“Forty six, forty seven, forty eight, forty nine, fifty…”
The FitBit wasn’t worth its price tag of $350. I could count. Out loud. Extra maxillofacial muscle exercise never hurt a girl, anyway; Lord knows, our ability to use our voices had always been our truest arrow. Best to keep that one sharp.
On the way home after the walk, behind the wheel of my 10 year old Pontiac, I heard Fareed Zakaria using his to expose two far more alarming numbers.
The first came from an author named Jonathan Haidt, whom he was interviewing. Did we know that the suicide rate among American girls was up 70 per cent since 2011?
Instantly, innumerable faces came into my frame. Sixth, seventh, eighth grade teens, at the school where I’d spent the final 12 of my 25 years in public education. The ones whose eyes were half shut, bodies immobilized by heroin, sitting like mannequins in the middle of music class.
Fareed had already moved on. Did we know that 90 per cent of all Venezuelans lived in poverty?
No. I was sure that we did not.
There was much that we Americans did not know. We persisted, however, in crowing on about what we thought we did. The less about which we were sure, the more plentiful our public pronouncements.
In fact, the media was rife with these. We’d managed to elect many, with skills well honed in the craft of selling the official statistics on any number of issues over which our vote should apparently have some control. And, they were eager to tell us all about it.
I was almost home. The idea for this piece already taking shape, I knew I’d probably gather the 26 pairs of drip dried underwear into their drawers and then set my seat down in front of the screen to write it.
Rain was pretty much scheduled for the rest of this Sunday. Would I be counting any more steps, or just fretting over the absence of sun drying options for the remaining laundry? The dryer could be repaired for about $230; a new one, installed, for about $520 with tax.
These numbers were disparate enough. They created distance, between me and those who wanted my money. Venezuela could use some American charity. American girls needed more than funding to reduce the number of their diminishing lives.
Counting the cost was up to me.
© 9/9/18 Ruth Ann Scanzillo All rights those of the author, whose name appears above this line. Please respect original material. Thank you.