As I continue to clean up files of blog ideas, I came across a “reflection” that was printed in the May/June 2006 issue of World Ark, the publication of Heifer International. They had excerpted what I would call a poem, but maybe others would call an essay, by John Scalzi, called “Being Poor.” Mr. Scalzi has graciously agreed to let me share selections from it with you, but then I encourage you to visit his site and read it in its entirety.
Being poor is knowing exactly how much everything costs.
Being poor is living next to the freeway.
Being poor is hoping your kids don’t have a growth spurt.
Being poor is Goodwill underwear.
Being poor is thinking $8 an hour is a really good deal.
Being poor is making lunch for your kid when a cockroach skitters over the bread, and you looking over to see if your kid saw.
Being poor is people angry at you just for walking around in the mall.
Being poor is people thinking they know something about you by the way you talk.
Being poor is six dollars short on the utility bill and no way to close the gap.
Being poor is people surprised to discover you’re not actually stupid.
Being poor is people surprised to discover you’re not actually lazy.
Being poor is having to live with choices you didn’t know you made when you were 14 years old.
To me, being poor is like having a chronic illness with no hope of recovery, or even a lessening of the pain, and knowing you will likely pass the illness on to your children.
What do you think would be (or is, if you are) the worst thing about being poor?