This Is not My Story

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About Andrew Cotto

Andrew Cotto is the author of THE DOMINO EFFECT and OUTERBOROUGH BLUES: A BROOKLYN MYSTERY. His novels can be found at Amazon and Barnes&Noble.  Learn more about Andrew at his website.


  1. You get it. Thank you.

  2. Thank you, Tru. I appreciate the thought.

  3. You DO get it. It is my dream to write and read, but I am already accumulating debt (some of which is not mine) so my family is pressuring me to get a career in making a lot of money fast.

    Thank you.

  4. nice article, Andrew. It’s a hard to accept that the system is a game manipulated by very few at the expense of so many. It needs to change. The future of our middle class is the key to this country’s future.

  5. Thanks, Kevin. You are right: it does need to change.



  6. This hits home in a major way for me. I am 36 years old and I live with my parents and one sister who has several health problems. My sister has a masters degree and is adjunct faculty at a local university but can’t get on full time because the school requires a PhD for a professorship, and pursuing that degree at this time–besides being an expense she can’t afford–would compromise her mental well-being. She doesn’t have, and can’t afford, insurance and has to be on some pricey medication in order to function. There are some health problems that will only get worse as she gets older and we can barely pay for the care she needs now.

    I didn’t get my degree until I was 31 (life got in the way) and I work a low-paying desk job at another university. I haven’t been able to get a better job, and I know I’m worth at least twice what I’m getting paid now, but quantifying my wide skill-set in a way that attracts potential employers has been difficult. Working for a state university has definite perks–my job is steady and secure and I have great benefits–but because of budget concerns I haven’t had a raise in 3 years. It kills me every day that I can’t claim my sister as a dependent in order to get her the care she needs. I’ve put off even thinking about a graduate degree or buying a home of my own or replacing my aging car.

    My dad works as an independent consultant in corporate real estate and investment (among other things), but the market seems to attract people who want lots of work for nothing or who walk away from contracts for no reason. I am, frankly, no longer shocked by the dishonesty and fraud we encounter. He also teaches as adjunct faculty, but has no insurance and no guarantee the university will want him full-time even though he is one of the most talented and knowledgeable instructors there.

    My mother has been able to stay home for many years and be a much-needed support to us in that way, but she’s recently acquired a part-time teacher assistant position at a small private school in the area. For two or three hours a day, she helps with lunch time and in various classrooms, putting her teaching training to work outside her family. The likelihood of her getting a full-time position is remote at best, and she has some pretty intense church responsibilities right now.

    Collectively, we are in thousands of dollars of debt not including the house. I pay the mortgage and put almost everything left of my salary after that toward family bills after I pay my own necessarily small expenses. My sister’s pay goes to household groceries, her credit cards, and medical expenses. My dad’s pay goes to some medical debt, their car, and utilities. My mom’s much smaller pay goes to whatever is left. Some months we barely make it. Some months we have to decide which payment is going to be late and risk a penalty, which just makes it worse next time.

    I have another sister and a brother, but they have their own families and debt.

    I feel guilty when I have to buy new shoes. I feel guilty that I have insurance and can’t cover my family. I feel guilty that I haven’t been able to get a better job. I feel guilty thinking about my future. On the other hand, I am so grateful to be able to help as much as I can. I am grateful for the system we have–it wouldn’t work for everyone, and I know it. I am grateful that we have each other no matter what. We are blessed, but I don’t know how we’re going to get out of this situation. It is hard to have hope when you realize how fragile all of this is.

  7. Hi, Lynn.

    Thanks, so much, for sharing your story. You did a wonderful job depicting the enormity of challenges that face so many families these days. Great writing and storytelling. I applaud your courage in the face of such uncertainty and wish you and your family the best. I’m glad that you have each other, and I have hope that better days are ahead for the many, many families like yours.



  8. you ever figure out where all the fucking money went? good read.

  9. Thanks again Andy for sharing your wonderful talent at writing.
    I am greatful for the faith and hope in God that was passed down to me. It keeps me going through whatever tough times that come into my life. I am greatful for those who in their own way, in whatever small ways they can, are there for me to encourage and help me on this journey of life. I am greatful for the ability to live simply and not worry about keeping up with things that this world tells you you have to have. So far I have still managed to live with things that others told me yrs ago that I couldn’t live without.
    And I am greatful for the wisdom that comes with age. It wasn’t til the light bulb went on over my head at the age of 49 that many things had nothing to do with me… was just the way they were……….it was sad……it was freeing. Now I am happy to be me and continue to trust that God will be with me to carry me through whatever down times I have in this world….and with that faith and hope I find I have a much simple and happier life.
    I wish the same for everyone……although I know each of our paths are different.
    Sending my love to you, Pam, Sophia and JJ.

  10. Arlene McCarthy says:

    Once again (via your dad) I read your articles and marvel at your insight….Keep the writing up and the debt down (if possible) Iremember those days very well and can honestly say that until ALL my kids graduated from college did I free myself from debt. Then through my great wisdom I invested in real estate with a mortgage!! Wonderful planning.
    My best to all of you and please add me to this list of friends and family


  11. Thanks, Arlene!

    I appreciate the thoughts and support.



  12. Hi Andrew.

    As usual a highly readable, insightful piece. I enjoy your work very much.
    I like too, that you don’t use curse words in a gratuitous way, but with just the right emphasis.
    Sometimes you just gotta say fuck. (I think that’s the first time I ever wrote that). It feels scandolus.

  13. Thank you, Pat. Your comments are so appreciated (and right on…).

    Thanks for the insightful recognition of the less-is-more approach to cursing in writing. And thanks for allowing me to share in your first foray into profanity on the page. Sometimes scandal feels good.



  14. supertuscan says:

    Very thoughtfully written Andrew. Thank you.
    Lynn up above… my heart and best wishes go out to you. Be brave, stay strong, find comfort in your family & friends, and drink up everything good that life has to offer. My family is in a good place right now and I say thanks every day knowing that a simple twist of fate can completely change our lives.
    In these times, we should live large when times are good but always do our best along the way to be mentally and financially prepared for the grey days.

  15. Thanks, Super T.

    And thanks for your supportive words for Lynn.



  16. Well said Andrew….whatever ha ppened to our world. The middle class is disappearing . Life was never easy but it sure seems so much harder, these days….Mrs.O

  17. Thank you, Mrs. O! And you’re absolutely right, it was never easy…but it seems so in comparison.

  18. Great post. So relevant. I got that job too and am still doing it and earning a nice living. But the dream of writing still burns inside me. Someday.

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