Give me half of your bitterest pill

Have you ever thought how you might describe yourself if given the opportunity? I suppose that I would consider myself to be a great sceptic (except when it comes to aliens from outerspace - those suckers are out there and fixated on their next booty probe). While this is not a very positive description of myself (talented, world changing, looks darn good in a 40's old hollywood glam get-up all seem much nicer) I have to be honest with myself.

As you may or may not know, I was interviewed by an AP reporter who tracked me down via my wide-spread and rampant tweets regarding the furlough of State of Maryland employees.

If you know me, you know I am rather opinionated, often to a fault. I have no problem risking being on the receiving end of a bullet launched from a concealed weapon if it means I can right the horrifying driving behaviors of just about every other loon on the road. It tears me to bits to hear about those that I love having to endure injustice of any sort.

When I was approached by AP reporter Ellen Simon, I of course agreed to answer some of her questions. I feel that with Maryland raising sales tax, charging us a ridiculous amount to register our vehicles every two years and yet they STILL are unable to balance the budget, I should not be held responsible. Yet I am to be forced into taking days off without pay. And I sounded off about it on twitter, which apparently caught the attention of others.

So, the article came out and had to be corrected due to the reporter naming the hospital as my employer when in fact it is a bit more complicated than that. Many who work for the hospital are not state employees. I however do something very different from many working at the hospital and am considered a State of Maryland employee. Confusing? Yes. I still don't quite know how to describe how I work there yet am a different type of employee. Of course this error caused a ruckus amongst those who worked for the hospital and were unaware that they were going to be furloughed (they aren't) and forced to take unpaid leave (they won't).

So while I was pouring over my budget and realizing that I need to pony up just under $700 per month to cover student loans lest I risk my already degenerating kneecaps to Mario and Luigi from Citibank, I got even more upset about the whole matter. It wasn't until I was in line today at Walmart that I had a few things put into perspective.

I was in line behind a very nice young woman and her adorable little 14 month old. She had a rather large order, and was going to be paying with food stamp checks. Her large order was split up (being that I don't know how food stamps work, I am assuming they only give you a certain amount per check?) and she was very apologetic over how long it was taking. Normally my sceptical self would have seen the New Balance shoes on her baby and thought "yeah right, like you really need food stamps. Maybe I should go out and get them too!". Something was different here though. This lady was very sweet and talkative and very forthcoming with information (she was a single mom and her baby's dad wanted nothing to do with him) and the more I talked with her, the more I chided myself for being such a jerk. Such a quick to jump to conclusions and read a book by it's cover jerk.

Sure I am ticked that I could possibly lose up to $800 in pay due to Maryland's inability to plan for their financial future (might Dave Ramsey be of assistance?) but what do I really lose? The occasional jaunt to H&M to buy something that most likely will sit in my closet never to be worn? The unnecessary trip to Target? (Ok, I take that back, all trips to Target are VERY necessary). I may have to budget every penny and nickel in order to make my bills? All it really takes is a bit of discipline on my part really. I don't have to worry about how I am going to feed my cherub cheeked little munchkin. I have an education and a rockin' awesome job where I can pretty much make my way anywhere. I have it pretty good.

Martin O'Malley, you aren't off the hook though. Punk.

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