I have a friend who’s a bike messenger. One day while slipping through the streets of downtown Brooklyn, she rode into a car door someone opened without looking, flew off her bike, and hit the ground pretty hard. I went to see her after the accident and found her lying in bed unable to move. I told her she had to go to the doctor, just to make sure everything was ok, and she laughed. She didn’t have health insurance, couldn’t afford it, and the last time she was in a bike accident and went to the doctor she got stuck paying off thousands of dollars in medical fees. Unwilling to deal with that again, this time she decided to just stay home and self medicate until she got better. It took about a month. She’s riding her bike again now.
Breathers is a band from Atlanta, Georgia, whose latest album ‘Designed To Break’ is full of synth pop gems designed to make you both dance and think. The new video for their single “1-800-PAIN” takes us on a surreal journey with protagonist Tommy Pain, a slightly sketchy lawyer who works in injury claims. Pain seems content within a system that takes advantage of peoples’ suffering for financial gain, until one day a minor work accident traps him in that very system. Pain tries everything he can think of to help himself, but the system does nothing but make his pain worse, leading to a moment of agony in which he destroys his own office. He collapses into a chair, sees his own ad on TV, and picks up the phone to call himself for help. It’s a brilliant critique of American healthcare and how it can drive us to forgo professionals and take care of ourselves by ourselves. Not because it’s a good idea or because we want to, but because, at a certain point, what other option do we have?