Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Rich man, poor man, beggerman, thief

"Today is Blog Action Day. .. bloggers were asked to write about poverty from the perspective of their individual blogs..." Blue Kitchen

Please visit his site, you won't regret it. His story is great.

Mine not so much. I left home at 16, but it was to go to university. I stayed for a year, then dropped out (or flunked, or almost flunked). And then life was kind of hand to mouth so to speak for a few years. But it was the ultimate lark. I felt so unencumbered and free, and most of my friends were unencumbered and free, except for a couple of those go-to friends. It's not without nostalgia I think about those times, especially recently, as we're all trying to hang on to what we've accumulated.

I remember five finger discounts on ground beef and liverwurst (not at the same time), and eating granola and washing it down with Pabst Blue Ribbon. We'd put a gallon of gas in the car and hope for the best. There may not have been money for a phone, but somehow we always found money for music. And then it was time to grow up, get a job, and go back to school.

Perhaps the thought I'm trying to write myself into is that we had no money, but we had it all -- or believed we did. And we also knew this particular kind of life was, for us, temporary. True poverty is seeing no options, no choices, no exit. Poverty in spirit is the most crushing of all.


  1. Poverty of spirit is the most crushing of all
    (and bad health) I concur
    My favorite teen reassurance was "you can go 20 miles on fumes"

  2. Thank you so much for your kind words about Blue Kitchen. And what a beautiful post! I have similar warm memories of the temporary poverty of college and post-college days. You absolutely nailed it in identifying the way the temporary nature of this period made it palatable and even romantic--and in defining true poverty as seeing no options, no exit. Again, a beautiful post.

  3. You're so right about the temporary nature of college and post-college days. The private school teaching salary at my first job was so low, we were technically at the "poverty" level. I never felt poor or in need, but I always knew that if I chose to make more money I could. And I did.

  4. "Poverty in spirit is the most crushing of all."

    Thanks for the reminder; it's something I sometimes forget.

  5. This is beautiful. I remember those heady, hungry, free days too.

    I remember talking to a homeless man in Santa Monica once who said he was wealthy because he had good eyesight, wonderful memories and lived in a place where everything was beautiful and the water was safe to drink. That puts things into perspective.

  6. Talk about preaching to the choir. I'll bet wild times were had by all. And aren't we glad.

  7. K, sounds like you've been getting preaching lessons from Tim de preacher man.
    Sounds like you're on your high-horse!

    There's your new vocation. Now, i wonder how's the pay.

  8. Yes, I was poor, I was broke. But I always had somewhere to go. I had people who wouldn't lose track of me. I'd been given an education. I had a huge safety net.

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. I just nabbed a generous bunch of thin stem asparagus for 99 cents at Kings on Lincoln. Susan C THANK YOU!

    They have Haas avos for 69 cents--eggplanet---bulgar wheat---a wall of tahini--Greek yogurt OMG CHEAP! I love that place.

    I'm making babaganoush and tabouleh for lunch.

  11. I love it too -- primarily for the vegetables. Got a pineapple for a buck. All kinds of peppers, fresh and dried. I bought a truckload of green beans. But not an italian sausage to be had.