Cromey Online

The writings of author, therapist, and priest Robert Warren Cromey.

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Location: San Francisco, California, United States

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Prom Baby and Stress

Prom baby refers to high school senior girls getting pregnant at their prom so they won’t have to go to college and face the stress and pressures of student life. Dear Abby wrote in her column that she was appalled at such immature thinking.

However, young people do have a way of getting to the heart of the matter. These young women who hope to have a prom baby see clearly that college and work life are jammed with activities that create stress, anxiety and sickness. They see lives tormented by senseless competition, hours of hard work in school so they can spend even more hours at jobs and professions that may or may not find fulfillment and perhaps riches. They see families broken by divorce, endless fights about money, decisions about accumulation and what to buy next.

My own daughter whose husband is a Yale alumnus does not want her son to go to an Ivy League School, even tough his chances for Yale are good as he is a legacy. She says she doesn’t think she wants to see her son harassed by competition and stress in order to get a college education.

Articles about the deleterious affects of stress on health, marriage and parenting abound. Suicides among college students are increasing. A number of lawyers of my acquaintance are opting out of offices to pursue more enjoyable and fulfilling lines of work even though they will earn less money.

My wife is a high school English teacher and often comments on how hard her students have to work to get into good colleges or any college. They will take as many Advanced Placement classes as possible, have tons of homework and are expected to play sports, be in the school play, chorus or orchestra as well as attend all the events the students put on. Parents push their children into classes where they have no aptitude or interest.

We have a “work hard” ethic in the United States. Working hard is a good in itself. It is the way to get ahead, make something of yourself, make money and presumably live the good life. Working hard is more important than having rest and relaxation. Working hard also means working hard at having fun. Golf, bowling and tennis became hard fought competitive events rather games of fun and relaxation.

I wanted to join an after work softball team in the city one summer. I called the coach and he made it clear he wanted tough, aggressive, competitive players to play on the team so they could beat the other teams in their league. It sounded too much like work to me so I ended my softball career even before it started.

The average American takes a two-week vacation every year. Europeans take an average of four weeks a year and many holidays in addition. Critics of European economics blame their lax working habits for the not keeping up with American output. I say hurrah for the Europeans.

Prom baby mothers will find plenty of stress and hard work in raising a child, putting up with a husband if she has one or raising a child alone. They may live to regret not having a college education. But their desire to opt out of the college rat race and the stress of the “work hard” ethic yells at all of us to examine what we are doing with our lives and the lives of the people of our country.


Blogger Not Your Usual Missionary Position said...

I was having the same conversation about those "lazy, non-competitive, socialist Europeans" with my Yazoo City, MS, born sister-in-law just a month or so ago.

I was very supportive of four to six weeks' vacation (of course, RWC, my first typing of "six" was "sex" thinking of Amsterdam!); Sandy finds it deplorable; she was being US positive to a young Panamanian male; I was screaming, "Dont listen; don't listen!" Kenny was kicking me under the table. My brother-in-law is a John's Hopkins's doctor of dermatology with something like SIX offices in an area of Pennsylvania. Why they both retreat "home" to MS for vacations when NYC is just up the road and Europe is just next door is baffling to me! Andy and I are two years apart; he is younger; Kenny is two years older.

Andy and Sandy have no children; so Andy gets treated like an only child; as is Sandy. And I. And Kenny's son's wife. Andy could not suffer the competition. AND Kenny should NEVER have had children; it is only NOW with our godchild Spike in Florence, Italy, that he actually LIKES children. WELL, he LIKES SPIKE; I don't know about in general. He likes our housekeeper's grand-daughter, ONE of them. The other one, he says, only months old, is "too little to tell" whether Kenny will dote upon or not, in a very undoting seeming way. He loves our two cats but does not want another while I adopt and feed every stray in Almirante.

Andy works hard. Only in the past few years has he taken off a full two weeks a year. He is just now thinking of selling two of three of his clinics.

Now that Kenny is no longer a world famous compounding pharmacist and a priest does Andy have anything to do with him; before, the competition was too great. When I met Kenny, in 1992, he carried two cell phones and two beepers, 24 hours a day and was the compounder for EIGHT hospices in MS!!! EIGHT!!!! He literally built hospice care in MS in a new way of administering medications, inventing several ways of dosaging and wanting and receiving NO MONEY from those proceeds of invention; he only wanted people to use them; he freely gave away all "recipes." His brother and sisterNlaw could not tolerate the competition and the ONLY good thing they had to say was that he was stupid for not making tons of money from patents and inventions and creations. Now that KRK is a priest, his brother has started hanging out with RC priests and Jewish rabbis. He takes great pride in telling one and all that one of his offices is an old synagogue. They collect Pre Vat2 clothing and Church-stuff. Strange.

Now that we are in Panama, they want to buy property here, they THINK. There IS a growing connectioni between the two brothers but the sisterNlaw somehow seems to stir the pot with "this place is better than where you live," we want to live here in Panama City where things are happening! etc. Nor will they commit to a place where we might be able to stay/live/make a gay ministry with their condominium (gated and taken from the rainforest OF COURSE! with the toxins of a golf course), used by them only once a year. They have offered us their condo when they are not there; we asked for an extra bedroom that we would help support monetarily; they say no.

Weird. families and family values.

Kenny who decided to forego the madness of pharmacy life with the madness of one or two parishes now is the "provincial" of four parishes, six congregations, two plus ministries "outreached" and at least three schools. His facial colour and weariness is like that of the old pharmacy days.

I cannot bitch to the bishop; he will send us back to the US, we fear, as I broadcast this into the eithers. That Kenny's legs are in horrible shape and he needs surgery is something he does not want the bishop to know as "he could send us back." Here we are guaranteed a roof over our heads, however horrible I find it in terms of ostentation (is THAT a word?)--better than 'real people" all fenced and concertina-wired. I have asked to remove the fencing; the bishop says no; everything will be stolen. SO? I say and the bishop reels in horror that something of the C/church's might be stolen when it is not being used. We give away as much as we can; I do; that way KRK does not have to know. It's a game we unconsciously play. Just as we play as if I am not ordained "so the bishop won't send us back." The cost of living here is soooo much grander; we could not afford to live in the US on 500.00 a month, over 200 of that going for power. We get NO money from the people of Panama; monthly offering plate giving will not pay for two round trips to The Island, twelve dollars US and Panamanian Balboas, six dollars per person, round trip.

We take off and escape to the cool of the Ngobe Comarca and Boquete as often as possible; we are only supposed to take off two weeks after three years. Thank God KRK refused to hear of that! We are coming to the US for two weeks and we look forward to SF cool and visits with friends; I will spend the entire time worried about the cats of Panama, another of my missions,helping to found and support and gain monies for a Spay Panama Project, where once a month, we collect with safe food and sedation as many cats as we can and get them all spayed and then find a home or welcome then to ours for food. It seems almost unfair to "fix" male cats as they become less aggressive without a Sanctuary; finding a stray female cat seems impossible! From whence do the kittens come, then?

Time away for KRK is NOT time away; I get some actual vacation time, thank Goddess for "The Inclusive Celtic Episcopal Church" of St Savior and St Brendan, recently renamed (Wed) from "The New Church, Inclusive Anglican Reform"--a request of The People, not of the ordained. The bishop did not vote; REFUSED to vote, even to break a tie, saying we would have to decide for ourselves; I respect that very much. But KRK will spend his time doing what is known to missionaries of the ECUSA/TEC as "the dog and pony show" which I choose to call "the begging bowl" whereby he goes to various parishes and begs for monies and support of people's energies. I say to the bishop here, "sell all this land in Bocas and start over; these are dying, haunted places of Colonialism's evils." He says I think like a gringa; I roll my eyes and say, "No, I think as Casandra and a prophet." He winces and LOATHES that I pray as a mystic. OH FUCK, the Church! is so mean too much! A cruel mistress!

Now that the bish here is becoming known world-wide, he has changed.I no longer trust him as I did seven years ago; I tell him so; he tells me to be quiet and silences me with his hand wearing the bishop's ring. I ignore him and keep on. Kenny kicks me under the table; I say "OW, STOP THAT!" And eventually shut the fuck up, oonie! Sometimes I tread too close. Know any one else like that, RWC??????

I think of all our young men dying in the First Wave of AIDS in the US and Bishop Swing travelled the world, working United Religions. Here Julio travels the world with NO awareness of gay anniversaries and World AIDS Day and PRIDE week and silences Kenny and tries to stop him from a Eucharist at Gay Pride. This year no will silences me or stops me unleess it is the GLBTQKQ folk who may or may not want a Eucharist; it is their decision but I will be on the streets or in the office, just the same, as we all feel that is good an right and meet to do, to say, "Here is a welcoming Church" that will also help establish the MCC's here; a church with money; while we have none. We can't afford a building or a space but I DO walk the streets of PC once a month at night with a Maryknoll sister and some others, even with my horrible Spanish. My Jesuit priest friend says his mentor taught him "that not knowing a language, but while trying to, puts me in connection with the Poor, who don't know the 'lingo' of the affluent." This is differenet than the wealthy, seminaried female priest who lives here six months a year, claiming her call "to civilise these people." In that calling from God, she says, she will NEVER learn Spanish, never even try! As Spanish defeats her mission. I could puke. So here we welcome affluent priests with a call of this kind and not ordain me, this priest of another kind, who only wants to work with GLBT and First Peoples and ALL peole with HIV/SIDA. I am forever blessed by Bishop William/Rusty for welcoming me and ordaining me on the Feast Day of St Brigid.

WORK: yes, we here in Panama, seem to have taken on much too much of the US and England and Spain. There is a building boom for gringoas going on here now.

Noriega, El Pina, The Pineapple (from all his acne scars) gets out of prison next October, months before W, we hope and pray, HAS to leave office. We all, of the People, the REAL PEOPLE, here in Panama and the US, hold our breath.

oonie in Almirante

12:28 PM  

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