JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

Pat

Went to my local gormet supermarket this afternoon—an overpriced place where the cakes look amazing and only the milk and eggs seem reasonable. I met Pat, the clerk. She was probably 50, with saggy eyes and thin lips. I asked how the supermarket was going.

“OK,” she said. “It’s a job.”

I nodded.

“I was out of work for three years,” she continued. “I worked at a chemical factory forever, but it closed and I couldn’t find work. Believe me, I tried and tried.”

How long did you collect unemployment for, I asked.

“The maximum—99 weeks,” she said. “Then it ended. I’m not married. I had to ask my family for help. Do you know what that feels like?”

I don’t. But I know this—we’re in the middle of a political campaign, and, literally, billions of dollars will be spent on advertising, on organization, on … getting someone elected. Meanwhile, people like Pat are everywhere, struggling to make a dime as millionaires joust.

Sigh.