sam's notes

notes on government, sports and popular culture

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

...Desperation on both sides of the street....

Pretty depressing N.Y. Times article on the Dorsett family's struggle to pay their son's medical bills even with Arnold Dorsett's health insurance through his job. The Dorsetts were eventually forced to file for bankruptcy in March.

Arnold Dorsett said "one of his hardest moments was telling his father about the bankruptcy. His father had worked two or three jobs during hard times, but always managed to pay his debts. (He) made more money than his father ever had, he said, but what good did it do him?"

Indeed, Dorsett made good money at his job: $68,000 per year as a heating and AC serviceman. But the family was saddled with $29,000 in credit card debt. The article is not clear on whether or not the credit card spending was on consumer goods or doctor bills as the Dorsetts were trying to diagnose their son's chronic illness, or a little of both.

But the bottom line is Arnold Dorsett is breaking his back, working 90 hours per week, arguing with his wife over money and drifting away from his children, all with no hope in sight.

I was really depressed after reading the article, lamenting the fate of poor working-class bastards who just can't crawl out of holes created by illness or other assorted tragedies. Then I remembered that hard times fall on the so-called creative class, too. I remembered this L.A. Times article on Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry, which I first saw in the Sunday N&R. The article pointed out that Cherry was unemployed as a sitcom writer for several years and nearly declared bankruptcy before scoring big-time with "Housewives".

Cherry goes into greater detail in this interview with Titan Magazine, the alumni publication of Cherry's alma mater, Cal State Fullerton:

"After writing scripts for 'The Golden Girls' for three years, Cherry fell into a long slump, both creative and financial, which he talks about freely. He went two and a half years without a job interview. He wrote the initial 'Housewives' script, a process that took 18 months, not because he expected it to get on the air but in the hope that the industry would see him as a writer of hour-long shows instead of the half-hour series on his resume.

"'I felt it might be my last chance,' he says now. 'If it had failed, I wouldn't have known what to do next.'"

Endurance pays off. It payed off for Marc Cherry, and it will pay off for Arnold Dorsett, too.


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