Innocence on the internet
Freedom from reality is at the push of a button
Power up, log on
Behind a screen you can be whoever you choose
Profile picture, stolen face
No one will know if you told the truth
Taking advantage, faking age
You can steal the innocence from a child
Stranger danger, Trust no one
They will think you mean to do no wrong
Fake identity, lying words
You can ruin a life with the tapping of your keyboard
Sabatoge her, hate herself
Capitalism and my father
In the 1980's my father and his brother started a company installing fiber-optic lines. They started with two trucks, four men, and more work than they could handle. They set their own prices, paid their employees a decent wage, and grew their company. My father was out of town a lot. He would start in Texas with a job that was scheduled and work his way back east to Georgia picking up jobs along the way from people who heard about how fast his company ran their lines. They were regarded as one of the quickest fiberoptic teams in the south. Bussiness was booming. My father was saving money left and right with no end in sight. Until a telephone company, now owned by AT&T, started taking over the 'free market'. Bellsouth had always been there, but they hadn't been a big competitor until the mid 90's.
Around this time Bellsouth started to dominate the market. They were able to buy trucks in bulk, at a lower price. My father could only buy 1 truck at a time. They were able to buy extremely large quantities of fiberoptic lines at large discounts, where as my father could only buy smaller increments at higher prices. The market became flooded with corporate trucks that charged a few cents less per foot and paid their employees a few cents less per hour. No longer could my father compete. His lowest possible price was still more than the huge company was charging. No matter how fast or high quality his company worked, Bellsouth was able to do it a little better because they could afford the new technology that his company and previous competitors could not. He was forced to give up his dream and shut down his company in the late 90's when I was just four years old.
This is just one example of how small companies have been consumed by larger corporations. Most children learn in school about the antitrust laws that are in place to ensure that no monopolies can dominate the market, but there are ways to get around everything. No, Bellsouth was not a monopoly because they did not control the entire fiberoptic industry, they did make it impossible for smaller companies to compete. My father could show you on a map which companies controlled the quadrants of the country. These companies would not go outside of their domain, they making sure that there was no monopoly in the entire USA, but were so powerful with their financial backing, tax cuts and incentives, and ability to work with other huge companies that they had a monopoly for their area.
Fiber optics are not the only place where you can see that the market is no longer free. In the defenition of capitalism by Merriam Webster the "economic system is characterized ... by investments that are determined by private decision." This is part of the issue. It takes money to make money. Large corporations looking to expand, as Bellsouth did, easily get funding from banks and the government. For me to try and expand or start my company is very unlikely. Banks, which privately decide my loan options, are unwilling to take a chance on loaning me what I need for my bussiness. They know what the market is like, thus knowing that it will be a struggle for me to compete, making it a chance that they may not get their money back as quickly as they want.
Smaller companies have a hard time getting their hand into the market. In Merriam Websters definition capitalism "prices, production, and the distribution of goods(are) determined mainly by competition in a free market." With this freedom comes challanges. Supply and demand set prices as is taught in every economics class, but for a smaller company their prices can only go so low. With the fear of financial loss by banks and federal funding organizations these companies are unable to get enough funding to produce their products and services at a low enough cost to market them at the same price as larger corporations. This is what happened to my father.
With the "free market" of today there is limited oportunity for growth. Fewer people are starting their own companies, more people are working for corporate owned businesses, and regulations are making it impossible to penetrate the market. Capitalism is not a perfect system, and when the term was coined in 1833 it was the best option for the people of that era, but something has got to give. I do not have a solution to the problems facing our market and capitalism in America as a whole. I do not know what tomorrow will bring for small businesses and the working class. I do know, however, that until something changes we will conitinue to see a decrease in people living their dreams and an increase in corporate ownership.
Merriam Webster's Defenition of Capitalism as sighted in my above rant.
"an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market"
My lips were chapped when I woke. I must have been sleeping with my mouth open. I reached over to check my phone for the time thinking I had missed my alarm. It is Saturday, oh right. Light was pouring through my curtains each time the fan oscillated in their direction letting me know it was morning. Under my quilt I was warm and comfortable, but Saturdays are mine, so I mustn’t waste them with sleep.
The fan kissed my cheeks with cool air just as I pulled back the covers. My room was chilly. It was almost October, but in Georgia the weather does not care what the calendar says. Just the week before I was outside in shorts, but this morning felt as if old man winter had booked his flight down south. The floor was ice when I stepped out of bed. My father was adamant about the use of socks but no matter how many times I tried sleeping in them I woke up barefooted. I do not know if he cared so much about socks because he sold them, or if it was because he thought it kept you warmer, thus lower heating bills. Either way, you best not complain of the temperature without some sort of foot covering or his first recommendation would be socks. Matching socks. They must not work as well with the wrong partner.
The television was almost inaudible from the living room, but I could make out the newscaster welcoming us back to the morning broadcast. My mother was an early riser and an avid news station patron. The entire time I have known my mother she has worked jobs that required the former trait, but the later has seemed to develop through the years. My mother is at her most beautiful in the morning when you catch her before she starts worrying about everyone on the news and everyone under her roof who has yet to wake up. She is the support beam for a family built out of un-organization, dirty laundry, and dreams. No matter how much she washes, we always find more laundry.
Before I join my mother in living room I put back on the socks I lost while running about in my dreams and rummage through the mess on my table for lip-balm. My door opens between two couches in the center of the living room. If I so wished I could lay on my bed and watch the television from there, but my eyes are not that precise and the sofa is much more comfortable anyway.
My father is in the kitchen wearing shorts purchased at least ten years ago making coffee and checking his phone for missed calls. He supposedly gets off of work on Friday at 5:30 but someone forgot to tell his cell phone. Soon my mother will call to him, asking him is he is waiting on a kidney. I take my place at the far end of the large couch, feet underneath me, hair a mess, silently greeting my family as they acknowledge the fact that I am out of bed early. I will one day become a morning person like my mother, but until then I will mope and moan if forced to rise before I am ready.
As my dad enters the living room, coffee in hand, he tousles my hair making it worse than before but somehow better at the same time. He takes his place on the other end of my couch, turning the volume up on the television, since he doesn't understand how we can hear the damn thing, just as the weatherman is telling us how comfortable the day will be.
My brother will sleep at least a half hour more. He would sleep during the day and wake at night if there were no birds or wind chimes in the world. He hates both passionately, along with shoulders and dirty fingernails. The rest of the day may be very exciting, or it may be very bland, but the mornings are always the same.
On Saturday morning in my parents’ home it will not matter if it is 1997 or 2017, it will always be chilly, the bathroom will always be occupied when you need it, and I will always feel perfectly at home.