When we refer to the growing group of people who’ve exhausted their unemployment benefits as 99ers, it makes it all too easy to remember that they are actual human beings rather than just statistics.
I started the helpthe99ers.com website after speaking with a few of those actual people while guest-hosting The Randi Rhodes Show over the holidays. One of the first to post when I started the site was Bud Myers, an unemployed casino bartender in Las Vegas.
Here’s what he posted originally:
I’m a 55 year old male and have worked since I was 14 – but I was laid off in October
2008. I’m single/no children, life savings gone, 2 months behind in utilities, 2
months behind in car payment, and just enough cash for one more months rent and
$400 for food. No friends or family (nowhere to go) and 7 years away from qualifying for Social
Security benefits or my union pension of 20 years. I guess I’m SOL. My web site
at http://acompanyofone.org/ pretty much tells the whole story.
Unfortunately, Bud’s website is no longer working, as he can’t afford the hosting any more. Has has moved much of the content to http://bud-meyers.blogspot.com and I encourage you to check it out.
Before you go there, you should read the following letter he released just a few days ago as a press release. After I read it, I reached out to Bud, hoping to stop him from ending his life:
I’m So Tired of Being Tired
I’m tired of the waiting. As I see my life winding down in about three more weeks I have pondered the absence of relevance in my past life, and the lack of significance my passing will be to the world.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PRLog (Press Release) – Jan 13, 2011 – I’m tired of the waiting. As I see my life winding down in about three more weeks I have pondered the absence of relevance in my past life, and the lack of significance my passing will be to the world. I am nobody, just another ant on the ant hill. I am just one of over 6 billion humans on earth. An easy sacrifice for those who profit.
I’m tired of ranting and railing against the media, the politicians, the bankers, the CEOs, and all the rest who contributed to the abbreviation my life. Why bother wasting what little time I have left after wasting so much already? That’s insane. I was defeated, I surrender. I lose.
I’m tired of the struggle, the meaningless attempts to find gainful employment – to sell myself to others who aren’t interested. I feel foolish for even trying now. When does one finally realize that nobody wants you? Just like all my other complaints, my job applications were falling on deaf ears. What a terrible waste of precious time. I wish I had the last two years of my life again – I would have done things so much differently.
I’m tired of hoping when after all I’ve had for over two long years has been isolation, loneliness, disappointment, anger, frustration, and depression while engaging in useless efforts to find work and survive. But no matter how difficult that has been, now I must face the stark reality of the last three weeks of my life.
I’m tired of busting my ass so that others can benefit from my labor when all I could ever afford in life was just a constant and daily struggle to survive. Looking back, I ask myself, “For what?” Just to eat and breath – something that the taxpayers, employers, and government leaders don’t feel is important enough to maintain. Maybe it’s time for a long rest. Maybe they’re right, I’m not worth the financial investment any more. A waste of resources.
I’m tired of living in fear and the dreams I have at night. I’m tired of always peeking through the living room blinds, waiting for the car to be repossessed. I’m tires of wondering when I’ll lose my electricity, heat, and cable service. I’m tired of the holes in my socks. I’m tired of asking for help or understanding. I’m tired of those who feel no empathy – those who still have jobs and go about their lives as though people like me don’t exist. Apathy is all I see.
I’m tired of being made to feel like dirt because I lost my job, used up all my funds, and can no longer pay my bills – as though I never worked a day in my life and have been on the government dole like a blood-sucking leech to the taxpayers all these years. I’m tired of being talked to and treated and looked down upon as a big loser because I lost my means of supporting myself at the age of 55.
I’m tired of waiting for a family reconciliation. Strangers have come to feel more sympathy than anyone who used to be a family member. A bitter pill to swallow to know that someone you loved since birth allowed you to perish. It’s been that way since Kane and Abel I suppose, no one can be trusted or depended upon. People lie, cheat, steal, and kill for earthly goods as though hell doesn’t exist – death is just nothingness to those who don’t believe in a superior entity.
I’m tired of being so alone. Although there have been other jobless people I’ve come to know and admire through the internet, they’ve mostly been jobless strangers who have banded together from across the country who feel this connection to one another. Our commonality may be our desperation – a pitiful thing to share with others when that is the glue to a friendship. But I am most appreciative to those who have reached out to me and have showed me support and offered their kindness and help to me. But like everyone else, I can never repay them back either.
I’m tired of things breaking or getting old because I can’t afford to replace, fix, or repair anything. Like my own life, all my possessions are coming unraveled as well. It’s been a downward spiral that’s been quickly escalating lately. I’ve been frantic while watching things like my previous web sites go down, and by the end of the month I will also lose my cable TV and internet connection (I begged them to allow me this much added time with a promise to pay them with a non-existent tax return next month.)
I’m tired of waiting for a miracle to happen or someone to save me because I wasn’t capable of saving myself any longer. I’m seven years away from Social Security benefits and a union pension, so that is not enough to hope for. Seven years living as a homeless man at my age and with my health is impossible. After being refused a job for over two years I have atrophy and back pain – and shortness of breath from too much stress-related smoking.
I’m tired of being tired – I’m so depressed that I can barely leave my home to buy food, but I must – just one more time while I still have $157 cash and a car that the bank hasn’t taken yet. I MUST force myself to stop procrastinating and get dressed and shaved and face the world one more time. Put on my happy face, and act polite and “normal” until I can return to the “safe” confines of my dwelling.
Only three more weeks, and I won’t be tired any longer. I will finally be able to relax and not worry anymore about my worth, what people think of me, how I feel, or how I will survive. I will have solved all those problems and more…I will never have to file another federal income tax return or ever worry again about how I will buy food or pay my rent again.
I’m so damn tired of being a “99er”. Had there been a “Tier Five”, I might have survived to be tired a while longer.
(* My website www.acompanyofone.org is presently down. It may, or may not be, be resolved.)
# # #The Tier Five Times reports on the latest unemployment news such as the jobless numbers and unemployment benefits for “99ers” – those who have exhausted all unemployment insurance benefits.
I spoke with Bud on my show today. We didn’t arrive at any answers… just letting someone who’s felt invisible and hopeless some time and a place to speak his mind, to vent his anger and express his frustration… and plead his case. Perhaps someone can offer Bud a job? I can put you in touch with him…