Oh, yes, I’m old enough now to have a more complete understanding of the old saw regarding the only certainties in life being death and taxes. To that list, I now add insurance premiums, specifically for health care.
It matters not a whit that my wife and I have used perhaps $1,000 in coverage over the past 20 years; we find ourselves now paying more than $10,000 per year in medical insurance payments. Of course, I know that the day is coming, perhaps sooner than later, when I’ll start using my “fair share” of those costs, assuming I can afford to continue making those payments while (in all probability) not capable of working.
If you ask me, its starting to sound a little bit like a scam, perhaps a straight-up Ponzi scheme. Even now, as I prepare myself mentally to accept less and less from my federally supervised social security retirement account, as I see the equity in my home dissipate, as my “real” wages decline, as the prospect of saving during my supposed “peak earning” years is diminished, as more and more of my time, money, and energy is devoted simply to keeping what I have working (as opposed to building something new), I come to one inescapable conclusion.
“You can’t keep nothin’ nice.” That was my father’s lament, his own version, really, of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. Entropy is real. It is persistent. It is inescapable. Like spawning salmon, our lifelong acts of creation will, some day after expending every bit of energy we can muster swimming upstream, kill us. Poof.
OK, that’s fine. But, that’s also the very reason that I believe that John Lennon’s famous “Imagine” may well be the worst song ever written. I mean, what a doofus. Against all of the ugly realities of this life, he suggests that we ought to pretend that there’s no real reason to engage in these various struggles.
Imagine there’s no heaven, eh?
Well, OK, for the sake of the excercise, I can imagine that, sure. What then John? Why even play? Your “brotherhood of man”, even after having, presumably, fed me and clothed me (after confiscating my possessions), forcibly re-educating me away from religious superstitions, will – at some point in the future – still have to bury me.
I mean, you weren’t promising any particular escape from that little bit of entropy, were you John?
OK, well, that was a useful bit of creative thinking. wasnt it? And, for the life of me, hmmm, I really can’t “imagine” why anybody takes any hope whatsoever from such tripe. Aside from the utterly non-sensical belief that religion, possessions, and nations are the root cause of struggle in this world (something akin to a belief that lightning is the “cause” of electricity), there is still such a thing as objective reality.
And, so, if taxes (and insurance premiums) are “certain”, they are more certainly a product of John’s “brotherhood of man”. I’d rather imagine that they might just start to leave me alone, just a bit even, so that, perhaps, I can concentrate on the meaning of more significant “certainties”.