Real world hits as graduation looms

By Amy Stewart

It is true what they say: “More money, more problems.” I hate that.
In my particular experience, “they” has always been my mother, though she has never said it in so many words.

It all began when I was 12 years old and I found out that many things that were always “free,” were not so anymore. Clothes, movie tickets and other allegedly “unnecessary” items suddenly cost money. “That’s why we give you an allowance,” my mother said.

Then, at age 18, when I moved out of my parents’ house to go to college, I was horrified to discover that I could no longer open up a linen closet or look under the bathroom sink to find an endless supply of paper towels and toothpaste. I called my mother to whine. “That’s why you have a job,” she said.

A few weeks ago, as a 21-year-old college senior set to graduate in little more than a week, I received a phone call from my mother.

“You know that starting on the first of May, you are off of our insurance, right?” she said.

“So?” I said, cautiously.

“So, you’ll have to start paying for it. If you stay with our company, it should be about $280 a month, but you can always go find your own,” she said.

“WHAT? That’s not fair,” I said.

“That’s why you’re getting an adult job,” she said.

My mother, who went the secretarial route after high school, obviously knows nothing about entry-level jobs, which are taken with very little experience.

These jobs involve a lot of getting coffee and observing, while occasionally receiving a menial responsibility. These jobs do not pay — otherwise, everyone would be doing them.
OK, health insurance, I can do this.

I typed “heath insurance” into Google and the first headline read “43.6 million Americans don’t have health insurance.” No wonder. Who wants to pay $280 a month on the off chance they might get sick. I never get sick! Maybe a headache every now and then, but what if it is not a headache? What if it is a brain tumor?

I decided to keep searching. Ah, Blue Cross and Blue Shield. There is a name I can trust. I clicked on the “Get an Instant Quote” link.

I browsed the information I was given after I entered my birth date, gender, zip code and confirmed that no, I am not a tobacco user. What is an HMO? What is the difference between a premium and a deductible? Why is my dad not answering the phone?

So that settles it. I just won’t leave the house. It’s just not safe. I might fall in the dirt and come down with a nasty case of ringworm or tetanus, and without the proper prescription or vaccination, where would I be? Exactly.

In fact, who knows what germs lie dormant on this keyboard, waiting to spring on the next uninsured victim.

Best to not take any chances.

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