The Jig Is Up — The Poor Have Been Having Too Much Fun

Mulvaney, you found us out. Yup, it’s a fair cop, all right. It’s been so easy and so much fun to be poor, with all that federal aid money out there. And now you want to cut the cord, free everyone to “be successful” and get a good job, because as with Dorothy’s ruby slippers, we had the power all along to work, feed ourselves, and be properly housed.

Oz, the land of the poor, has been easy street, it’s true. Working two or three part-time jobs in retail or hamburgers or mopping floors has been fun. Leaving the kids with grandma, if she’s around, or maybe just home alone with the oldest (an 8-year-old) was a great option, but now we’ll go out and find expensive daycare that provides preschool. It was too much fun for the kids to deal on their own, but now that we are forced to go out and find GOOD employment, we’ll fork over the $250 per week per kid and open a flex-spending account like all the other middle-class folks do. Because now we have to be employed full-time with benefits because you found us out.

All of us will miss those times at the end of the month when we ate Ramen noodles for nine days straight because we had twenty-five cents left in the jar. We’ll even miss the jar, because now we’ll have bank accounts, which we thought was for rich people. No doubt everyone will get the hang of ATM cards and balancing check books, though no one ever taught us that.

No doubt one of the things we’ll miss most is moving every six or seven months after being evicted. The kids are really used to new places and schools, and we worry that they’ll get bored living in one place for years and years, particularly if the plumbing works. What fun is that? There goes our betting pool on whether we’ll have water from day to day.

Obviously, Mulvaney has never experienced the fun times when it was freezing outside and inside, because the heat was out or turned off. It’s amazing what fantastic games you can play, layering on every piece of clothing in your closet (all six of them). And tightly enclosed blanket forts provide a daily good time.

And you’re absolutely right about the food stamps — we’ve been milking it. Literally. Buying milk once a month. But that’s okay. We know that when we get that great-paying job, we’ll have organic milk all the time, and it won’t be a special treat anymore. You’re just killing all the joy, Mulvaney.

It’s a real bummer that you’re doing this now, guys. We were so close to our biggest adventure yet — living on the street. The two-year-old was particularly excited to “camp outside” for weeks on end. And now I have to go out and find a middle-class job with benefits. You really know how to ruin everything, Mulvaney.

The party’s over. I get it. So, before I quit my three other jobs, point me in the right direction: where do I sign up for the good job that will end all my fun?

Can I borrow your tie for the interview? Gage Skidmore [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Writer, painter, cat fancier, troublemaker, democratic socialist, & antifascist.

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