It was by now more than two years ago I got laid off from my job working for the Salvation Army. I miss having a normal day job, and I miss having a normal day job in which I got to help keep track of funds raised for helping people. Believe it or not I still kind of miss audit compliance. I got used to a high level of personal responsibility and attention to detail for how other people's gifts got used. I also had fun researching giving patterns so fundraisers could know who to approach for help on giving to particular programs. Well, that was by now more than two years ago and though there are things about that job I miss I did realize along the way that the recession has been rough. One of my old coworkers at the Salvation Army was a guy who was born shortly after the Crash of `29 and grew up during the Depression. When he told me in `08 that the last time he saw a downturn this bad was during the Depression years I'm willing to defer to the assessment of an old Salvationist who has worked in the realm of helping people longer than I've been alive.
I could have done without getting the onset of migraines at the same point in my life that I got a nasty growing cataract! That's a great way to horrify a doctor into thinking you've had an aeneurysm. I got sent to get a few tests and got some bills for those tests that scared the daylights out of me. Fortunately after nine years of working with financial institutions and government offices at a major on-profit I was able to call on years of experience in researching foundations and non-profits to consult about charitable assistance. I realize a LOT of other people who are severely wanting money are not nearly so fortunate as I have been. I can see with both eyes and read because of the generosity of a foundation and some generous eye surgeons. I have not really officially resolved to do this but I have informally resolved that for as long as I can see well enough to read and write I would like what I write to in some way be helpful to people or entertaining, whether it's prose or music or whatever. Whether or not I have succeeded is not mine to guess at.
I have been grateful for the kindness of family and friends during a time of my life that has often been miserable. But even though the prospect of a steady job still seems remote I can start 2012 doing more writing and continuing the work of preparing some pieces for performance and a piece for publication. Now that family visits and the holidays are wrapped up I'll be able to throw myself back into writing projects. I can't thank everyone who has helped me and encouraged me over the last two years because, in all honesty, I haven't always known who some of these folks have been, but I am thankful for them.
It's no fun having a cataract in one eye and a macular detachment in the other over the course of one's life and at length I could lose both eyes and can't know for sure what the future holds, but I can be grateful for the present. I've had some rough times but I don't live in Japan near the reactor disaster, I don't live in Uganda, I just so happen to live in a city where some of the best medical specialists around for my case history (that happens to scare the daylights out of a few people when it comes to vision) have been willing to go to bat for me. I wish I still had my old job but at least in that job I learned things I needed to know and skills I needed to refine so that I could ask for the help I needed and make a case. I'm finally at a point where my eyes have stabilized enough that I can go on the quest for a new prescription and new lens. I certainly need them by now!
I think I may just end 2011 on a light note with a haiku I wrote years ago that pretty much explains itself. If this has ever happened to you I hope you'll appreciate the dry humor.
Today I got a
fortuneless fortune cookie.
Have I no future?
Happy 2012 to any and all readers of Wenatchee The Hatchet.