This marvelous human being, who I’ll call Erin Skakel, is potentially teaching the children of at least one Glib, but more on that later. In addition to redacting her name, and the names of the neighborhood groups to which she posted (the ones of which I am aware, anyway), I have also redacted her image, replacing it with what I believe to be the original Rosie the Riveter poster art from WW2. I deliberately chose that image because her profile pic is one of her cosplaying Rosie. I find it ironic that the accompanying slogan on the original was “we can do it,” when Skakel’s modus vivendi is anything but self-reliance. Rather the Blanche DuBois sort, our girl, always relying on the kindness of strangers.

That FaceBook post is one of the best examples of writing you will ever see. Seriously. What appears on first glance to be a disjointed stream of conscious rant is revealed upon further examination as a masterpiece of compact, effective prose. Skakel recently posted that paragraph accompanied by a picture (not included, you perverts) of human shins sorely afflicted with a large and severe patch of irritation. Her targets were at least two FaceBook groups for a formerly dowdy Richmond area which recently became trendy and saw its property values skyrocket. Neighborhoods whose lawns are dotted with signs for progressive causes and candidates.

“anyone know the most inexpensive ways to see a doc”

Such an innocent and straightforward request. How could you be suspicious of that, Tonio? How? Brain overheating from too many layers of tinfoil? THC-induced psychosis, perhaps? The poor woman is just trying to see a doctor, for goodness sake.

It fails the reasonable person test that she can’t call around, or surf around on the internet and find that shiznat out. She’s an adult with a college degree and holds down a nominally professional job. Her stated request is for a referral to the cheapest treatment alternative.

“I’m used to just making an appt”

I kept skimming over this clause, filtering it out as “random, self-absorbed, chick blather,” but something about it made me keep coming back to it until it struck me that this was a tell; that she had inadvertently dropped a piece of information which caused everything else to drop into place.

Used to just making an appointment, like she has done some research and found out that the cheapest way to get medical treatment involves getting to a clinic at opening hour (or earlier, because there is always a line), getting on the list and waiting around until your name is called. In the case of the private charity clinic there is paperwork and means-testing and a sliding fee scale for general medical services; I’m unsure about the fee structure of the government health clinic.

So, you see, Skakel doesn’t just want to receive medical treatment, but to do so in a doctor’s office with an appointment like she’s used to instead of waiting around with sick, poor people for what will probably be a long time.

Anyone taking an interest in Skakel’s plight and having internet access could quickly discover that the walk-in clinic at the chain pharmacy will cost you $59.00. Again, she’s a college graduate; she has the internet. She presumably has friends. She could figure that out if she wanted to, and if that was her actual intention. She’s signalling that she doesn’t have the money she needs to go to the doctor. But there’s that looming vacay which she drops to give a sense of urgency to her plight. It doesn’t matter how off-putting it is to certain members of her target audience to be asked to subsidize her vacay, money being fungible and all.

So… I’m a teacher.

Teachers are sacrosanct. Skakel knows that. She leads with that. It’s the first sentence of her post, which is supposed to be the most important part of your message in any sort of pitch. It’s also a warning to not judge her; she knows that would be enforced by the countless right-thinkful people in the neighborhood and that any pushback would only make her seem more sympathetic to the credulous people who are likely to be moved by her tale of woe.

I […] have gotten what I thought was poison ivy but… I’m not sure is getting better or that’s what it is.

Normal people who are looking to earn money quickly often turn to informal unskilled labor such as cleaning and yardwork. But Skakel obviously fails at yard work, and due to the placement of the injuries, is currently unsuited for on-your-knees labor such as scrubbing or weeding. Plus she may not be getting better so it would be cruel to even suggest she perform manual labor while sick. Also, bonus points to her for making that sentence do double-duty both as an expanation of the root cause of her current crisis, and as a gym pass for why she can’t be expected to do, you know, actual physical labor with those gross oozy patches on her shins.

It’s the pervasive sense of entitlement I find most offensive about Skakel and those like her. This attitude is becoming increasingly prevalant in society. On a larger scale this becomes something like the chimeral “living wage.” In both cases there is the pervasive sense that if a person works they should be able to afford a certain standard of living, certain amenities, regardless of other decisions they have made.

I won’t delve deeply into the argle-bargle about Skakel accidentally opting out of her health insurance. It’s just not believable on so many levels. My hypothesis is that she thought her medical expenses would be flat and predictable, opted out of her insurance, and had just enough deducted to cover her monthly meds. But, whatever. Here’s what she didn’t do once she figured out that she’d fucked up – act responsibly.

A responsible person would have set aside money each month to cover out-of-pocket office visits. A responsible person would have gotten a part-time job at the beginning of summer break to earn money to cover unforeseen medical expenses, and perhaps been able to use that money to pay for a vacay once she had health insurance again, but not before. A responsible person would have… I’m preaching to the choir here, people.

I grew up in an apartment complex heavily populated by teachers. Everyone knew that the unmarried women teachers who wanted to get ahead would share an apartment with another girl, hold down a summer job as a waitress, or with parks and rec, etc. If you lived simply you could afford to live alone and hang out by the pool instead of going on a nice vacation. Your choice. The assumption that she is entitled to a vacay, come hell or high water, is baked into everything she writes.

Even though this is an opinion piece, as an author primarily of fiction I cannot help but resolve conflict once it has been established. Be brave, dear readers, as the plight of our damsel in distress is about to be revealed.

Caloo, callay! It appears that our plucky heroine did indeed get her vacation. And how nice of her to check in on us all after the big thunderstorm that rolled through and downed a bunch of trees.

I’m one of those barely make it month to month “ers”

Come again? Doesn’t sound like it to me, hon. Sounds like you are living a quite nice lifestyle since you have the money for vacay and gym classes. Skakel lives in the city of Richmond but teaches in one of the nearby counties. The location of the class she wants to take is in the opposite direction from the county in which she teaches. Suspect that “accountability partner” will end up doing most of the driving.

Thanks to everyone for slogging through a long rant with no laugh lines, tentacles or sex. So here’s a little something that will appeal to most of you.