Archive - November 2006

Oh!  Poverty!

There are but a few things in this life that can ruin the joy of youth, the unfettered innocence and unadulterated bliss of childhood.  Getting touched by a drunk guy on the subway will do it.  (NB – This will also ruin an otherwise perfectly acceptable evening commute.)  And a lot of personal tragedies that are quite frankly too somber to put in here and thus make everyone feel awkward for the remainder of the rant.  Another one?  Finding out you’re poor.

Yeah, that sucks.  Being victimized by that epiphany can really blow your day.

And while I can’t recall the day in question, or even if it actually was a day or a slow realization over the course of years, there was a distinct difference in the feelings of my childhood and the feelings of my adolescence.  I’d pin the culprit as Junior High.  It tends to be where and when you find out things you’d really rather not know.  Like, your Uncle Rudy shouldn’t be tickling you like that, in his underwear.  Or, maybe Travis from math class dislikes girls a little TOO much.  And, David Hasselhoff is not a good actor.  It was the car.

The point of this whole story revolves around my attending Catholic school, which seems surprising given the general state of poverty I have described to you before.  Sadly, I was twenty-seven before I realized that we wouldn’t have been so damned poor if my parents hadn’t spent all their money having nuns scare me out of masturbating.  It lasted only for a week (I’ve since made up for it, so take that Sister Mary Margaret!), so I’m not sure they got their money’s worth.  Maybe if I’d gone to public school, I’d have gotten an Atari 2600 before 1991.  Or maybe my first car would have had Reverse.  Who knows?

      But my gripe isn’t about just being poor, but being poor at a private school, and more importantly, listening to my Mom (who holds at least fifty percent of the blame for us being in private school and therefore poor) bitching about it. 

      I’d get invited to a friend’s house, pack up my D&D stuff (don’t judge me), and ask my Mom to drive me.  Her eyes would roll when I gave her the address, and she’d start in even before we got the kid’s neighborhood.  The moaning would reach a crescendo as she pulled our 1975 Chevy Impala (“Don’t Touch That Dial”) into the aforementioned friend’s driveway.

      “Why do have to be friends with the rich kids?  Huh?  Why?  Just look at this place.  Who needs a house this big anyway?  Just more to clean if you ask me.  Of course, I’m sure they have a maid come in.  I mean, our whole house would fit in their garage.  Why can’t you be friends with the poor kids in your class?”  She’d ask, shaking her head with incredulity.

      “I AM the poor kid in class, Mom.”  I’d say, matter-of-factly.     

      In my defense, Mom, I didn’t make friends with THE rich kid in class.  He was a douche bag.

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