I’m going to work until I die, if I can, because I need the money

You can hardly make it these days

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“How do I ever say thank you? I don’t know what to say,” Derlin Newey the eighty nine year old pizza delivery man with the great Elmore Leonard ass name said. He was on the verge of tears. One of his regular customers a TikTok personality named Carlos Valdez had been charmed by the elderly Utah man working at Papa John’s and so he and his followers raised $12,069 (nice) as a gift as KSL TV reported.

Newey who lives alone in a mobile home has been working about thirty hours a week delivering pizzas because his social security benefits aren’t enough to keep up with his bills.

The man didn’t know what TikTok was so at least he has that. “Is that an online group you communicate with each other through the telephone?” he asked Valdez and I suppose that’s exactly what it is.

Somehow the story gets even darker from there.

“I love pineapple on my pizza,” Valdez told KSL TV. “That’s the only thing my wife loves.”

Hell World indeed.

Naturally that shit went viral with every local TV news and radio station you can think of sharing it on socials as an inspiring tale of humanity’s kindness for one another or whatever. We’ve covered this many times so you know the drill but this doesn’t really make me feel good how does it make you feel? The whole thing is such a cliche the original reporting on stories like this then the backlash from people like us on social media saying no no fuck this then me putting it in this stupid newsletter.

See you all back here in a few weeks to do it all over again.

Here’s another feel good story from the Washington Post from a couple years ago:

Richard Dever had swabbed the campground shower stalls and emptied 20 garbage cans, and now he climbed slowly onto a John Deere mower to cut a couple acres of grass.

“I’m going to work until I die, if I can, because I need the money,” said Dever, 74, who drove 1,400 miles to this Maine campground from his home in Indiana to take a temporary job that pays $10 an hour.

People are living longer, more expensive lives, often without much of a safety net. As a result, record numbers of Americans older than 65 are working — now nearly 1 in 5. That proportion has risen steadily over the past decade, and at a far faster rate than any other age group. Today, 9 million senior citizens work, compared with 4 million in 2000.

While some work by choice rather than need, millions of others are entering their golden years with alarmingly fragile finances. Fundamental changes in the U.S. retirement system have shifted responsibility for saving from the employer to the worker, exacerbating the nation’s rich-poor divide. Two recent recessions devastated personal savings. And at a time when 10,000 baby boomers are turning 65 every day, Social Security benefits have lost about a third of their purchasing power since 2000.

Polls show that most older people are more worried about running out of money than dying.

“There is no part of the country where the majority of middle-class older workers have adequate retirement savings to maintain their standard of living in their retirement,” said Teresa Ghilarducci, a labor economist who specializes in retirement security. “People are coming into retirement with a lot more anxiety and a lot less buying power.”

And then it says one thing older people can do now is sell their homes and move into a camper and travel around picking up seasonal jobs with low wages and no benefits. Amazon of course has a program called CamperForce that “hires thousands of these silver-haired migrant workers.”

Here’s another one from the Post from around the same time.

Tom Coomer has retired twice: once when he was 65, and then several years ago. Each time he realized that with just a Social Security check, “You can hardly make it these days.”

So here he is at 79, working full-time at Walmart. During each eight-hour shift, he stands at the store entrance greeting customers, telling a joke and fetching a “buggy.” Or he is stationed at the exit, checking receipts and the shoppers that trip the theft alarm.

“As long as I sit down for about 10 minutes every hour or two, I'm fine,” he said during a break. Diagnosed with spinal stenosis in his back, he recently forwarded a doctor's note to managers. “They got me a stool.”

I don’t have many memories of any of my grandparents being young enough to still have a job at a time when I would be aware of it. I have a vague sense of my maternal grandfather working as a janitor (Liz Warren joke) at the local high school later on in his life but not that much later on because he died pretty young from Parkinson’s. I seem to recall that the students would bust his balls when they would see him shaking in the halls trying to work a mop with hands that he didn’t entirely control and even as a kid that burned a hole into my heart. I should go find those fucking kids.

My grandmother on that side “worked at the phone company” when she was younger which is what I think my other grandmother on my step dad’s side did too maybe. Women back then absolutely loved to “work at the phone company” and I suppose we all work at the phone company in our own way now don’t we. Her husband ran a deli I recall but he had stopped doing so long before my brain was registering things. Mostly those two sat on a couch and watched the Red Sox and baked pies as far as I knew. My paternal grandfather died of all the stuff shithead Boston guys die from at a young age before I knew him as did my father and as will I at this rate if we’re being honest.

My paternal grandmother remarried and her husband was kind. He “worked in computers” which is something that seemed real exciting back then. I suppose we all work in computers now though too and it’s the opposite of exciting. I have no idea if that grandmother of mine did anything except smoke cigarettes at the dining room table.

Anyway they’re all dead now and sometimes I take that as a small mercy because I never got to see what kind of shitty politics they might have ended up having.

I wrote a lot more about the things our grandparents pass down to us in this piece from a while back that I think a lot of you have read but maybe a lot haven’t. It was “one of the good ones!”

My sister who doesn’t drink anymore wrote a story a few years back about our grandmother all of which was true. Shirley Madden had grown up vacationing in a little lobster town called Round Pond, ME, and she and my grandfather bought a cottage there after they were married. My grandfather died relatively young like most everyone who came before me so I don’t have too many memories of him but when I try to think about him I remember a day when I was sick as a boy. He’d gotten me a can of ginger ale to settle my stomach and I fell asleep on the couch in their old sprawling farmhouse near the fireplace where the crows flew in. I woke to take a sip and the can was filled with ants. It took me a minute to realize what was happening and I spit out as many as I could but it was too late for some of them they were inside me now.

I think my grandfather was the second man she ever loved. She would tell us about the first guy that she didn’t marry sometimes until she was like 80 and she died on a hospital bed in our house near where she’d spent the past decade drinking gin. I think she wondered her whole life how things might have been different. I don’t have a picture of my grandfather on me but I have one of my grandmother and her old boyfriend right here in a little frame she sent me which feels like a sort of betrayal so sorry about that. They’re both holding ukuleles and she’s got a flower in her hair. I don’t think she ever got the chance to travel much but I think she went to California one time and maybe this was it. That was how far she made it.

Speaking of grandparents I really wished Biden believed this shit. He doesn’t to be clear his plan makes health care nothing like a “right” but how cool would it be if it actually did!? It would be one good thing to hold out hope for.

Last night I decided I was going to make the real late in life pivot to becoming a Fleetwood Mac guy and everyone on Twitter chimed in on what to listen to so I am well stocked there as regards Fleetwood Mac advice thank you. Obviously I love like a dozen of their songs already but after listening for a while I realized this shit sounds too much like my aunts drinking bacardi and my “uncles” talking real fast by the record player in Scituate and we're gonna go to the beach real soon don't worry kiddo so then after a while I said fuck it and went back to being an REM guy my truest form.

This is the guy that inspired me. Absolute vibe king.

Here’s the opposite type of guy. I just read an interview in the New York Times with Whole Foods founder John Mackey a man who calls himself a “conscious capitalist” and very surprisingly is against a federal minimum wage and worked against the Affordable Care Act which he called “fascist” at the time.

Turns out obesity is a problem in America he says but that’s not his fault it’s all the stupid poor fat fucks who don’t know how to make good personal choices.

You’ve been trying to get Americans to eat better for decades. How is that project going now?

Some people have been moving in the right direction, and the majority of people in the wrong direction. We can see that through the way people eat today versus the way they ate 50 or 60 years ago. Statistically, we definitely moved in the wrong direction. The whole world is getting fat, it’s just that Americans are at the leading edge of that. We’re getting fat, and we’re getting sicker, by the way. I mean, there’s a very high correlation between obesity and Covid deaths. And one of the reasons the United States has had more of a problem with Covid is simply that the comorbidities like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, they’re just higher in the U.S.

For those who don’t have access to a Whole Foods or can’t afford to shop at a Whole Foods, where do you think other companies or the government might be able to intervene to offer better, healthier options?

In some sense, we’re all food addicts. We love things that are rich, that are sweet. We love ice cream. We love popcorn. We love French fried potatoes. And the market is providing people what they want. I don’t think there’s an access problem. I think there’s a market demand problem. People have got to become wiser about their food choices. And if people want different foods, the market will provide it.

Whole Foods has opened up stores in inner cities. We’ve opened up stores in poor areas. And we see the choices. It’s less about access and more about people making poor choices, mostly due to ignorance. It’s like a being an alcoholic. People are just not conscious of the fact that they have food addictions and need to do anything about it.

And Big Food, the fast food industry, the processed food industry — they all have a lot of skin in the game. They want people to continue to consume more calorie-rich foods.

We have not done a good job of educating people about what healthy food is. I tend to think it’s going to come about through education and through people becoming more aware and conscious about eating healthier, and then the market will respond to that.

I’m sorry but this shit below is just so funny. I know people express grief in different ways but come on man.

The incongruous pushups setting reminded me of this old Hell World from almost two years ago today when I first started this mess. It’s another “one of the good ones!” if you never read it it’s about Kurt Cobain and wanting to kill yourself.

The electrician found the body that morning but I guess it took a little while for the news to spread. It had been waiting there for three days but we didn’t know that yet we just knew all of a sudden that a person was a body now and that was that. It would have been early evening when I found out about it. April. My football coach broke the news to me in a football coach voice because that was how you found out about things back then. You’d walk around not knowing some shit until someone would tell you and then you had to wait to bump into someone else and go ahead and tell them. I don’t remember exactly what he said but it was something like ay your boyfriend Kurt Cobain killed himself. Football coaches don’t like it when you care about anything other than football such as music for example which is for homosexuals. Kurt was twenty-seven years old which everyone remembers as the famous age to be dead at. I remember my coach mispronounced his name as Co-burn which is something a football coach would do on purpose to fuck with you and then we had to go and lift weights. I don’t remember if we listened to Nirvana while we lifted the weights but I hope we did not.

Like fifteen years later a friend of mine was at the state fair in New Hampshire and he took a video of an Army guy at a recruiting tent doing pushups while “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was blasting out of his truck speakers and I sometimes wish he hadn’t shown me that shit.

This is funny too:

If you haven’t seen that Don Jr. video you should watch it it’s… good. This video also has brought me joy of a kind.

There are two types of cops in the world and both are on display here. The kind that thinks they’re Wolverine and the kind for whom “this shit” whatever “this shit” happens to be at any given time is not their problem and who are just counting the days until retirement.

Both can still of course kill you and get away with it.

CNN on that story above:

During one recording, an officer can be heard expressing trepidation about trying to apprehend the boy.

"If no one's in the house, no one's in danger... but he's not harming himself, I'm sorry, I'm not about to get in a shooting," the officer is heard saying.

The videos show officers approach the house and then begin chasing the boy, at one point breaking through a wooden fence. Cameron is seen walking slowly while ignoring demands to get on the ground.

An officer opens fire and eleven shots can be heard on the recordings. Cameron rolls over on the ground, saying, "I don't feel good," and then, "Tell my mom I love her."

Barton told CNN earlier this month that the boy's injuries include damage to his shoulder, ankles, intestines, bladder and colon.

I probably should have asked my grandparents more questions about what they did for a living or at least listened and retained it better when they told me. Although considering I’m currently not speaking with my parents for the first time in my life after cursing them out over politics the other day I might not be the best guy to take advice from vis a vis familial relations.

This moved me though this video below that I just watched. It’s from a legendary Philly boxing trainer Naazim Richardson who passed earlier this summer.

Give them the flowers now he said. Don’t wait until someone is dead to express what they mean to you.

Man I may have fucked up bad. Hope I don’t regret it the rest of my short ass life lol.

I can't believe the worst kinds of people achieve
Everything they want
It takes medication to get me off
So sick and tired of living in a rut

Love is not enough
I wonder if it ever was
I shouldn't have to bleed you dry
To fill me up