The Pity Party, a found poem by Carolyn Bi, with illustrations by Hannah Hoch

The Pity Party

This update is long and a bummer
so don’t read if you don’t want to hear
me complain & vent with potentially TMI.
I’ll start with the good news…

At my nasty temporary job I’ve met
an employment attorney who says he’ll
take my EEOC lawsuit for free. He’s also
hitting on me so this is going to be delicate.

Actually, if I wanted to date 70- & 80-year-
old men, a number of them have “chatted me up”
at the garden center at Walmart where I work
– seems to be their only social life. Sad.

I can eat on far less than $189/mo so
I use the extra to feed my 13-year-old cats.
My 24-year-old van hasn’t been towed
for almost 3 months. And now, for the

BAD… Had my cancer check up
this month…new nodes in my neck
(only had abdominal ones before –
non-hodgkin’s lymphoma, indolent),

biggest one is 1.3 cm. Oncologist told me,
we’ll watch, wait, & see what it does; to call
him if I was concerned. I asked, what’s the
criteria for being concerned? He said, if it

doubles. I asked him, what doubles, my
anxiety? If so, dialing now, LOL. My health
insurance (COBRA) ends at the end
of June and this state did not expand Obama

care so no subsidy for me. As far as health
care is concerned, I might as well live in
Ethiopia. Only advantage I have over them
is food stamps. The temp job at the flower

vendor in Walmart’s parking lot
– 92 degrees yesterday! – was the first
junk job that, being vastly over-qualified,
would hire me. My daughter suggested,

with my two fake boobs due to breast cancer,
I’d be better off as a stripper, or marrying
a rich man, LOL. The job ends June 24th
& I don’t have anything yet to replace it.

I’ve had 3 skype interviews for temporary
academic jobs. Lost out to a spouse &
adjuncts. Turned down for the full time job
– not enough recent publications. They’re

afraid I won’t publish again – couldn’t
exactly say, well, 2 cancers in one year,
chemo, kid in jail 4 times & a psych ward,
teaching 5/5/5 with 5 different preps

sort of got in the way of publishing.
My daughter’s two kids are fine (8 weeks
& 12.5 months old), although she’s
in an abusive relationship that ended

up with her being hospitalized. She won’t
press charges even though the boyfriend
kidnapped the babies when he knocked
her out. He wants custody of the kids so

he can get their allotment of food stamps &
TANF. He’s not the bio father but signed
the birth certificates, then committed tax
fraud claiming head of household w/them

as dependents – the state has a lawsuit
pending against him for child support
which he refuses to pay since they aren’t
his babies – sigh. He screamed at me (her

bouquet of eyes HH

food stamps are on mine) for refusing
to buy him food. When my daughter
had her own food stamp card, he’d
spend all her food stamps, then disappear

with all the food. As he’s been arrested
for assault with a deadly weapon, I’m sort of
afraid of him. I wish I knew a way to get my
gofundme page (http://www.gofundme.com/78d3nc)

to go viral. Packing the house, trying to sell
most of what I own on Craigslist. At this point,
I’ve lost track of how many jobs I’ve applied for
– hundreds, I guess. Age discrimination,

having an MBA and PhD over-qualifies
me, and being unemployed for so long
(almost 15 months) all work against me.
I’ve read it takes on average 2 years

hannah hoch 1

for people who are “older” to get a job again.
The only good thing about this job, besides
the fact that it pays money, is that I come home
too tired to do anything and so go to bed early

– less time to worry. I have to keep reminding
myself that I am luckier than some. At least
I’m not yet living in the van (been talking with
someone living in her camper in the Walmart

parking lot yesterday. I took her grocery shopping
on my food stamps as she was completely
out of food and hadn’t eaten in 2 days). I have
an education, good references…I don’t need

chemo yet & with luck will survive without health
insurance for a while. And my cats still love me.
I’m trying to look on the bright side at the moment.
I just need to schedule a pity party and get over myself. LOL

By Carolyn Bi
http://www.gofundme.com/78d3nc

(With Carolyn’s permission, in lieu of throwing her a pity party, I have turned into a found poem the rant she recently posted on the Yahoo group she runs for parents of children adopted from Ethiopia. I thought her words eloquently and wittily spoke to the way things are now for so many Americans. I also wanted to help her reach a wider audience for her gofundme page.)

Hannah Hoch

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