New short story! A holiday classic! Holy text of the Archussip religion! What?

A brand-new short story has gone up for the holiday season! In chapter 7 of Wandering Fortunes, the religion of Archussip was mentioned and talked about. This is the holy text of that religion. It is a moral-addled story of why you should obey the invisible pony sky god, Gourd, and why They are so great and why science is so bad? And also, Hollywood?

I wouldn’t call it a mess, per se… I’d call it a religious text. Archussipism is a religion rivaling that of, say, Scientology, or Mormonism, or… Catholicism.

feel free to tell me what you think!!

Snapped at Work: Don’t Work a Job You Hate

Let me get real with you for a moment.

I snapped at my dayjob on Sunday.

So I worked selling health insurance at a call center. People called in, I would talk to them, figure out what the best plan would be (spoilers the best plan for everyone is single payer/Medicare for all but that’s besides the point, not really), and then enroll them into it. I did not like a single part of this.

I don’t like talking on the phone. I don’t even really like verbally talking. I can go a week without talking to anyone and be fine; at this job I could have to talk to 250 people in one week. I’m no good at small talk. I’m not great at multitasking. I’m not a salesman. And I don’t like health insurance. I HATE health insurance. It’s a garbage system that results in overpriced garbage. People pay money to get mediocre insurance and that money then goes towards trying to convince other people to get mediocre insurance that will fund more advertising for… I mean, Aetna (the company that the program I was on was contracted with) gave people $10 Visa reward cards for calling and going to meetings. This is the most capitalistic garbage nonsense and I got sick from so many people calling in literally because $10 is this giant boon to them because our garbage society makes people live off garbage to survive so that a select few can own the figgin solar system. I’m getting off-topic.

So what was I doing there? I mean at the end I wasn’t even sure anymore, but how did I get into this job? I was fresh outta college and needed a job because I rashly decided college would be a good idea without considering the fact it’s only a good idea if you can either do it free or do it specifically to become massively rich at the expense of everything else, possibly including the college you went to. I went to a temp agency and got a job at this health insurance place. No real job interview, I just started. Even though I was bad at basically everything the job needed.

Anyway this has been boiling for two years starting when there was mandatory overtime because we were way too busy because the system is stupid for only letting people enroll in a small 2-month window and they don’t have enough people working because presumably no one in their right mind wants to work there?? Between the actual work and my hate for health insurance things, as I said, just kind of boiled until I finally exploded on Sunday. It wasn’t this one thing–it never is, is it?–this was just the, as they say, last straw that broke the camel’s backlog. The pot had been so close to boiling over for so long, this one thing finally overflowed it like fireworks.

Unexpectedly, this final straw was a rude caller. And honestly I can’t blame them for it, they said they’d spent an hour and a half on the phone, the worst communication system humans have ever created. Usually I could deal with rude callers, but between the stress of the Aetna program, hating health insurance more, and just generally feeling like I didn’t know what I was doing anymore, I finally snapped. I later realized it wasn’t even because she was rude, it was because I couldn’t help her well. My being there was a detriment not just to myself but to everyone I talked to. It turns out capitalism can lead to terrible results when someone gets stuck at a job they don’t like and can’t do well! If I liked the job, that would be different, but since I didn’t that could only lead to worse outcomes. If I can’t get a job I at least like, I should get one where I make, if not a net positive outcome, at least not a net negative one.

When I snapped I at least still had the awareness to mute myself but then I just went at it, screaming and throwing some stuff, I’m pretty sure I threw my headset and I know I threw my water bottle. I seriously don’t even know what I said. I might’ve said “I’m done,” “I quit,” I probably said, “I hate health insurance,” I think I might’ve swore once?? I definitely screamed. I think I threw my water bottle down, it bounced up, and then landed in a trash can–almost, but when I thought it did, I was still flippant enough to stop for a moment and remark on having made a basket. (All I know how to do is make jokes, Someone Please Hire Me To Write Jokes, Oh Gourd I Need To Get Out Of Indiana, The Land Without Jokes.)

One of my supervisors came over to calm me down, asked me if I needed to take a walk. I did. It was sprinkling outside. So was I. I swear I haven’t cried in a long, long time, but I did. I sobbed a little, even. (In retrospect I wish I’d sobbed and cried harder, even when alone I tried not to but honestly it would have been a lot more cathartic I think if I’d just bawled like crazy. I’m thinking of heading out to the lake one of these days and just screaming across it, seeing if I still have some emotions pent-up in there, because whenever I think about it I’m like “okay i would actually rather like to cry like that again please”.)

I walked to the end of the parking lot. I seem to remember thinking I laughed a little because of how long I’d held it all in, but if I’m being honest with myself there was no laughter there. When I finally went back inside my supervisor had organized my stuff for me. Let me tell you, the only thing I regret from this is that I had hoped to leave the job with some dignity intact, because the only thing I liked about the job was almost all my coworkers were nice and wonderful people. If any of you somehow read this, you’re all probably great and I’m still sorry I didn’t leave before I exploded. I really shouldn’t have come back after this year’s furlough, but I just didn’t realize how close to my breaking point I’d been at. And, you know, capitalism. I “need” a “job.” Well, I need money is what I need, but a universal basic guaranteed income is still a long ways away, it seems.

I’ve been looking for a job just about all year. In the last several months I’ve started just applying to everywhere I might be able to reasonably be hired at and do. That means no more customer rep or sales though. The fewer customers I have to talk to, the better. I do have enough money saved for a time though, and plus I have the figgin most wonderful parents ever, so things will probably be fine. Maybe this can be a turning point, my second novel should release soon (even sooner now that I’m not spending half my figgin time awake doing something I hate), maybe I can become a super success right quick. (Hahaha if only life was a book. Well sometimes it is.)

So why am I writing all this? Originally I just had the idea of a brief explanation just to sort of outline why I might suddenly have more of an online presence again and also why I might not post about single player/Medicare for all every single night (working in health insurance kind of keeps it really far in the forefront of my mind). However, there’s now another reason, and it’s why I’m also going to post this on Medium, and it’s basically this:

If you’re in a job you hate or can’t stand, and you can, leave. Like I said, my only regret is not being able to leave with some dignity. Leave before you explode out of there. If you can’t just leave (insert another rant about capitalism forcing people to work themselves into mental illness and exhaustion), keep looking for another job–don’t stop just because now you have a way to not die, thanks capitalism. Of course, I’m different, I can hardly function in normal society, I can only function on the internet society. But hey, I’m on the internet right now. And what I’ve come to realize is we’re all a lot more similar than we are different.

Anyway, it’s been three days. I should probably call the old dayjob place to confirm with them I’m not coming back.

Universal Health Coverage

I read this article from The Nation: Medicare-for-All Isn’t the Solution for Universal Health Care. Now, despite the initial thoughts that might come from that title, it’s a pretty good article. It’s partly why I never refer to it as Medicare-for-All. I’ve sold Medicare plans, I know that it’s usually not enough. I usually say Single-Payer, but the article also points out that’s a broad term and not entirely accurate to the many forms of universal health coverage found in all the other 1st-world countries. I mostly use the term as a springboard, then, I think–a phrase isn’t a policy, but it’s an idea to start from.

However, I’m not a policy maker, nor an economist, or a health care professional of any kind. I’m just a weird writer. I’ve also sold health insurance so I can definitely tell you how health insurance sucks. But I’m not one for solutions. That’s why we elect policy makers, really!

I don’t expect a candidate for anything to have a fully fleshed-out 100% complete ready-to-go let’s-just-vote plan, but I certainly expect support for creation of such a plan. Single-Payer is a good way to start.

If anything, I just don’t want to have to go through private corporations in order to pay for something I need.

(And I quite like the ideas laid out near the end of that article in the second-to-last section.)

Health Cake System

Let’s say you have a cake. Let’s say you have the Greatest Cake in the World. Now let’s say that cake is covered in rotten maggots. You must get through the rotten maggots to get to the cake. Maybe you can pay the rotten maggots to bring you the cake? Maybe some want to actually train the maggots and dress them in tiny waiter suits and make them carry tiny plates around? Maybe they’re still maggots?

Some people have pretty good cakes. Maybe not the best, but it’s good. You can have as much as you want, too; just pay the entrance fee. Maybe that maggot cake has an entrance fee, but you’re actually paying for people later on, those people have to pay the maggots anyway, and there are people outside ranting about how the bakery is going to be demolished any day and the only way to prevent it is to give the maggots complete control of the cake.

On one hand, I just now realized I’m basically calling insurance companies maggots and feel I should apologize, but on the other hand, I really don’t think I want to.

Anyway, let’s say you have Greatest Cake etc. but without maggots, but it’s on top of a mountain. Sure, you could buy a helicopter to fly up there and get it, but what if  all you can afford to help you climb is a rusty shovel covered in blood and a big maggot that failed its driving test? What if someone says they’ll pay for those tools, though? What if someone says they’ll buy you a whole helicopter? Oh. The maggot is flying the helicopter. Well, shoot.

Anyway, it turns out the entire time the cake was a fake and was actually a craps table in a casino, and you can bet money on how much cake you get. Then it turns out you spent a lot of money and got a lot of cake but you’re not even hungry now. The person next to you had no money to bet and is really hungry. And then the metaphor breaks down because, I mean, the cake-winner could just give some cake to the hungry person, right? Because we as humans would ever do such a thing?? I mean the cake goes bad at the end of the year so you have to bet again for some and everyone has to do it at the same time in a short period so it’s UTTER CHAOS

Dear the U.S., aka where I live: can you eliminate the middleman on health care please. I work for one, and I won’t mind!