There’s a song called ‘Don’t you forget about me.’ “When you walk on by, will you call my name.”

How timely is that, even though it was recorded years ago (by a group called Simple Minds, no less)? We are living in the time of ‘forgetting about me.’

When the clamor of attention and needs is so great, then the crying voice of any individual (with the exception of a very few) is submerged into the morass of unending, unremitting and clamorous sound, as well as the scribbled gibberish of written and printed presentations made by everyone else. The communications explosion has caused just this kind of effect, and nobody, but nobody predicted it. This effect has hit all of us in the civilized world like a nuclear explosion and getting any notice or attention at all is like trying to emerge over and above a low-flying cloud of radiation from it. If risen above the cloud somehow, the cloud rapidly consumes the rising soul with deadly group radiation and is pulled back down below. Write your blogs into the night. Go ahead and speak out at city meetings, coffee shops, and anyplace else, including a soapbox on the street corner. Good luck. ‘Don’t you forget about me,’ the phrase, presupposes that you are known in the first place, or at least noticed in the slightest way. You are not, and you are not going to be unless you were born into a situation or family that has the ‘voice’ already prepared to be used by you. How do we fix a society that is not only suffering from the handling of the virus (and those brutal effects are just in their infancy) but also suffering even more from a sense of ennui and depression from becoming nothing…or, and this is new with the advent of the advanced communications complex, finding out for the first time on this planet, in this world, and in their lives ever that they are, indeed, nothing in the scheme of things. We start by admitting that this is the way things have turned out. With that knowledge we can at least think about changing things…unless we keep on listening to those who have the only voices and writing we are all being restricted to hearing and seeing.

If this is correct…press one. Customer service is sucking so badly for most big companies that you can hear the suction going on even if serving aboard the orbiting space station. The COVID delay. The COVID closure. The COVID whatever. This thing has become the single best excuse in history for the American business culture. “We have cut back service because of the COVID.” The statement is fast becoming a social imprint of how capitalism can make, save, or use money almost any way it feels like if it gets sufficient control. This morning there was a big article in the NY Times about how auto insurance companies, even the big ‘respected’ ones like State Farm, Geico, and Progressive, are going to be tracking, tracing, and following devices planted in the cars of customers. The customers give up all freedom of the open road in order to enjoy some small discount on bills. One day soon, these devices (that also are tied into the location of cell phones inside and outside the vehicle) will be required for all vehicles. Driving habits for any and all drivers using the vehicle (forget loaning your car out ever again) are recorded and premiums adjusted (speeding, braking hard, etc. are all measure and transmitted to the insurance company) while the car is still moving.

Will the public simply take this crap? Or will it go after those companies and wish doom upon them? Who’s sorry the airlines are suffering financially? Nobody. When these formally wonderful flying icons started charging for luggage, food, extra room for seats, window seats, and more, they lost us. We don’t care anymore if they fail. Goodbye United and American. Too bad.  There was a time, before they became mean-spirited, that we all cared and loved, but after they began pulling that stuff then it was only a matter of time. COVID is just the excuse companies are now using to get more punitive, and nasty. The reality is that people fell out of love with the airlines like they will (hopefully) fall out of love with these insurance companies.

Another article in the Times detailed how communities can make more money by charging (more) for disability placards and for parking using them. Just because these disabled people get a special preferred space does not mean that they should not pay for that privilege…and even pay more than other people using lessor favored spaces! Oh, and this mean-spirited leadership wants to have picture identification on all placards (supposedly, to prevent misusage). I guess that’s also so everyone passing by the disabled person’s parked car can jot the data down and harass away. COVID, and the nation’s response to it, is not stopping these heinous moves by some of the nation’s governmental and business leadership. Take the executives of these insurance companies, the leaders of these communities supporting punishing the disabled and get them all aboard United Airlines flights…and then head them out to sea…way out to sea.

Let’s find out how long they can tread water.

~~James Strauss

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