The View From Wisconsin

Just a random set of rants from a Sports Fan from Wisconsin.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Why Does Everyone Hate Me?

Why does everyone hate me?

I didn't do anything to anyone, at least not that I know of. I'm sitting here, trying to eke out a living so my wife and I can have clothes on our back and food on our table.

Of course, I have to buy that food at Aldi's, or at a local grocery with coupons. And I don't think we've actually bought clothes from anywhere other than Wal-Mart or Goodwill for some time. In fact, I think the last time I bought something to wear elsewhere was when I bought a Packers Super Bowl hat at Target in Waukesha.

Ah, Waukesha. My hometown and my (somewhat) "ancestral" home. I lived there for 18 very good years, met many good people - and had to deal with some not so good people. Maybe one of those people said something. Maybe that's why everyone hates me.

See, I didn't always live in Waukesha. I'm originally from Racine, you see. Grew up there, graduated from high school there. Wasn't very popular there, either - kinda hard to be when you're the short, fat and ugly one. Maybe that's why I'm hated so much? Nah, probably not. The person who coined that phrase has since apologized profusely for that statement.

Of course, there's that little-known fact that I'm originally from Kenosha - THAT'S always good for a snicker or two from other Wisconsinites. I know, I know - IQ drops when you're that close to the Illinois border and all that.

No, no, it's something else. It can't quite be because I went to UW-Whitewater, could it? I mean, the football team wasn't very good when I went there. Heck, I graduated from school about a year after the current coach did. Now him, there's someone who I would see why he'd be hated. All those championships, getting some of the best "leftovers" from a Big Ten school with quality players - yeah, Lance could end up being hated, but that doesn't explain me.

People hate me, and they don't know me. This economy has hit me hard, just as hard as everyone else. My place of employment was shut down, and I had to move completely elsewhere in the state to find another job. That involved the very difficult task of trying to sell a home in a very depressed market. This rather old condo (compared to the others in our area, it was positively ancient) had been, at one point, assessed as being worth nearly double what we got for it, when it finally sold. As it was, it was barely more than what we paid for it.

Oh, wait, that must be it - we actually managed to sell our place. Those others in Waukesha County - or even in our little hamlet of Pewaukee - who still have their places on the market? And they're not getting a sniff in the way of buyers? They must be the ones who hate me with a passion. They can't sell their $200k McMansions because no one wants to live in them, and the taxes are way too much because the road in front of their houses hasn't been repaired since it was built 10 years ago.

Yeah, I guess that may be it. But why are people so happy to hear that we did manage to sell our place - even if it was to someone who turned it into a rental property?

Perhaps its all those friends of mine down in Waukesha, and Milwaukee, and Racine - all those who I knew, went to baseball and hockey games with, worked with, laughed with, enjoyed life with. They didn't like that I moved all the way Up North. I can understand that. I still get frustrated when I take that turn onto I-39 and see the sign saying, "Wausau 108". Okay, it doesn't actually say that, but when you see the first exit after the I-90/94 split is 85 - and your exit is number 205, and you've got another eight miles to go after that... well.

Of course, I don't take that route when I'm heading down to southeastern Wisconsin. It goes through Madison. And I'm not very happy with Madison right now.

I think the people who hate me live there. They don't seem to think I'm human. They see me as some stereotype - fat, lazy, arrogant, overpaid and stupid. Oh, and greedy. That's what I hear in all the papers, anyways.

In case you haven't been following this blog for long - and I don't blame you if you haven't, because I haven't been very good at keeping it up - I am a state employee. Not only that, I'm a second generation state employee. My dad worked for the state, and my mom was a school teacher in Racine.

I'd like to point out a few things: I've never been financially "well off" in my nearly two decades working for the people of this state. Yeah, the home I used to live in down in Pewaukee was nice, but if I hadn't gotten most of the down-payment for it from my grandfather, I would probably be living out of an apartment, just like I am now up here. I haven't bought a new car in nearly a decade, and I've never owned a Cadillac (though my dad had one of those godawful Cimarrons back in the day - you couldn't force me to own one of those).

Still. People hate me. They hate me because of those words: "state employee".

I do things in the service of this state. A state I love, where I've grown and lived and laughed and married (and, unfortunately, buried) with friends and loved ones.

And yet they hate me. Because they see me as this faceless stereotype of the fat and lazy, good for nothing employee who's sucking their tax dollars dry.

I go back to work tomorrow. I deal with the things that the people of this state want me to do, as they have said under previous administrations and legislatures who have, over the years, pieced together my workplace and job description. I head back into a place where job morale is at such an all-time low that it is common - common! - for people to call in sick or refuse to come in to work, if only because no one wants to work for people who hate them all the time.

And I'm not talking about the people I deal with in my job - I'm talking about the public. "Joe Sixpack". The people who have no idea who I am. Who I really am.

And yet... they hate me.

I don't quite know why I'm writing this. I don't think it's because I'm hoping someone changes their mind about things. I doubt that severely, as it is apparent that the lines are drawn in the sand as to who hates me and who doesn't.

Maybe it's just because I need to understand why.