Things were bad all over, though the powerful had seen to it that no one truly understood how bad things were. Things might have been different during the Great Depression if they’d had their own version of dollar menus at fast food restaurants and clothing made in sweatshops overseas. But this time around there was credit, and flashier toys to distract people from their lives, and media to inadvertently help politicians hide the truth.
The truth was that things weren’t just bad all over, they were worse than they had ever been.
This one woman, raising two kids on her own, she was finally able to afford a house a few years back. And even though her credit was stretched to the breaking point she felt a sense of pride that she’d been able to achieve the Great Grimmoirian Dream. But the economy tanked, her employer took advantage of the downturn to make a reduction in workforce, which meant that this woman was suddenly unemployed. Because hundreds of thousands of other people lost their jobs suddenly the woman couldn’t afford to pay her credit card bills. Then she couldn’t pay for the house. Then they found themselves on the street, shuttling around between shelters, with the kids education in chaos, spending their nights wondering how they ended up in this condition.
Eventually the woman became unhinged and began spouting nonsense to her kids, scary nonsense like “I think I might have to sell you kids” and “You think we could work together and collect recyclables for a living?” and “Perhaps scavenging at the town dump like they do in third world countries isn’t such a bad idea…”
And the kids were all like “Mom! No! We can figure something out!”
So the kids went out and found a bunch of people protesting against corporate greed. These people had set up a camp in the city and collected resources from sympathetic people and were living in tents and makeshift shelters. When the kids brought their mother to the protest camp they found a community and food and fellowship and were happy for a while. But then the woman realized they still had no home, no stability, and that their community was tenuous at best. She began to say things like “I suppose we could get arrested and then child protective services could take care of you guys” and “Jail probably wouldn’t be so bad, at least I’d get to shower regularly again” and “Why don’t you kids go throw some garbage at those policemen over there…”
And the kids were all like “Mom! That’s crazy talk! Just give us a little more time to figure things out!”
The kids realized that their mother was losing it, that decades of constant lies and the long, slow decline in the standard of living had taken their toll. The kids had learned in school – before they were forced to give up their public education, which was designed to make sure they bought into the Great Grimmoirian Dream – that a democratic government is judged by how it treats the citizens, and it was clear that their democracy was failing them. They knew that there had been populist uprisings in the past, and recently in other faraway countries, and that perhaps the time had come to change the way things were in the Grimmoire.
But what could they do? How would they change their world and save their mother at the same time?
I would like to say that this story has a proper ending, but it does not. In the Grimmoire of old there was a similar story of a mother and her two daughters. Starving from famine the girls scrounged for bread to keep their mother sane and so they wouldn’t starve to death, but their solution in the end was rather extreme. The girls promised their mother to lie down and sleep until the famine was over, and they did, and nothing could ever wake them. Stoically, they died. And their mother is reported walking away and never heard from again.
And so it was, but so shall it be again?