Them That's Got Or Poor Boy Soap Box

06:00 February 29, 2016
By: Phil LaMancusa

Unwed expectant mother who works in a plantation mentality service industry job has to go to a ‘Payday Loan’ company because she hasn’t made enough money in tips to pay the rent in her substandard housing situation. Business at the café is a little slower and that means she’s been cut early, her ride back to the Parish is working in the kitchen until five and the loan company closes at six; she’ll be cutting it close, rent was due yesterday. She no longer feels young and/or pretty. Her childlike face is starting to develop the lines of worry that are common to those who spend their lives chasing down the American Dream only to wake up finding that the game is rigged. Against them. Like her parents before her. This is when I wish I was rich.  

Watching the billionaire Nick Hanauer tell folks that: “unless a person in this country is a zillionaire, the alternative is that they’re screwed”. No bones about it--- if you don’t have a whole lot of money--- you’re f**ked! This is when I wish I was rich.

Besides having a better car than we do and his own airplane, he cites his lack of stress and worry about those trivial inadequate cash flow headaches like, rent, healthcare, access to proper nutrition, child care, job security and being able to tell your boss to “take this job and shove it” when your ass gets pinched. Unlike us. What he’s saying to me (non-verbally) is that with beaucoup dollars, you would be able to have an obscenely extravagantly spectacularly good life and not worry about any financial nosebleeds. Thus far, from where I’m sitting, he hasn’t offered to share any of that money with me… or you. 


1. If you work hard enough you should be able to live well.

Here’s a challenge: say your landlord evicts you, your mortgage is called in, you’re fired from your job, you have to move tomorrow, or if your soul mate decides to pursue one of the “fifty ways to leave your lover” and hangs you out to dry. Here goes: find a place that you can afford, pay first and last rent and security deposit. Turn on the lights, gas, water, cable, trash, phone and purchase appliances where applicable. Pay the movers or the rent-a-truck or be prepared to move your stuff in a grocery basket. Question number one is: how are you gonna pay for all this and how can you afford to keep it all together and still afford toilet paper? Answer: no matter how hard you work or how much money you squirrel away, stuff happens that can/will set you back: car repairs, vet bills, new air conditioner and a visit to the chiropractor after you threw your back out moving furniture.


2. Those that are without deserve to be without.

No, although big mockery-mucks profess that poverty is hereditary, natural and sometimes even contagious, there is a matter of timing, connections and abilities that a lot of poorer folks lack; however, no one deserves to be without. Period. There are basic amenities that every person should have the right to and we should “hold these rights to be self evident”… Ask Alfred P. Doolittle and avoid having me explain the difference between the deserving and the undeserving poor and “being up against middle-class morality for all of time”. Adequate food, clothing and shelter….life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…who does not deserve that? 


3. If you don’t have a job, you must be lazy.

Do yourself a favor if you swallow this one, read labels and every time you see goods or a service that does not come from your town, state or country, figure that a job has been lost. Do yourself another favor; check out the percentages of unemployment in your area, not only for able-bodied men, but also for women, veterans, minorities, young people and those with disabilities. When you can grasp that we’re all in this together, perhaps you’ll buy your fresh garlic from a local farmer rather than something that comes in from a foreign country, like China. For Christ sake, do not go without garlic, however, do consider sources when purchasing.


4. It’s your attitude that keeps you from getting ahead.

Quite possible; nonetheless, just as it’s hard to be an atheist in a foxhole, it’s a damn chore trying to smile when your life is in a dead end run to an early finish line and there is no hope in sight. We’ll set aside poor education, lack of training, parental failures, peer pressure and negative role models. Let’s talk about unattainable goals; some kids would be better trained (and happier) as mechanics and carpenters rather than be expected to go to an Ivy League college, play professional sports and/or hit the pop charts with a number one single.  A young person’s abilities, temperament and talent deserve more attention rather than aiming them too high and punishing them for falling short.


5.  It’s their own fault that they’re poor.

Attention deficits, autism, domestic abuse, lack of education, low income backgrounds, unacceptable nutritional habits, inadequate supervision, oppressive housing, that jerk that she fell in love with that promised her the world, knocked her up and left town, plus, a society that keeps that status quo perpetuated. And if I were rich, I’d do something about that. 

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