And the people we voted for fought against each other because, well, that’s what we do in this land of opportunity where the rich exist on a plane so far above the rest of us that the paltry scraps we fight over become our own idea of class structure. It’s not unlike black on black crime. Except, we fight with our voting registration cards for men and women who we hope will give us the best chance at keeping our heads above water. Or even to thrive. Because when you get right down to it, there’s no way we can live in this ocean together – all of us. There’s no class in that. No structure. No way to measure ourselves. We’re Americans, by God, we live for a fight and the opportunity to win. And winning means someone’s got to lose. Except for the rich, of course, who hand-select our champions of hope and feed them to us through the media. And why shouldn’t they? They’re smarter, after all. They’re rich.

And we’re not. We wake up to the news that really smart people have downgraded our nation’s credit rating – and we have to shake it off like Rocky in round one. We have no other option. We’ve got to tighten our boots and get to work before someone reports us for being late. At lunch we pick up the ridiculously expensive dry-cleaning and put forty bucks in the tank that takes it to 3/4 full. Then, in the afternoon, the stock market crashes and the retirement we’ve so carefully calculated for so long goes full sail into the horizon. Sinking us deeper into the abyss where we can’t all possibly live together. Because there’s no winning in that.

Then we all clock out and drive home together, polluting the skies while sitting in our insulated metal boxes joyfully connecting with those we love to tell them the horrible news: That the world is burning and we deserve each other for allowing it.

Then we remember that at least we’re not our opponents. And so we’ve still got something to fight for.

And we soldier on.

Photo credit


Jim Mitchem

Birthdays Here
Creepy Sexy: Farewell to the Burger King

Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.