Sometimes the herd just thins itself out

What does a middle-aged white couple in Kentucky do when they’re in bad health (Via Vox)?

Sarah Kliff

Can you walk through what your experience has been with Healthcare.gov?

Debbie Mills

The insurance we had before, we ended up paying about $1,200 a month for a family of five. It just kept going up each year.

So we ended up dropping it.

We didn’t have health insurance. And we went for maybe two years with no insurance until this came out. We really didn’t go to the doctor because it cost too much.

So for the past two years, we had the Healthcare.gov. It’s made it affordable.

My husband ended up getting sick this year. He has non-alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver.

He’s lost all this weight and all this muscle tone. Some people don’t recognize him that he’s known for years until he speaks and they recognize his voice.

But it’s been great to have health insurance, because I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to not have it with all the treatments and things that he’s had to have done.

When we didn’t have health insurance, we didn’t go and get blood work and all that stuff done to be checked to see, you know, how his liver was doing.

He was taking medicines that could damage the liver for the cholesterol and all that stuff. But because it costs so much to get blood work done … [the doctor] wanted it done every three months, and he would do it maybe once a year.

Byrd Pinkerton

So just to be clear, he only got it once a year during the years that you didn’t have—

Debbie Mills

Have insurance. Yes. Yeah.

So like I said, we didn’t go get it done, and so now he is very sick.

Sarah Kliff

So what do you think about Obamacare as a law? I know it’s not especially popular.

Debbie Mills

I have liked the fact that it gave us health insurance, you know, and I know some have not. Some have not been wanting to be forced to have it. But other ones, I know it has helped. I know a lot of people that have gotten it that did not have health insurance before.

Without health care, specifically Obamacare, this woman’s husband would be dead. And ever since Obamacare has existed, Republicans have tried to repeal it, and ofter nothing to replace it. Plus, Donald Trump ran for president specifically saying he would get rid of Obamacare.

So, whom did the Kentucky couple vote for in the 2016 presidential election?

Debbie Mills

We voted for Trump.

Sarah Kliff

So how did you decide to vote for him, since he’s one of the people promising to repeal Obamacare?

Debbie Mills

Well … we liked him because he just seemed to be a businessman.

… !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?????????????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! KAAAABOOOOOOMMMMMM !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’m sorry, my head just exploded. Do they not realize they’ve committed suicide?

Debbie Mills

I don’t know. I guess I thought that, you know, he would not do this. That they would not do this, would not take the insurance away. Knowing that it’s affecting so many people’s lives. I mean, what are you to do then if you cannot … purchase, cannot pay for the insurance?

You know, what are we to do?

So I don’t know. Maybe he’s thinking about, you know, the little people that are not making the big money, like what they make in New York and Washington and all the places that, you know, this is not, you know, something — this is people’s lives that’s being affected.

Byrd Pinkerton

Yeah. Going into it, did you hear him talking about his health care promises, or was it not something that came up in his ads or debates for you?

Debbie Mills

Um, no, I guess we really didn’t think about that, that he was going to cancel that or change that or take it away. I guess I always just thought that it would be there. I was thinking that once it was made into a law that it could not be changed, but I guess it can? Yes?

Sarah Kliff

It can be changed.

Debbie Mills

Okay.

Sarah Kliff

Did you feel like you heard them talking about Obamacare repeal in the campaign?

Debbie Mills

Well, we did hear him talking about it some, that he was going to, but like I said, I always just thought that he was, if he changed it, it would be that it would be some other form of health insurance that he would have.

Sarah Kliff

No, I totally understand. During the debates, Trump was the one saying, “I’m going to cover everybody.”

Debbie Mills

I don’t know. I guess the next four years is going to be different. I don’t know what to look for.

You’re scaring me now, on the insurance part.

’Cause I have been in a panic, so I’m afraid now that the insurance is going to go away and we’re going to be up a creek.

First of all, lady, don’t lie to us. You didn’t vote for Trump because he seemed to be a businessman. You voted for him because he was a lyingracistanti-Semiticxenophobichomophobicmisogynisticpedophilic thief, and you embraced everything he stood for. You just knew he was going to make America great again by making defenseless people suffer. Only you thought the only defenseless people were brown people.

And now you find you’re defenseless. So suffer.

Here’s the reality of your vote. You’re not going to be up a creek. You’re going to die. And it’s going to be much sooner than you would have if the woman you were yelling “lock her up” at had won.

The herd manages to thin itself out.

Time Machine: A 1997 NCAA basketball tournament upset

The NCAA basketball season is over, and the end of the Villanova game was spectacular. But games are always better when you have a rooting interest.

So I thought back to the first time I went to an NCAA tournament game ,because it was a family affair;

My nephew was one of the players on the 15-seed Coppin State Eagles when they beat the 2-seed South Carolina Gamecocks in 1997. I remember being in the stands and rooting my head off.

But this is the first time I’ve actually seen the game. A videotape has been floating around the family for almost 20 years, but I just never got the chance to watch it. So today, I go to YouTube, and there it is.

You know, when you’re at the arena, you witness what’s going on, but it’s all hazy, because, when you’re really into it, you’re yelling and jumping up and down, and screaming at the refs and are basically caught up in the insanity of it all.

Like I remember that Coppin State was such a small school, it didn’t have its own band, so it borrowed the band from Morgan State, on the other side of Baltimore. I remember the cheerleaders didn’t have the elaborate routines that South Carolina had. And I remember being with family: my 6-year-old son, my brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews.

But actually watching the televised game, and hearing the commentators say my nephew’s game, and looking at the crowd shots where I see me and my family going nuts in the crowd almost two decades ago makes me think of broadcasts and movies as little time machines where you can go back into the past and relive some of the greatest moments in your life.

Today, my son is all grown and as tall as the players you see on the court, but he was so tiny then. Some of my family members are no longer with us, but I can see them, right there in Pittsburgh so full of life. And strangely, I don’t believe it, but I look the same as I do now.

What’s that all about?

Jack Benny in ‘The Twilight Zone’

But now I realize. There are generations who don’t know who Rod Serling was. And there are generations who don’t know who Jack Benny was.

So outside of that context, is it funny? Or just a curiosity?

Imagine if you will: A perpetual 39-year-old comedian whose name fails to register with millions, more likely billions, of people under 39 appears with an award-winning science fiction writer whose name and fame have also dimmed with the passing of time.

Are they funny now?

Were they funny then?

And what’s up with that Rochester fellow with the sandpaper voice?

A quandary that can only be resolved in another dimension, in The Twilight Zone.