The Finer Points of Poverty
By Timothy Ward
I'm poor. And I'm not ashamed of it. Actually, I'm kind of proud of myself for being poor. It's an accomplishment that many people will never attain. Some people will go through their whole life and never know what it's like to experience some of the finer points of poverty like eating ramon noodles for breakfast, lunch, and dinner 5 days a week. My heart goes out to these types of people. The Fourtunate Ones. People who've always had electricity, nice cars, and proper clothing.
I wasn't always poor. I had to work hard at it. I had to quit several jobs without finding new ones. I had to spend 75% of my paycheck at the bar when I knew my bills would have easily taken 90%. I had to max out credit cards and never pay on them. I had to give money to females that I knew would never pay it back. And most importantly I had to move to a small town where $6.00 and hour is considered 'good money'.
I didn't know that I was putting myself in line for poverty while I was doing all these things. I just woke up one day and realized that I couldn't pay my car note because I only had 11 cents in the bank. And that's when it hit me: I'm POOR! It took me 25 long years but I finally nose-dived below the poverty line. I was now in the same category as the homeless and welfare recipients. No more was I hindered by riches. I had shed that lifestyle. I got up and fixed myself a mayonaisse sandwich to celebrate. Delicious!
As a poor person I am entitled to certain privledges to which the well-to-do won't every be privy. I decide haved to list a few:
- Instead of lugging around a wallet full of heavy dollar bills I now pay for important purchases like gasoline and food with spare change that I scavenge up around the house.
- I get to shop at stores with improperly spelled titles like Sav-A-Lot, Thrif-Ti-Mart, and DisKount King. These stores offer a wide variety of out-dated, slightly damaged merchandise that Wal-Mart shoppers can only dream of.
- I get to drool at resturant commercials on TV because I know I will never be able to afford meals like that again unless a rich relative dies
- I get to wear my friend's hand-me-down clothes and shoes. This means that I rarely match and my feet ache constantly from wearing shoes that are three sizes too small.
- I get to freely engage in the offical sports of the National Poor People's Association: begging and borrowing.
- I get to go to bed every night with the comforting thought that if I ever do meet Ms.Right I can't afford to date her.
I'll stop there because I see the envy rising to dangerous levels in a few reader's eyes. These readers probably have steady jobs and nice homes or apartments. Their bills are probably caught up. They probably have an immense wardrobe with properly sized shoes. Their bank account probably never drops below $5,000. I apologize to these readers if my boasting about my impoverished condition has made them feel inferior and totally removed any self-esteem they may have had left. All I can say is that I never meant to be poor. I was just in the right places at the right times. Maybe one day all of you will find yourselves on the Road to Rags as well. Until then you can check in with me if you want to know what it's like. I'll be the guy on the side of the interstate off-ramp with the 'Will Work For Food' sign. Pull your Mercedes right up and ask me anything. I promise I won't laugh.
About the Author
Timothy Ward invites you to subscribe to his weekly humor column 'I Never Said I Was Normal' at http://www.timward.1afm.com
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