentially told her to get over it, it’s a public building, and other such intelligence, which she ignored.

People don’t understand why I shop two counties away.

At least when I run into people there who are cuckoo for Cocoa-Puffs, I don’t have a history with them.

Friday, February 13, 2009


With Valentine’s Day just hours away, I thought I’d write a post about love.

Wuv. Twooo wuuuuuv.

Here’s my love list.

I love videos about a burnt koala in Australia being rescued by a fireman and fed three bottles of water. If you have seen me crying at the reference desk lately, it’s just me watching the video of Sam again.

I love being on a diuretic so strong that it makes me have to pee every 20 minutes for the first three hours after I take it. I love it because it keeps my day moving faster. There’s no time to snooze; there’s no time to get lazy; there’s no time for much of anything. Despite loving these special three hours, I decided to cut it in half and take half in the morning and half at night, which means I only have to pee every 30 minutes now – All. Day. Long. Now that’s a lot of love.

I love Chelsea Handler. That’s it. I just love her.

I love my new freezer. I took advantage of the freezer sale at Jewel (grocery store chain) this weekend, which involved Jewel stores causing an absolute frenzy among bargain-whores by offering a 5.2 cubic foot Igloo freezer for sale for $149, and with it comes an envelope of coupons for FREE FOOD, worth $150. So, being a bargain-whore, I bought it. I was one of the lucky few. Jewel, in their infinite generosity, sent something like 15 to each store, or something ridiculous like that, and people were rabidly trying to get their hands on them, showing up at midnight or getting up before dawn to be there when the store opened. Stupid. But now I have a freezer that will allow me to do smart things like buy massive quantities of things on sale. Uh-huh. Yeah. Jewel was the stupid one here. Not me. I have a freezer and I love it.

I love the Christian Bale/David After the Dentist video. It could be the funniest thing ever.

I love watching my brother and Boyfriend Extraordinaire jockeying for position to save my computer when it’s infected with malware. Two men who know a lot about computers, competing to figure out how to save my system, and in a weird way, they both won, but it was me who felt really special.

I love that relief I feel after four hours of trying to pick that sliver of popcorn shell out from between my molar and my gum. It should only take about three days for my gum to heal after stabbing it, scraping it, and flossing the hell out of it all night at work. When it finally came out, I thought I’d pass out from the ecstasy of liberation.

I love Christi. She and her boyfriend found a house they want to rent in a ritzy suburb about 30 minutes from here, but Christi has lived here in this town for most of her life, and as they were driving down the street checking out their potential new home, people outside waved at them and she whirled and demanded, “Wha? Did those people just flip me off?!” Mario suggested they might be waving but she refused to believe it. People don’t wave at strangers! I CANNOT WAIT for her to move in and stories the about her interactions with the neighbors start to roll in. You can take the girl out of the ghetto….

I love making displays at my library. I particularly love the 13 brave people who participated in my Name the President contest, which requires them to identify our last 10 presidents from their baby pictures. People look at the pictures; people try and figure it out; only 13 brave souls have bothered filling out the ballot. I really love those patrons. The rest can rot in hell for not even trying.

I love when three gang-bangers jump a guy out in the parking lot of the library, and he not only wins the fight, but presses charges and has the punks arrested. He really messed one of them up! I love that I got to see that. I wanted to hug him, but that would probably be in appropriate.

I love crossword puzzles. I’m addicted. I need rehab.

I love a quote I read recently that expands upon the famous one about dancing like no one is watching. The quote I discovered is, “Blog like no one is reading.” That’s awesome. I can’t do it, but that’s awesome.

I love the moron who stole our copy of the book Boobs. I love this moron because I have been able to spend the last few weeks remarking that someone stole our Boobs, now no one else can look at our Boobs, and I really miss our Boobs. It would be nice if the culprit would return our Boobs so that others might enjoy our Boobs again. Our Boobs should be played with by many.

I love that if I drink a glass of milk at night, my lactose intolerance causes a seismic reaction in my colon, chasing off my dog, and I get a peaceful night alone in my room to do crosswords without a snoring dog trying to lay on me.

I love that there is an eagle living somewhere near my house. I have seen his nest and others have spotted him, but I have not yet seen him. I love that I have Fridays off and can get in my car and go looking for the eagle. One day I will see him. Maybe tomorrow.

I love that Ann and I will be alone this Valentine’s Day, so we decided to be each other’s dates and go shopping. I might just have more fun this Valentine’s Day than I ever have before.

And I hope you all have a great Valentine’s Day doing whatever (or whomever) you love, too.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Peanut Butter Cookie Time

For the last two weeks, my brother has tried in vain to make peanut butter cookies. He tried my recipe, which is a recipe that resulted in a friend eating 40 cookies in one sitting without getting sick of them and the other 40 the following day. Yeah, they were good. Unfortunately, when my brother made them, he used evaporated milk instead of sweetened, condensed milk, and it resulted in a product that was more biscuit than cookie, with barely a hint of peanut butter taste. To the trash they went! He then dug up a cookie recipe online that called for both baking powder and baking soda, and either by operator error or chemical misconfiguration, the cookies were good during the first three chomps in your mouth, but then the baking powder/baking soda taste hit your tongue and it was like eating medicine. To the trash they went as well! And thus, a deep longing for decent baked peanut butter cookies was born.

Tonight I went grocery shopping and decided to splurge and buy him a package of mixed cookie dough you just pop in the oven and bake: peanut butter cookies with peanut butter chips. If he survived his heart exploding with glee, he might just get to eat one.

When I got home, he helped me put away the groceries and I showed him the cookies, which made him smile and he thanked me. I expected a slightly more enthusiastic reaction given his obsession, but perhaps he misunderstood that they were peanut butter.

Within ten minutes he was back downstairs, wearing that same grin again.

Bro: I think I’m going to make the cookies. I can’t wait any longer.

Me: I’m surprised you held out this long.

Bro: Maybe I’ll just hold them for a little while. Cuddle.

Me: Before or after you cook them?

Bro: Both.

Me: After you eat them, you’ll have to prevent yourself from going to the bathroom, to keep them inside you.

Bro: I’ll tape my butt cheeks shut.

Up until then, he didn’t know they were peanut butter cookies with peanut butter chips, but when he saw this, he started jumping up and down like a kid, repeating over and over, “Peanut butter chiiiiiiiiiiiiiips!” Should I mention he is going to be 31 years old next month?

He yelled at the oven for a little while, waiting for it to preheat. Clearly he was having a peanut butter meltdown.

Bro: I don’t even want to cook them. I just want to eat them now.

Me: Well, the batter is pretty good. Go ahead and eat one raw.

Bro: No, I want them baked, but I want them baked NOW.

Me: Oh, well…hmm.


Me: You’re going to have to find something to do for seventeen to nineteen minutes so you’re not pacing in front of the oven, yelling at it to bake faster.

Bro: It redefines time. There’s time, like normal time, and then there’s peanut butter cookie time, which is way slower!

Me: People will start referring to peanut butter cookie time now. "I was in this accident and it was like everything was happening in peanut butter cookie time!"

When the cookies were finally done, I gave him the cookie rack so that they’d cool quicker. I had to help. He was just staring at them in the pans. I have seen that look before. Every single time I eat near the dog. He was staring at his cookies like the dog does for any food, and he was probably drooling, too.

After about three minutes he declared them cool, put a handful on a plate for himself, and then found a small container for the remaining few.

Me: Oh, who are we kidding? You don’t need a container. Just put them all on your plate and take them to your room. I bet they’re all gone before they’re even cold.

He laughed, but he did leave a few in the container. I doubt they’ll be there in the morning.

They do look good, though.
(Click to embiggen them, if you dare!)

That’s right. Now you want some. Now you know how he felt.

Think about how long it will be before you can get out and get the peanut butter cookie dough and cook them for yourself.

Now think about that in peanut butter cookie time.

Good luck with that.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Your Wake Up Call

Have you had that nagging feeling lately like there’s something on your mind but you couldn’t quite pinpoint it or remember what it was about? Sure you have. Well, I’m about to tell you what that nagging feeling was. You’ll thank me later.

Last week I was graced with the sight of a younger girl, around 190 lbs. (which is probably giving her the benefit of the doubt that she’s under 200), wearing low-rise jeans that likely would have risen a bit higher if they fit correctly, but this young wearer mistakenly felt like she was actually dressed just because she squeezed her legs and half of her thighs into them. She was wrong. She was showing ass crack before she even bent over, and that’s awful. It might have been less noticeable if she hadn’t been wearing a tight little T-shirt that seemed to only come down to her bellybutton, leaving much of her belly, sides and back exposed. Not pretty.

In fact, I assumed she was pregnant. It made much more sense to think that she couldn’t afford maternity clothes, and as she grew with the baby, she was forced to wear her old clothes. It didn’t matter that she looked like she was only 14. It didn’t matter that there wasn’t really a round shape to her belly. I was, again, giving her the benefit of the doubt.

And I was thinking that the baby was probably freezing cold with all of that belly exposed. Poor fetus.

To say that I was surprised to learn that she was not pregnant would’ve been an understatement.

Her mother walked up to her, shook her head back and forth, chastised her for insisting on wearing clothes for someone half her size, informed her that her belly was hanging out, and that she looked like a slob.

The girl rolled her eyes, insisted it was the fashion, which her mother clearly knew nothing about, and she wandered away.

I felt old. I remembered telling my parents the same thing when I grew my hair long and ratty, wore only torn jeans, and LIVED in my denim jacket with all the buttons pinned on it. Of course, that’s not nearly as hideous as this new look, so I do feel a little vindicated in finding this young girl so distasteful.

This is not pretty, people!
It wasn’t long after that when I spotted another lass with a hairstyle that brought sudden clarity to me.

She had the swept bangs thing going on, only it was a harsh case. She’d plastered the bangs to her forehead and sprayed them severely with hairspray, which held most of the style in place except that occasionally there were small splits in the hairs, looking a lot like tattered feathers separating. Now, it’s not the swept bangs that I don’t like, because my hair is cut in the same way (which takes too much work, so I generally brush those bastards back), and it’s not that they slick them down hard against their skull, which, well, okay, I take that back, it’s ugly. But my point is that it’s when they take bangs from one side of their head and sweep them horizontally across their foreheads. Horizontal bangs. Horizontal bangs plastered hard to the skull. Horizontal bangs plastered hard to the skull, separating like tattered feathers. Do you think this is pretty? If you’re taking bangs from beyond the top of your head, and it’s actually from down the side, approaching your temple, and you’re pulling that hair across your forehead, you’ve officially crossed over and taken a bad hair style and made it ten times worse.

Because when I see it, I think one thing: comb-over.

Look at this picture.

If not for the geeky glasses and fake baldness underneath, you could take that wig and pull it forward a bit, which would easily look like anyone at a red carpet event. Seriously. I swear that’s how Kim Kardashian tells stylists to cut her bangs.

Look, here’s a couple with matching comb-overs, and she’s rocking it better than he is!

It’s so wrong! Women should never comb-over! Never! And to do it better? I just…I can’t even find the words to describe my disgust.

Okay, so let’s add it up.

We have women wearing pants that won’t stay up with bellies hanging out, which is a tragically unflattering look, but when they bend over, there’s the even more heinous view of buttcrack.

What’s that remind you of?

Plumber’s butt. That’s right.

Do you see a trend here? Do you see what fashion is doing? We’re taking the very things we have spent our entire lives laughing at, and doing it to ourselves. ON PURPOSE!

Somewhere, refrigerator repair men are feeling very proud of the trend setting they’ve done.

Hey, Marv! Did you see last night Eva Mendez borrowed your hair?Oh yeah! And Keira Knightley borrowed your hair for her look! We are so cool, Stu!

I’m going to start snapping photos of female butt cracks jutting out of jeans that are way too low and turn it into a contest, to see if you can spot the middle-aged man among them. I’m betting it’s going to be harder than you think. Throw in the bad comb-over bangs and you’ll wish I didn’t remind you about the fact that you are sporting a fashion modeled after you dorky, drunk uncle Remus. You may think you look hot doing it, but you don’t. Well, maybe your dorky, drunk uncle Remus thinks so.

What’s the next ridiculous look going to be?

Oh, and aren’t you glad I told you what that nagging feeling was in the back of your mind? You knew the dumpy, middle-aged man look was taking over women’s fashion, but you just didn’t know how to articulate it yet.

You’re welcome. Now let’s all cut this shit out.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Does My Bass Look Big In This Light?

If I was a bass, this is the bass I would be.

No matter what others may say, I am not this bass.

I have medical backing on that.

At the moment, I have a breathing problem, and there are two theories about what can be causing it. One would require a test (I can’t afford), with an undignified treatment (medical equipment) that wouldn’t be covered by my insurance (which I can’t afford). It is the better of the two theories because it’s a non-invasive problem that’s easily corrected. The other theory would require an invasive test (I can’t afford), followed by surgery (I can’t afford) to remove parts and slough away at extra tissue blocking my airway. Either way, we may never know the real cause of this problem because I can’t even afford the tests. C’est la vie. I’m not heartbroken. I just have to figure out a way to deal with these breathing problems.

But to try to support her theory of “redundant tissue” in my throat, my doctor today did a thorough exam of my throat and then said something startling to me.

“You have a very small mouth, you know. And your throat is extremely narrow.”

I have a small mouth?


My doctor says I have a small mouth!

It’s really small!

And she thinks maybe I need surgery!

To make it bigger!


And that just goes to show that you can’t judge a person by her blog.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

All Connected

Having never bought a home of my own, I am really quite ignorant of the finer details of such a transaction. Finer details being everything from start to finish, and all the things I don’t know that I don’t know in between. This bugs me not in the least. There is a finite amount of space in my brain, which is already cluttered with useless information and I have not sought to fill it with more stuff that I have no present use for.

With that out of the way, I’m about to delve into something I don’t know anything about. (Oooh, new territory for me?? Yeah, right.)

A friend of mine, who works for a county non-profit institution that deals directly with the public schools, revealed to me that there is a town in our county currently with a 60% foreclosure rate. It’s a relatively large town (population 36,000 according to the 2000 census) with a high crime and poverty rate, but not too far removed from the status of the town where I live. I drive through it twice a month to see my doctors. It’s a part of what I consider to be My Area outside of My Neighborhood, which is actually quite large. They have never been a rich suburb, even though they are practically next door to the richest of the rich, but this is just a horrifying bit of information. 60% is a staggering percentage.

Lets try to wrap our heads around that for a minute. A MAJORITY of the homes in that town are foreclosing right now. Three out of five families (roughly 21,600 people) are losing their homes. It’s sickening. Where are these people going? Are we about to face a massive influx of homeless in the shelters in the area? Are there enough shelters? What if the shelters are full? Are they moving into the homes of relatives or friends? What’s happening to them?

Okay, before I have an anxiety attack thinking about all the people who are suffering so desperately right now, let’s take a step back and pretend there aren’t real people in these houses. They’re just houses and property that a mortgage company now is responsible for because the tenants have had to abandon their claim.

My pulse is returning to normal and the tears in my eyes are starting to evaporate. Let’s step back even more.

Consider all the banks that service this area. Granted, all these houses are not mortgaged by one bank or else I’m sure that bank would be beyond a bailout, so we’re wondering about any number of mortgage companies now suddenly looking at a huge decrease in their own incomes.

Also, imagine if you will that before these homes foreclosed, people tried to make ends meet as best they could, cutting the things that weren’t essential or immediately going to impact them, and their utilities probably were off and on, all entertainment money was likely deflected elsewhere, no new stuff, no medical care unless absolutely necessary, and only then at an ER where the bill was likely not paid, and surely the property taxes weren’t paid.

The property taxes weren’t paid.

Now that the mortgage companies have foreclosed, who is responsible for those taxes?

I know, I’m supposed to be this reference chick, but I haven’t been able to find definitive information on Google, and when I find information, it’s written in a lingo that I don’t understand. What I have gathered is that the tax responsibility falls in a few places, likely with the mortgage company, or if the mortgage company can try to push it off on a future buyer, then the next owner will pay it. There was something about deferring the property taxes and something about…oh forget it! I just don’t know, but it seemed like often it just was not being paid.

With a 60% foreclosure rate, the property values are plummeting. Factor in the fact that there have to be vacant houses all over town, children floating in and out of school without a stable address to come from, homelessness is frighteningly high, and a multitude of other issues, and I bet property values in this town are next to nothing. So, even if people were paying the property taxes, that likely won’t amount to much in the present and near future.

How safe are those of us who work for non-profit organizations whose funding comes from property taxes? Schools, police departments, fire departments, all local government, public libraries, etc., are all tied directly to property taxes.

What happens when we lose 60% of our town’s property to foreclosure, and a comparable amount is lost in tax revenue?

I’m not going to pretend for one minute that what I do at the library is anywhere near as important as a teacher, police officer, firefighter, etc., even though the library provides some essential services to people who can’t afford things like a computer to look for jobs and apply for government assistance online, or a means by which their kids can read and conduct their studies when parents can’t afford to buy them every book they need to read, but if it came down to it, I’d feel better knowing that the library was perhaps only open a few days a week while the police force was still fully manned. Unfortunately, that’s not a direct sacrifice that we can make. But I am guessing we are going to have to make some sacrifices and very soon. While the foreclosure rate in our town is probably quite a bit less than 60% today, we cannot be that far behind. Will we follow in their footsteps? What would we do?

My family is getting by merely by the skin of our teeth right now. We’ve given up cable, Internet and a slew of amenities we were accustomed to, as well as forcefully losing various utilities temporarily, until we could have them restored. Fortunately, LIHEAP has bailed us out of a few emergencies with the utilities, and my mother and brother now receive food stamps (which are no longer actual stamps, much to my surprise), in addition to my mother’s usual box of semi-edibles from the food pantry. We pay the mortgage, then triage the utilities by what can legally be shut off during the winter months, and I find myself having to eat eggs for breakfast everyday (because they’re cheap) and popcorn for lunch everyday (because it’s cheap), and for dinner I get to splurge and make something with meat and veggies. If fucking sucks. It sucks big, sweaty monkey balls and it infuriates me that at this point in my life, I’m in this situation without any ounce of hope of it getting better. I do not want this life. I hate-hate-hate having to live like this! No one will hire my brother, my mother is too scary to leave the house, and her Disability check doesn’t cover much of anything, so we live with what my check can give, and if I want any wiggle room at all, I’m going to have to get a second job.

Now, contrary to the paragraph you just read, I know all too well how lucky I am. Somehow, we keep the electricity and water on, and a roof over our heads. Somehow we all eat our necessary fill of food everyday, even if it’s not the best food. Somehow, we get by. My socks and underwear all have holes and new ones seem like a luxury beyond my means right now, but I know I am very lucky to have those holey socks and undies at all. My car has bald tires and the brakes squeal like crazy, but it runs and I’m not living in it. I am lucky. People have it much worse than me. Like, say, 60% of the people living in that destitute, nearby town.

I think to myself, if I get a part-time job to help us pay our bills without having to skip months and accept help from LIHEAP, am I taking a job away from someone more needy than me? Maybe someone with small children. Maybe someone who has been without any work at all for a very long time. Should I be out there competing with people who need the job more than me?

What if I lose my job at the library because our library loses a ton of funding? Then what? What the hell would I do? Why should anyone hire me when I am unmarried and childless, when there are so many unemployed people out there who don’t even have a home anymore? We’ll lose our house and be in the same boat. Then what?

No one is safe. And it’s just getting worse. It scares the hell out of me and all I can do is try not to think of all the people suffering around me and just try to keep my own head above water. But it isn’t working. And I don’t know what to do anymore. Because everyone who suffers effects everyone else.

What can I do?