Save vs. Death

The man largely responsible for the creation of Dungeons and Dragons has passed away. Gary Gygax died on Tuesday at the age of 69, much like when I learned of Madeline L'Engle's passing, this makes me sad.

Mostly, when someone of celebrity passes, I note it and then move on with my day, but occasionally someone passes that makes me stop and note a true loss to the world at large. Gary Gygax is one of those people. I was one of those kids that never really "fit". I was too smart for most of the kids my own age and to young to hang out with adults. I read, I created...I was an anomaly. And then I discovered D&D. Playing D&D I could immerse myself in a world where the creatures I read about on the pages of books came to life. I got to battle them and do things that were sometimes heroic...and sometimes not so heroic. And the best part was, there were six other people sitting at the same table who all got into it just as much as me.

Every Saturday we weren't to "smart kid" or the "weird kid" or the "dork" or the "jock" or any of the other lables forced on us by society at large. We were a group united in a common cause. We fought as one. We were friends and companions. Our world was rich and colorful and nothing could hurt us. It was a wonderful place to be. And we owed it all to a man named Gary Gygax.

So, Thanks Gary, wherever you are now. I hope there's a table waiting and a set of dice warmed up. We'll miss you!

If only I could get on Welfare

Today I had to do my "interview" so we could get my son into the C.H.I.P program. For those of you who don't know what that is, it's a health insurance program that is available through the state for families who make to much money to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to pay the premiums for regular medical insurance...you know, most Americans. At the end of the interview, the young woman speaking with me said that I should be sure to get her all the required documentation in a timely manner as my family was "very close" to the income cut off. This made me ask her a question.

You see, although we are required to pay all of our bills, things like rent, heat, electricity, medical bills for myself and Russ (who is an insulin dependant diabetic) the state only uses a percentage of these things as deductions. This means that they begin by using the pretax amount of wages and then only deduct a fraction of what we actually pay out for necessity living expenses to decide whether or not my son qualifies for this program. I asked her why that was. I mean, it would be great if I could go to my landlord, the gas company and all the others and say, "Hey, we can't really afford to pay you the whole amount this month, so how does 48% sound?" Who wouldn't like to be able to do that, right? Do you know what her answer was?

"We calculate eligibility using a percentage because the fear is that if we use the whole amount people will purposely try to live above their means and then get on government programs like Medicaid and Food Stamps."

I almost choked on my tongue. Apparently the geniuses in charge think that we, the great unwashed, are just sitting out here dying to get on public assistance. They apparently believe that living on welfare is soooo attractive that we would all rush right out and con landlords into renting homes to us that we obviously couldn't afford JUST so we could get food stamps. I am slack jawed at the thought process that had to go into this.

The next thing you know someone is going to tell me people aren't really homeless, they're actually "outdoor enthusiasts".