So the Supreme Court is debating the constitutionality of universal healthcare, and all over the news you see throngs of people protesting the Affordable Healthcare Act.
I have a job I DESPISE, at which I make less and less money every year. Even though it is hardly cost-effective to keep the job, I hang onto it…because I get health insurance through my employer. It costs me around $170 a month, with hefty co-pays…but I keep it anyway, just in case I get in a car wreck or I get cancer or something. I’m TRYING to be RESPONSIBLE!
However, this particular line of work has been in steady decline for the last few years. I’ve been working at it for 12 years, but the money has declined so badly (it’s a dying industry) that about a year ago, I decided I’d be better off quitting and just freelancing, buying my own private health insurance thru Blue Cross Blue Shield or one of those companies. I’m young(ish), I work out religiously, I eat right, I don’t smoke, I have no genetic/hereditary diseases….I figured it would be cake.
To all you assholes raging about Obamacare, let me tell you how terrifying this is. I feel like I woke up in a Kafka story.
I AM UNINSURABLE! WTF?!!
When you apply for individual insurance, the insurer scours your medical records and deducts points for every little thing you’ve ever gone to the doctor for. You’re allowed a grand total of somewhere around 70 points before they deny you — but I’m here to tell you, that shit adds up! I felt like a TOTAL LOSER looking at my rejection letter. They dock you points for EVERYTHING, from hemorrhoids to sinus infections. Still, I would have been OK if it weren’t for two things.
1. I was docked 100 POINTS for having been diagnosed as bipolar. This is an outrageous fucking scam — I do NOT consider myself bipolar. I was diagnosed by a young jackass doctor because I had (and still have) terrible insomnia. At the time of my diagnosis, I had just broken up with a longtime boyfriend, and I was losing my house. YA THINK????!!! OF COURSE I couldn’t sleep, asshole!! But the doc said, after FIVE MINUTES of talking to me (yes, literally FIVE minutes), that he could tell it was all because I’m bipolar.
I beg to differ with this diagnosis — I admit to being manic and hyper, but I do not have serious mood swings, nor do I engage in risky behavior and all the other shit they say in the DSM-IV. (OK, I know I engage in risky stuff like photo shoots with strange men in the middle of the desert…but I don’t do so compulsively; only to pay my bills.)
“Bipolar” is a totally subjective diagnosis. Can you PROVE I’m bipolar, asswad? And what the fuck ever happened to people just being sad sometimes?! Why does everything have to be a fuckin’ disease now?
Anyhoo, being bipolar added 100 points to my score — enough to automatically disqualify me from this particular insurer. But wait, there’s more!
2. I was also docked 150 POINTS for having had a DUI (a fantastic story that I will share with you soon)! That counts as substance abuse. I’ll bet you didn’t realize a DUI could have such far-reaching consequences!!
Between the bipolar diagnosis and the DUI, I was docked 250 points of a max allowed 69.9. HAH!!!!!! What a fucking joke.
So, for the past year I’ve stayed in a job I hate, making less and less money, because I’m too scared to leave for fear I’ll get cancer and die for lack of insurance. WTF is wrong with our shitty fucking society???
Now that my house mess has been settled, I finally had time to pick up where I left off and try to figure this insurance clusterfuck out. It CAN’T be true that a healthy, young(ish) person like me isn’t even able to PAY for insurance! I’m basically doomed to die because I got a DUI and I get sad sometimes. (I’d argue both of those diagnoses are related to my losing battle to save my house…they took my house, and they took my insurability on top of it!! FUCKERS!)
In my research, I found something called the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (pcip.gov), a part of “Obamacare” that has been instituted to help the uninsurable get insurance. Through this program, I can get insurance for around $250 a month — the only catch is, you have to have been uninsured for 6 months before you’re eligible to apply.
So I faced a quandary. Should I quit now, wait six months, and then apply for PCIP? Or should I wait until after my annual OB/GYN appointment? I have a history of abnormal Pap test results, and I was afraid that if I got another bad result, and it turned out to be cancer, then I would REALLY be uninsurable, and I’d be stuck working my shitty job until I died of the cancer!!!
In the end, I decided to go through with my OB/GYN appointment. If it comes back as cancer, I guess I’ll quit my job that same day…surely cervical cancer can’t grow THAT fast in 6 months! Once the 6 months elapses, if I’m still alive, I’ll apply for PCIP, and then get treatment.
Hope it works!!
All in all, it’s a sad fucking day when you have to calculate shit like that before quitting a job. This shitty society’s all fucked up!
***END OF RANT****
OK, now back to your regularly scheduled programming.
To pick up from my last blog, it was St. Patrick’s Day, and despite feeling kinda sick and run-down, and despite a cold front having blown in from someplace shitty, I almost felt obligated to go out. This despite the fact that I’ve always despised St. Patrick’s Day — I hate beer, I hate drunk mooks, and for some reason I’ve always hated Irish music and Irish pubs. But the local Burning Man group was doing a crazy leprechaun-themed pub crawl, and I do love me some dress-up…so I put together and ensemble and went downtown to join in the revelry. My mood was soured right away, though, when I couldn’t find a place to fucking park — downtown Vegas has gotten waaaaay too big for its britches, with all these pretentious parking meters and parallel parking and shit. THIS IS VEGAS! We have nothing BUT wide, open spaces. Why the fuck should it be such a rigamarole to park?!?! I used to park in the Golden Nugget garage all the time when I went downtown, but now they only let hotel guests park there :/ They wouldn’t even let me valet park! I finally had to sort of lie, and imply that I was working at the nightclub there, before the valet ass finally took my car. By then, my mood was soured, and it was cold, and I felt shitty, and the party kinda sucked…but I couldn’t leave right away because I’d told that asswad in valet that I was working. I had to stay at least 2 hours (which is the length of a typical booze-promo-model shift, which was my backup story — “I’m doing a gig for Jameson’s!”). So I wandered around Fremont St in the cold, then finally went home. LAME!
After that, I was sick for a few days, and just kinda laid low. I actually watched some movies for the first time in MONTHS — normally I despise movies; they’ve given me nothing but false hopes and expectations for life. In real life, there are no corny happy endings — why would I want to subject myself to that crap?! I gritted my teeth through the lamesness of Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (lame happy ending), then rolled my eyes through The Help. Finally I got to the new Charlize Theron movie Young Adult, which does NOT have a happy ending — FINALLY! A realistic fucking movie! And, sadly……I saw much of myself in that flick
After a few days of resting, I got back out and about in the thick of things. A friend of mine hired me as props/wardrobe mistress on a corporate video shoot for a super-high-end watch company that wanted its sales force (they call them “ambassadors,” LOL) to make some fake James Bond commercials, as a sort of team-building thing. He knew I have a ton of costumes, so he subcontracted me to gather together all my James Bond-ish-type props and bring them down to this uber-pretentious hotel conference center, and help these watch ambassadors act out their commercials. FUN! The best part was working with the company’s super-anal, uptight European corporate brass — they were a RIOT!
Then it was out to the desert for some artistic nude modeling — this is the PERFECT time of year for outdoor shooting in the desert; not too hot, not too cold, not too many Germans wandering around. I did a few shoots, and for some reason, the guys lately were all about shooting straight up my crotch. I state clearly on my modeling site that I don’t do spread-eagles or clinical shots, but that didn’t stop these guys from trying!! It was exhausting, trying to keep my knees together in artsy poses, when the photogs kept nudging me to spread ‘em. ARRRGH!! I SAID NO!
One shoot in particular was a DOOZY! A friend texted me late one night, saying a friend of his had someone who needed a model for a topless shoot, and they wanted to hire me. I said sure, but to let them know I don’t have much tits to speak of. That was not an issue — it was for a website called JustNips, which features photos of nothing but nipples — ALL types of nipples, from mosquito bites to dugs, puffies to crunchberries to pencil erasers to hubcaps. I went to the website (justnips.com) and just about DIED looking at all the random types of boobs out there — saggy, perky, flapjacks, apples, bazongas, etc.
So I went over for the shoot, and it was the same story — the guy WOULDN’T STOP trying to shoot up my crack!!! “Why the fuck is your site called ‘JUST NIPS’ if you’re also trying to shoot my vagina?!” I finally asked. He muttered something about site members being disappointed if he didn’t get some bottom shots in there, too. Whatever! The 2 hour shoot only paid $150!!!!!! GIVE ME A BREAK! I felt really skeevy after shooting with those people…they have some NASTY stuff on that site — pregnant girls with dildos, etc. Blecchh!
After that, I decided to steer clear of the adult world for awhile…so I busied myself with other activities: hiking around Bonnie Springs (this fake little old-timey Western town on the outskirts of Vegas) with my tranny friend; going to see the FABULOUS vintage-Vegas shtick of Art Vargas (varjazz.com) with my girlfriend from Arkansas, who’s in town for a trade show; and even cruising waaaaaay out to the edge of town, by Sunrise Mountain, to check out a horticulturist friend’s amazing desert garden. He gave me some tips and advice for my own yard, which sadly amounts to little more than a cinderblock square full of lava rock and dog shit…but I seriously doubt I’ll ever see the day my garden looks anything like his. I love plants and flowers, but I just don’t have enough TIME to cultivate ‘em! I barely have time to do all the shit I already do, let alone plant stuff…but I plan to try anyway, since it seems like it would be very therapeutic.
I couldn’t avoid the adult world for very long, though — I was recently hired to write reviews for this new site that’s sort of like a XXX version of Yelp!, so they are having me go around to all the porno stores in town and review them. I did all this a couple years ago, when I was working for the local paper, but stuff changes pretty quikly in Vegas so I figured I’d better go around and check them all out again.
My first stop was this place over in the southwest part of town that has ambitions of being the World’s Biggest Adult Store — they are planning to expand to 10,000 feet spread out over two stories, with an indoor waterfall (!), but for now the economy has them stymied, so it’s just a regular old-fashioned adult novelty store with an attached arcade (what they call the little booths where men watch porn and jerk off) and an attached LIVE PEEPSHOW! Now THAT was interesting!!
In my experience, these kinds of places don’t like nosy reporters coming in asking all kinds of questions…so my cover story was that I was possibly interested in applying for a job as a peepshow dancer. The manager was totally excited, and gave me a job application and told me they’d hire me “on the spot…” but also gave me two free tokens to go in and check out the peepshow first, so I’d be able to get an idea of what I’d be doing.
I went into one of the booths, put the two tokens in the slots, and the shade on the window lifted up to reveal an unfortunate specimen with long, greasy hair and a wall-eyed stare, all trussed up in ripped fishnets and an old denim skirt. She danced fairly enthusiastically for me, but she could tell I wasn’t really getting off on it so she didn’t do anything over the top. I put $5 in the tip slot just to be polite, at which she whipped out her titties and sort of half-heartedly mooshed them together a few times. Meanwhile, I could see the room behind the Plexiglas panel separating us: a tiny shag-carpeted cubicle containing nothing but a bar stool, her purse and a dildo. No book, no TV, no magazines….how the hell does this poor bitch stay occupied between customers?!
The two tokens bought me five minutes of show, and JUST as the shade was finally, mercifully lowering…she reached for her dildo. Cliffhanger!! I assume she was trying to get me to put in two more tokens…but instead, I went around to the side and knocked on her door to ask her some questions. Again, pretending I was possibly interested in the job, I asked her a bunch of questions which I was actually sorry to get the answers to:
“So do you like working here?”
“Yeah!! Before this I was…well I was never a street walker or nothin’, but I was an escort on craigslist…” She went on to tell me about how she was raped and abused, and felt safer dancing in a little Plexiglas vestibule.
“But….is the money good???”
“Oh, yeah…one day I made $120…but it depends; it’s slow…one day alls I made was $20.”
“$20!! How long is a shift?”
EIGHT HOURS!!! For $20 OR $120….either way, no thanks!!!
I thanked her and wished her luck, and got the fuck outta there. DEPRESSING! But the worst part is, there’s a second peepshow here in town…and that place is EVEN WORSE! I plan to go check that one out later this week. Fun!!!!!
Meanwhile, I finally went back to work as a souvenir photographer — the showroom where I work has been closed for awhile because the main headliner got bronchitis or something, but now they managed to lure back one of the other headliners, a spiky-haired British rocker known for his predilection for blondes one-third his age. Business has totally sucked for me personally, but at least I met a lot of interesting people — mostly Southern cougars, for some reason, with hair even bigger than mine. I’m not sure why Southern women love this guy so much…but they do, and it’s annoying.
Then one night my Arkansas girlfriend invited me over to LAVO, this lame, uber-douchey nightclub that was having an ’80s party hosted by none other than Debbie Gibson. I got there too late for the real party, though, because I was photographing fat Southern cougars…so I missed everything. In fact, the douchebag asswad at the door wouldn’t even let me in — he made me wait in line for about 20 minutes, til I got fed up and bailed, going over to the lounge to watch an ’80s headbanger cover band instead. And that was MUCH more fun, anyway! Fuck LAVO — if you are coming to Vegas and want to party, skip that place. It’s lame.
One other thing I did this week was check out a comedy hypnotist show with my trapeze artist friend. Now, these comedy hypnotists are a really big thing in Vegas — you know, they pull you up on stage and hypnotize you, making you do all kinds of embarrassing stuff like hump chairs, etc. There are several comedy hypnotists in town, and I’ve seen (and enjoyed) them all. I got the idea to befriend some hypnotists last year, hoping one of them might be able to cure my insomnia, so I hit the main guy up on Facebook, and he invited me to come see his show. It was great, and next he invited me over to his house for drinks. I was all excited — this man is known for giving people orgasms by simply shaking their hands, but I was slightly apprehensive about going to his house… would he hypnotize me into blowing him?! But he was way cool; he just mixed us drinks, and we went outside to play “Truth or Dare…” until he passed out naked on his patio. The last thing I saw was his wrinkly, slumbering ballsac as I quietly let myself out the gate, back to my truck and my insomnia. Fuck!!!!
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