Saturday, February 26, 2011

I had no idea I was so important

So, Becky has the pain in the butt assignment from her sociology class. She has to read 15 of 23 articles in one of her texts. For each, she has to answer three questions. The issue at hand is that Becky doesn't find the reading nearly as enthralling as a good fantasy or horror novel. In order to process the information she's reading and answer those pesky, she often discusses each article with me.

My thought on the matter: it sure would be helpful if I could read some of this stuff so I knew what she was talking about, other than getting her translation of the readings. Thus, I copied down her list and started running a Google search for them. That's when I read, The Uses of Poverty: The Poor Pay All. That's also when my supposed value, (and the value of all poor schmucks across America), to society increased a hundredfold.

I mean, where would the employees of the local welfare office be without having someone like me to process paperwork? Or the clinic doctor who steamrolls through patient rooms, barely hearing my complaint and scribbling out a prescription before moving on the the next patient in the assembly line? A philanthropist can't be very philanthropic without having yours truly as a worthy cause to throw money at cheap housing and clothing, right?

And for those who work, there are the wonderful jobs that those with a decent income wouldn't dare look at. The poor work the fields, scrub the toilets, and fry them fries. Do you honestly think anyone with an upper-class status will ever say something as dire as, "I hope that application I put in to Pizza Hut goes through"?

There was a point where my old friend, Mush, (whom I haven't spoken to since Stu was sick), had parted ways with the practice in which he was to become a partner. During that time, sheerly out of boredom, he grabbed an application for a Starbucks. Mind you, he didn't get it because he was sincerely looking for work; he did it for the laugh. "Rob, in the section for education...There wasn't enough space. There was no room for my biology major, my med school, and my MD PhD."

Overall, this little essay points out things I already knew. I just didn't know that I knew them. That is, I never applied my occasionally cynical mind to the usefulness of poverty and the impoverished. When I was firmly part of the middle class while growing up, I was essentially taught to look down on the poor, as they were the lowest of the low. They didn't even qualify as pariah. And the article was right, in that those living outside of poverty have some...unusual ideas about the lives of the poor. I don't think finances has anything to do with one's drug use or sexual simply hear about it less from those who are well-off.

Oddly, while reading this particular piece, my mind drifted toward Star Trek, or the world that Gene Roddenberry created. His version of Earth was one of advanced society, where people wanted for nothing. Mankind had become unified in its direction and purpose, and poverty was simply something one read about in history books. I have to wonder if we will every take these constructions of our minds, such as social classes, and have the power to eliminate them so that all can receive their needs without having to struggle for them.

But until that day comes, I guess I'll be over here, the source of employment for social workers and clinic doctors. I'll be the guy buying discount bread that's a lot closer to its expiration date, as it would be a shame for food to go to waste like that. And I'll remain an excellent source for some philanthropist, who'd like to give me a leg up by publishing a book or two for me, )while also managing to scam me out of any royalties).

Then again, maybe I won't sit here and take it like that. Maybe I'll...I dunno...Find a beautiful woman, marry her, and get my butt in gear to do some real writing, and publish my work on my own. (And I'll scam myself out of my royalties without someone's help, thank you very much!)


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