A long time ago [longer than I like] I turned 10. My folks performed the usual; presents, cake and a party. My friends came over, maybe spent the night, fun was had and Normal America ruled the day. But there was something else that occurred on that birthday. See, when I turned 10 that year, I was given something that I am still enjoying today; a job!
My mom and dad had gone out and obtained the paper route for me in our neighborhood. Now, it was about as easy a route as you could get. 3 street; 6 sides. Once a week, free so every house got one and there was no arm twisting for money. But I was a working man! I was beginning to earn my own money. Soon after that first route we obtained another. Then another. And finally another. Our family had almost cornered the market on routes in that small town.
After the paper routes, we moved into lawn mowing. We started with the family push mower, bought another and finally obtained a riding lawn mower. I mowed a LOT of grass in my day.
When mowing lawns was passed on to the younger kids I began cleaning the pizza shop. 3 times a week; once on Saturday morning. Sweep and mop the whole place. I got promoted to cook, failed at that and began delivering the pizza. All while running in track and cross country, going to school and being active in choir that met before school. It was not unheard of for us to be on the track at 6:15, in the rehearsal room at 7.30 and class at 8.30. Then, after school, back on the track until 5.00, deliver pizza until 10 and study till done. Rinse and repeat.
My point? My point is that even after ALL of this “work” and paycheck drawing, I would still find myself short sometimes. At the away football game I wouldn’t have the extra 2 bucks for the hamburger and Coke at half time. I’d hit a buddy up for it. Now, I knew that what I was doing was drawing down the money I had at home and would just give it back to him the next day in study hall. But sometimes, only a few times, I actually took credit on my friends. I borrowed a $20 bill knowing that I wouldn’t have it till pay day on Wednesday. When study hall came that next day and he asked for his cash back, I knew I had gotten something for nothing. I HATED that. Really really hated that.
Since those days in high school, I have tried NEVER to rely on someone for money that I didn’t have. I didn’t like the dependency and I didn’t like knowing that they were not being able to use their money for their wants.
I always thought that was suppossed to be how it worked.
Once stigmatized, food stamps find acceptance
A decade ago, New York City officials were so reluctant to give out food stamps, they made people register one day and return the next just to get an application. The welfare commissioner said the program caused dependency and the poor were “better off” without it.
Now the city urges the needy to seek aid (in languages from Albanian to Yiddish). Neighborhood groups recruit clients at churches and grocery stores, with materials that all but proclaim a civic duty to apply — to “help New York farmers, grocers, and businesses.” There is even a program on Rikers Island to enroll inmates leaving the jail.
I’m not going to get into the abuse of food stamps that occurs. I’m not going to talk about the fact that food stamps can buy such things as Schwans Delivered Food. I’m not going to get into the fact that providing this service may indeed trap folks.
All I wanna say is that it SHOULD feel that you are using someone elses time and money to feed yourself. You should NEVER forget that you are not just hittin’ a buddy up till you can get the cash in your sock drawer. it SHOULD feel that right now, at this point in time, you can’t take care of yourself.
Every. Single. Time. You. Swallow.
You should never forget that.