Dear Pitch readers:
Due to The Pitch's recent change in ownership, certain regular columns, such as Ask a Mexican (an intelligent discussion of race relations and America's complex immigration policy issues), no longer appear on our site. (Ask a Mexican is the property of Village Voice Media.)
But we're still working to give you the thoughtful, well-informed perspectives you've come to expect about these sensitive issues. Here's the debut of a new columnist.
My name's Tad Gable, and I sure hope you like my column. Let's face it, as an affluent straight Protestant white male, aged 18-50, I have opinions that mean a lot to Kansas City's future. Let's dive in!
Two years ago, my oldest son was killed in a rolling gun battle on Prospect. Now his baby brother wants to join a gang, and I don't know how to reach him. He says there's no reason for him to go to school when he can make money now dealing crack on the street. I don't have much, and I see him making the same mistakes I did as a child. I am terrified of losing the son I have left, and I have done everything I can to try and help him see that this endless cycle of senseless violence is destroying our family and community. What can I do?
A Worried Parent
Jeez, this one's simple. Move! Cheese and rice, just get the heck out of the East Side! With housing prices at an all-time low, there's just no excuse not to have your family in a safe environment. You wouldn't even have to cash out your 401(k)! I live in Johnson County, and we never have these problems. The people around you sound like animals! While you wait to get the new house, maybe you can get your boy involved in some healthy activities. I won't deny that I could be a little bit of a rebel myself as a young man, making crank calls to Mrs. Masterson down the block (wish I could've seen the look on her face when I told her she'd better go catch that refrigerator!) or blasting Chicago's most rocking album, Chicago, as late as 11:45 at night. Then my dad got me on the links at the Painted Hills Golf Course. From then on, whenever I got the urge for tomfoolery, you'd find me on the back nine.
I was the first person in my family to go to college. My mother was so proud of me, she cried when I finally earned my bachelor's degree. But with the job market the way it is, it's been impossible for me to find work. I had a scholarship, but it only went so far, and the student-loan debt is catching up to me. It's been months, and I still haven't been able to find good work. I'm terrified my career will be stalled forever as I fight with laid-off workers with more experience for salaries that aren't even very good. I'd be happy just to have health care. What do I do?
Old Tad knows stress, that's for sure. I remember when that tsunami hit Japan. The iPad II I ordered was delayed for weeks because of it. I'm not even going to start on how that affected the vacation I'd already booked. Ugh. The important thing is that you don't let it get to you. Find a place you can relax and think things through. Personally, I like a place where I can get a nice gin and tonic, or even an espresso, and sit on the patio, sort of figuring out the world and pampering myself for once.
The key word is pamper -- if I were you, I wouldn't go anywhere that didn't at least have Sugar in the Raw. Also, you can't undervalue the importance of networking. Get yourself a membership at a great place like the Woodside Health and Tennis Club, west of the Plaza. Not only will getting in shape help relax that stress; you'll meet some great people over there, too. Maybe someone will need a young go-getter like you. Just don't ask during the noon massage. That's Tad's time, if you know what I mean. ;)
I came to this country after meeting a recruiter in Mexico. He gave me a job working at a local hotel in the maid service, which got me a work visa and legal entry into the United States, a country I have come to love. My family was so proud. I sent some of my paycheck back to them every week -- my father works hard, but they still have very little -- and for a time, it looked like as long as I saved my money and worked hard, I might even be able to go to school and make something of myself. Then the economy crashed. When the hotel laid me off, I lost my visa. Even though I came to this country legally, and was actually recruited to come here, the government now considers me an illegal. I have no money for an attorney. What can I do?
You are breaking the law. I have notified INS of your IP address, and agents are on their way.