...... let's talk about some really depressing shit.
I'm reading this book, "Closing Time", by Joe Queenan. It's a memoir about growing up poor with an alcoholic, abusive father.
Frankly, I'm not sure I'm going to make it all the way through - I thought it would be really good, but this dude is just intellectualizing the heck out of the whole thing, so it's kind of tough going.
But he does bring up some interesting points about growing up, and being, poor. Here's some examples:
"Poverty, conceptually as well as viscerally, suffers from a mythology concocted by those who were never poor. Poverty goes far beyond not having money or food. Poverty means that when you do have money and food, the money gets spent unwisely and the food is not nutritious."
"Poverty is a tumor it takes a lifetime to excise, because poverty is lodged deep inside the brain in a dark corner where the once-poor don't want to look. Poverty is a lifestyle, a philosophy, a modus vivendi, an agglomeration of bad habits, which is why nobody who has ever been poor physically ever stops being poor emotionally."
"Most things in life come down to the luck of the draw. Line up ten poor people. Nine of them won't make it. One, maybe two, will. It might as well be you, third pauper from the left. It will help if you are born with chutzpah and personality or are capable of unleashing a stupefying amount of violence on complete strangers in a short period of time with little concern for the consequences. But even that may not be enough. Everyone who is saved is saved because someone tossed him or her a lifeline ......... as the events of Good Friday make abundantly clear, no one is saved all by himself."
Okay, I find this stuff fascinating. First off, let me make clear, I do not have my own personal Poverty Card to pull here. I was born into an upper-middle-class family. Due to an unwise choice of (ex)husband, I did go through some pretty tough times, financially, in my twenties, but I was never actually hungry or destitute.
What Mr. Queenan seems to be saying is that you can't pull yourself up by your bootstraps. You have to have help. And even with help, you may not succeed. I think of that line from the Bible that goes something like, "There will be poor always". In other words, you can't save everybody. Some people will always be poor. Some people, astoundingly, seem to choose poverty. I am thinking of one friend of mine in particular. This dude has been given chance after chance after chance to improve his situation, but he always f*cks it up.
So! I have lots more thoughts on this (oh boy, do I), but this has gone on kind of long already and I'm getting ready to split for the weekend. Feel free to leave your thoughts on poor people in the comments, and Happy Thanksgiving! Sorry if I depressed the shit out of you by talking about poverty.