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GREETINGS UNINSURED EARTHLINGS
by Tess Lynch
First of all, I’m very sorry that Heath Ledger died. He was, along with Cate Blanchett, one of the only things that kept me from walking out of I’m Not There; because I’m preoccupied with whether he was being courted by The Cult We Dare Not Name (Theresa Duncan, anyone?), and because I really did admire Heath’s work, I will not post my scathing review of I’m Not There (however, I think Molly put it best the other night when she said “I’m Not There Will Be Blood,” and now I’ve said that and that’s all I’m going to say about it), at least not until Todd Haynes produces something else for me to attack at the same time.
However, luckily there’s something else that I’d like to discuss. Two things, actually, totally unrelated:
1. Is there life on Mars?
“Life On Mars” — David Bowie (mp3)
This is, truly, the freakiest show.
Perhaps a photo of Bigfoot (thanks UK telegraph for that weird morsel), perhaps a photo of a woman, or (probably) just a rock (yet it does’t look like a rock) — but then why does it appear, to me, to look exactly like a dustier Jeff Daniels in The Squid and The Whale? If I go with my gut and believe the latter, the weirdest part is that this picture was taken in 2004, before SquidWhale was even released.
So what we have here is a psychic alien Jeff Daniels impersonator with very dry skin. During college, I could often be seen in this same pose, but smoking a clove and drinking a concoction we used to call Razzle (1 liter Mountain Dew, 1 package Kool Aid, 1 liter vodka mixed in the two-liter Dew bottle) out of a Fresca bottle.
I’ve never been the type of person to care much about the fun parties, weird life-forms, or rockets flying around in outer space. This is mostly because I find the amount of money required to fund NASA totally insane. While things like this are totally interesting and all, I clump outer-space-funding along with greedy wars and the war on drugs — namely, money that’s not being spent on other, arguably (ahem) more important issues. So, uh, moving on to number two.
“Venus” — Television (mp3)
2. As you may have heard, I was denied health care a few months back. At the time, I wasn’t really sure how this would affect me – I am, thank God, lucky enough to have parents who freaked out along with me and came up with (expensive) alternatives to being totally without coverage. The one that we settled on was basically a hoopty version of what I’d had before – prescriptions aren’t covered, the cap is low, and the copays are more.
Now, every month, I pay $50 for my birth control pill (the sweet ladies at my pharmacy: “You don’t have insurance?” me: “No, no, yeah, no I don’t,” them: “Well, babies are MORE expensive!” me: [shudder]), $115 for allergy medicine (Nasonex, my prescription for which contributed to my health care denial in the first place), and assorted other crazy amounts for antibiotics and the like if I get sick. On a sickly month, it works out to be around half my rent.
One result of this is that I’ve become even more of a hypochondriac, because the thought of having any kind of medical procedure (and dental! Forget dental!) is no longer just icky, it’s now impossible.
I had a toothache that my dentist had warned me a year ago might be a cavity, but I was at my parents’ house in Connecticut for Thanksgiving, where my old dentist is based, and flying home the next day. There was no time to fill it, and I left it alone for around a year. Oops.
A couple of months ago I had shooting pains and did my neurotically fueled web research to find out what they might possibly do. Ooh, a root canal. How much would that be? No, better skip it. Cheaper to pull the tooth? Sure, but then, presumably, I’d want to replace it. Eventually I sucked it up and went to the dentist. He just had to put some sealant on it. I’ve never left a dentist so happy in my life: not only did I not have to get drilled or extracted, but he just saved me lots of thousands of dollars!
I can picture having this conversation with some of my friends’ conservative parents. “Well,” they’d say, “most full-time jobs do have good health coverage. You lazy bum! Just get a damn full-time job!”
But the problem with this is that I have, miraculously, been able to make enough money acting in the past half-year to pay for most things. Not all things, for crying out loud, but there’s been some good luck thrown my way and I’m doing all right.
Taking a full-time job would make auditioning totally impossible and isn’t what I want to do with my life. I’ll always be kind of freelancey, until circumstances really force me to not be. One root canal should not be enough to force people into working at Starbucks for three to six months to get health care. I’m not even in a terrible place, financially, but even getting lab work and an ultrasound if I were sick would change that immediately. HOW FUCKING CRAZY IS THAT??
“She Sells Sanctuary” — The Cult (mp3)
This is the thing that makes my ears prick up during the Presidential Debates. Obviously a lot of other people care about this issue as well, and that’s why I find it strange that everyone is not all about John Edwards, the only candidate who is proposing an actual universal health care plan.
I can’t say that he’s my first choice, even though he’s proposing what I want, and I can tell you why: the blinking and the mills. I’m so wary, after what John Kerry’s “death mask face” did to our country, of candidates who might have a tic that’s a turn-off to voters, that I can’t endorse him totally. Like so many on American Idol, he lacks sparkle. That’s not to say I don’t looooove him. I do. But I can’t have my heart broken again, so that’s why I’m hoping that he run as VP to Hillary Clinton’s P.
Winkin, blinkin, nod
“Telstar” — The Tornadoes (mp3)
Sure Hillary’s caught some crankiness from people like Michael Moore, who once was all about her. But I still think she’s more committed to restructuring health care than is Senator Obama, who’s been more conscious of Republican concerns regarding health care plans.
It’s strange, to me, that though Obama has become, in some ways, the more conservative candidate, my most liberal friends are still obsessed with him – he’s a cool dude, he says “folks” a lot, and I was totally into the fact that he had been against the whole war thing since the beginning (have you heard much about that? Yes, you have, so let’s move on), unlike my other friends John and Hill.
But then in South Carolina, he took a lot of guff for his “present” votes; I thought rightly so. I know it’s unpopular to diss the candidate who has, consistently, not made the wrong decision – as, obviously, Hillary and Edwards have had to admit (to varying degrees) they’d done – and, also, this makes him the anti-Decider. Which seems good.
In this case, however, I don’t think it is; and his position on health care, I am now of the opinion, is a very bad thing. I wish it could have worked out for the two of us, Barack, because I did really connect with you when you were duped into admitting that you were kind of disorganized, then the other candidates went and said that their weaknesses were, like, caring too much about the homeless and being too good at everything.
When Barack Obama said that he kept losing little pieces of paper, I was like, holy shit! I can run for President! That’s what’s been making me think I couldn’t! But then I thought that was a little unfair, because I just have this Formica desk with a drawer and he’s got the most filing cabinets of anyone in the country.
Thinking caps on.
Also, to all you ladies: without health care? Well, does your boyfriend have it? Perhaps it’s time to suggest he take The Pill.
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