Alison Berkley Margo: The Princess’s Palate
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado
I don’t know about you, but seeing President Clinton speak at the Democratic National Convention gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling. I felt like he was sitting in my living room, talking directly to me. I felt like he gets me, he understands my sense of humor, my worldview and my needs.
I felt like he looked pretty damn good, that he must have lost some weight or had some work done or his eyes got bluer or his accent got cuter, the Southern drawl dripping out of the TV set and into my living room like hot maple syrup over a pad of full-fat butter on top of a tall stack of pancakes in some backwoods Arkansas diner. I so totally love him, and I realized how much I miss him.
I haven’t experienced that comforting feeling since the late ’90s, a time when a trip to the dentist didn’t max out my credit card, not to mention what I paid for the gas to get me there. A time when “reality TV” meant watching Monica Lewinsky, all coy in her pencil skirt and cardigan sweater, thinking, “Damn, I’m thinner and prettier than she is – maybe I could score with the president!” A time when the Kardashian sisters hadn’t even reached puberty yet.
The world was brimming with optimism, and things made a lot more sense then than they do now.
Like, I don’t understand how today’s tea party can be even more archaic than the original tea party, the one that went down in Boston Harbor, what, like 261 years ago? At least that tea party made sense, filled with rebellious spirit and action and progressive thinkers. I don’t get how we are, in this day and age, discussing abortion as if reversing a decision that the Supreme Court 40 made years ago is even an option. I don’t get how money is more important than social consciousness and how politics has digressed from policy-based discourse to some demented, scary contest where the guy with the most money wins.
I have always believed we live in a corporate economy, not a democracy. I have always felt politically apathetic, like a voice is only as valuable as how many dollars are behind it. Ideology has no place in a world whose engine runs on gasoline, like literally.
I don’t get how anyone in their right mind could be opposed to health care reform when a princess can’t even manage to pay her medical bills, hello. I mean, I have been buying things I can’t afford for since I set my little big toe in Aspen. If there’s a will, there’s a way, I always say. My mama always told me, “You get what you pay for.” I’m accustomed to living beyond my means, but what am I supposed to do with a medical bill that’s more than a thousand dollars? There’s no prize or free T-shirt you get with that.
So the other day, I got this really unpleasant call the other day from the doctor’s office, inquiring about an unpaid bill.
“We’d like for you to make arrangements so we don’t have to send this to collections,” the lady says in a nice but threatening tone.
Images of loan sharks with baseball bats played out in my head.
“But the doctor told me the procedure would be covered by my insurance,” I said, feeling like I was back in high school explaining why I hadn’t done my homework.
“It was covered by your insurance, but it still comes out of your deductible,” the nice but mean lady said.
“Well, you can see where that’s a little confusing, then,” I said, my voice becoming a little more high pitched. “Had I known this was going to cost over a thousand dollars, I wouldn’t have done it.”
The alternative to the procedure would have been slow and painful, but not as painful as watching my money go bye-bye, and without a pretty outfit or new hairstyle to show for it. To think of what I could do with a thousand dollars on Hyman Avenue, hello. That’s, like, the Moncler puffy I’ve always wanted.
I mean, if princesses are having to make these sacrifices, what does that mean for normal people?
It’s like my friend Katy: She opted to have natural childbirth – not because she thought it would give her bragging rights among the organically grown Carbondale-mommy set but because she didn’t want to pay for pain management.
Katy is the toughest badass I know. She skis 100 days a year and can hike the Bowl faster than I can, even when she is pregnant. But natural childbirth almost took her out. Natural childbirth kicked her ass – and hard. She said it was just like in the movies, all screaming and breaking her husband’s hand with her death grip and sweaty hair. But there was no way she was going to pay an additional five grand for an epidural.
We are living in a time when pain management is a luxury, even in the illustrious billionaire’s playground of Aspen.
Katy is pregnant again and busily investigating home births, water births, meditation, levitation, telekinesis, magic tricks, medical marijuana cards and plane tickets to Europe so she can have her baby in France, where medial care is provided to its citizens.
Seeing good ol’ Bill Clinton on TV again at that podium all smooth and confident and sensible made me realize how far gone we are. That this disparity between left and right has become as vast and dangerous as a fault line that has finally split apart like in those old earthquake horror movies, sucking everyone and everything in with it. How is Obama supposed to save us?
Speaking of childbearing and awesome speeches, maybe Michelle could help out with that. I know I’d vote for her in 2016.
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