Being poor is knowing exactly how much everything costs.
Being poor is getting angry at your kids for asking for all the crap they see on TV.
Being poor is having to keep buying $800 cars because they’re what you can afford, and then having the cars break down on you, because there’s not an $800 car in America that’s worth a damn.
Being poor is hoping the toothache goes away.
Being poor is knowing your kid goes to friends’ houses but never has friends over to yours.
Being poor is going to the restroom before you get in the school lunch line so your friends will be ahead of you and won’t hear you say “I get free lunch” when you get to the cashier.
Being poor is living next to the freeway.
Being poor is coming back to the car with your children in the back seat, clutching that box of Raisin Bran you just bought and trying to think of a way to make the kids understand that the box has to last.
Being poor is wondering if your well-off sibling is lying when he says he doesn’t mind when you ask for help.
Being poor is off-brand toys.
Being poor is a heater in only one room of the house.
Being poor is knowing you can’t leave $5 on the coffee table when your friends are around.
Being poor is hoping your kids don’t have a growth spurt.
Being poor is stealing meat from the store, frying it up before your mom gets home and then telling her she doesn’t have make dinner tonight because you’re not hungry anyway.
Being poor is Goodwill underwear.
Being poor is not enough space for everyone who lives with you.
Being poor is feeling the glued soles tear off your supermarket shoes when you run around the playground.
Being poor is your kid’s school being the one with the 15-year-old textbooks and no air conditioning.
Being poor is thinking $8 an hour is a really good deal.
Being poor is relying on people who don’t give a damn about you.
Being poor is an overnight shift under florescent lights.
Being poor is finding the letter your mom wrote to your dad, begging him for the child support.
Being poor is a bathtub you have to empty into the toilet.
Being poor is stopping the car to take a lamp from a stranger’s trash.
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 believing a GED actually makes a goddamned difference.
Being poor is people angry at you just for walking around in the mall.
Being poor is not taking the job because you can’t find someone you trust to watch your kids.
Being poor is the police busting into the apartment right next to yours.
Being poor is not talking to that girl because she’ll probably just laugh at your clothes.
Being poor is hoping you’ll be invited for dinner.
Being poor is a sidewalk with lots of brown glass on it.
Being poor is people thinking they know something about you by the way you talk.
Being poor is needing that 35-cent raise.
Being poor is your kid’s teacher assuming you don’t have any books in your home.
Being poor is six dollars short on the utility bill and no way to close the gap.
Being poor is crying when you drop the mac and cheese on the floor.
Being poor is knowing you work as hard as anyone, anywhere.
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 a six-hour wait in an emergency room with a sick child asleep on your lap.
Being poor is never buying anything someone else hasn’t bought first.
Being poor is picking the 10 cent ramen instead of the 12 cent ramen because that’s two extra packages for every dollar.
Being poor is having to live with choices you didn’t know you made when you were 14 years old.
Being poor is getting tired of people wanting you to be grateful.
Being poor is knowing you’re being judged.
Being poor is a box of crayons and a $1 coloring book from a community center Santa.
Being poor is checking the coin return slot of every soda machine you go by.
Being poor is deciding that it’s all right to base a relationship on shelter.
Being poor is knowing you really shouldn’t spend that buck on a Lotto ticket.
Being poor is hoping the register lady will spot you the dime.
Being poor is feeling helpless when your child makes the same mistakes you did, and won’t listen to you beg them against doing so.
Being poor is a cough that doesn’t go away.
Being poor is making sure you don’t spill on the couch, just in case you have to give it back before the lease is up.
Being poor is a $200 paycheck advance from a company that takes $250 when the paycheck comes in.
Being poor is four years of night classes for an Associates of Art degree.
Being poor is a lumpy futon bed.
Being poor is knowing where the shelter is.
Being poor is people who have never been poor wondering why you choose to be so.
Being poor is knowing how hard it is to stop being poor.
Being poor is seeing how few options you have.
Being poor is running in place.
Being poor is people wondering why you didn’t leave.
My family would like to add these items to the above list:
Being poor is being really happy when the school calls to tell you about the resources available for “new” families in the area.
Being Poor is your childs teacher “loaning” your kids school supplies and knowing you can’t replace the pencils and paper and being grateful she didn’t make you ask for the help.
Being Poor is being too white, too married and too employable to get any help.
Being Poor is hoping no one gets sick because you can’t afford to go to any clinic and don’t even think about the ER.
Being Poor is having an illness that people can’t see from the outside so they don’t believe anything is really wrong with you.
Being Poor is not being “disabled” enough.
Being Poor is your kids needing shoes and jeans and getting pissed off that they grew again and they are not any of these things at the thrift store when you need them.
Being poor is having a computer and one car so…your are told and it is deemed that you can’t possibly be really “poor”.
Being Poor is saving cooking oil for re-use and telling the kids it adds flavor to food and it’s a old family secret recipe.
Being Poor is knowing the new box of cereal won’t last long enough.
Being poor is waiting for the kids to get done eating, and then finishing their food and telling them you weren’t really hungry anyway.
Being Poor is knowing you have family members that will never know what being poor really is and can’t understand why you “choose” to continue living the way you do, and having friends think you are going to ask for help every time you look at them, so you don’t have friends or family anymore.
Being Poor is hoping that the local temp job that is paying $7.50 an hour will be close enough to home so you don’t have to spend half of your paycheck on the gas to get there.
Being poor is hiding from your kids in the bathroom with the shower on so they won’t hear you crying about having to pay the bills.
Being Poor is knowing no one really trusts you because your poor and that means your “nasty, a theif or a lier.”
So this year when you are stressing out about what to buy for Christmas presents…think about what being poor in America or wherever you are really means to some “real” people…and think outside the box. Tis the season for Peace, love and goodwill to all Men…that includes the poor too.
Have a blessed day,