Category Archives: childhood


Thinking often lately about poverty. Real poverty, destitute living, hand-to-mouth, paycheck-to-paycheck poverty. I did not go out and interview a bunch of poor people. No, I lived this nightmare. From fourteen to somewhere in my late thirties, I considered myself as one of this nation’s poor people. This nation being the United States. I don’t really want to talk too much about this country, the only point that I would like you to take away from this is that most people lie about themselves to themselves about money, and about others to themselves too. I believe that money and wealth is one of the areas that is broken in the United States and that most people will not and/or cannot face the truth about money. How much they have, how much the owe, or how much they really need etc. We are delusional in other ways too, but this one I know well. Because really, I probably left the lower class by thirty, what did I just say, late thirties? See that, truth, we need some, and I can find it, and thanks to my somewhat unique past, I know where to look. That these are the things I want to find out about in my post labelled with the tag ‘Poverty’, when it comes to poverty, I think we will find it still affects us all.

Two main things occurred to me as a poor person. First, you can’t relate to the wealthy, I remember my “friends” laughing because our toilet had been broken for a few months, I was a kid and didn’t know how to fix it. My dad was absent, and my mom was about to crack up. These kids ripped on the way we lived, the disrepair, the dirt. When I got older and was still ‘behind’ or thought I was it was, “don’t you have someone to mow your lawn?” or “You clean your own house?” These are grown up versions of the same taunting, or so I thought. I don’t understand how you are living and I think my life is better is what I heard. Of course, intent is not always known in these “discussions” and you can’t go around blaming people for asking what may be harmless questions. I know now that much of the problem was in my head, but I didn’t at the time and most poor people don’t either in my opinion.

Poor people are, for the most part embarrassed to be poor, I think. Yes, this is my opinion, but I think you can believe this, even when people tell you they don’t care about wealth, in much harsher words than I’m using here, they do. For some that are not poor, they are not because it is terrifying to them, and they would do almost anything to keep away from poverty. Not a horrible thing, but while this reality drives some people to great things it drives others to evil and still others mad.

So yeah, I’m going to research some on this and post it here. I want very much to write about light things. Be clever and have cool fictional characters, but right now I’m more interested in truth, even when no one around me is and I think, as I investigate I will find that the reason people are poor is that they are telling lies. lies to themselves and to those around them about themselves. Lies to others and themselves about everyone else. I’ve been lying to myself for over 10 years. I’m going to stop, and I hope you will stop with me. We are going to quit lying like we quit smoking and quit eating junk food. We are going to see reality better and clearer and maybe even find some solutions to some of these issues.

So yeah, poverty. Let’s see what it’s about, what are its causes, its effects on people and communities, why people won’t face or even talk about poverty, and I’ll tell you my story, how I got from poverty to upper middle class. Maybe my crazy story will help you understand this tough issue, I know it will help me just to think about it and write it down. I’ll provide hard numbers too, maybe my own, maybe from others. I’ll be as honest as I can an even try to keep it light here and there. Here is an old one, but a funny one if you never heard it. I’m so poor I can’t afford to pay attention.

Tired of Being Motivated by Fear

I loaned some money to my nephew. He is a good kid, but young and not really an energetic kid. He would, when he was young, complain whenever he had to walk too far or sit too long, but he would always respond well to correction. He had and still has a gentle nature. Anyway, I loaned the kid sixty dollars. He was late in getting it back to me and I decided to instill a lesson in him. So I set a deadline, and said this is when you pay it back or don’t ever ask me for a favor. Harsh. Maybe. I called him on the day and he said I have it, but it’s in the bank, so next week I’ll get it to you uncle.

“No,” I said, “I’ll come and take you to the bank and you will pay me back on time and we will be good and all will be well.”

So I’m lecturing this poor kid on the way to the bank. When he starts asking me if I heard about the guy in the next city who stole some money from his friend’s business and then holed up in his house and the cops had to drag him out. Some shit like this, just some typical news story. I said look there are 20,000 people in that city and one guy had a bad time. Maybe one in our city will break down next month. So what? The news reports the exceptions, not the rule. Don’t worry about the news.

It has dawned on me though, I spent my life worrying about what the news told me to worry about. My parents were not much help, we were very poor and I studied despite them not caring much, my mom cared only that I get a degree. But I studied not what I wanted but what I thought would get me a job. I did so based on some news clip or blurb I heard about how the liberal arts majors (the stuff I enjoyed), these kids in liberal arts were struggling to find jobs.

Never has it occurred to me to do what I like. Except this little site lets me speak my mind. (Under an alias, because I’m still a coward.) This little site, the internet and writing in general have given me a tiny little voice in the vast world. I’m very grateful.

Back to the kid though, I made him pull the money out the bank. Hand it to me. Then I gave it back and made him buy me lunch. Look, he is 20 and braver than I ever was, he could have blown me off, but like a said, good kid.

I hope the lesson was a good one, I think it was. Pay your debts, but expect compassion from family, right? Did he even get it? I don’t know.

But the other lesson, the better lesson, your lesson, is to ignore the news, the world is full of good people not the people you see on the news in America. Events are tame and beautiful, not exciting like the news would have you believe.

Don’t be driven by fear. Let your internal drivers be knowledge, truth, and excellence, whatever but NOT fear. If you find yourself quoting a news story to someone or to yourself especially, just stop, the likelihood of that story being true in America, is very slim, and the likelihood of it being the exception to the rule is very wide.

So be smart out there, people. Pay your debts, be kind to family, ignore the news, and let your passion drive you not fear.

I’m far too old to have just figured this out, but I did.


C’mon Mom

Happy Mother’s Day, (belated) to all you Mother’s out there! I for one have mixed feelings this year. My own Mother read me the riot act just the other day for talking about some shit that happened in my own childhood. The story was in my mind harmless and funny, but mom was not amused. My Mother was typing up a report for me for school, back before computers I would have her type things up for me because she was in the hell that I now live, office work. She knew how to type well, I didn’t, and of course my shit was due tomorrow, or Monday, I think it was the weekend.

Anyway she is typing and she is rightfully mad at me, because I waited till the last minute, and she runs out of paper. So she sends my brother to the neighbor’s house to get some printer paper. Now my brother was tripping on acid that day and remembers only that she asked for paper and then, her yelling at him, and that is basically the story. Now looking back, to me, that is funny, can you imagine trying to do errands on acid! impossible (from what I hear, I honestly never did it, but I’ve seen it done and I repeat, impossible.)

Mom is pissed for telling this story to my in-laws, and tells me to keep our business just in the family like we are 1920’s gangsters or something, so probably this post will get me in more trouble someday, Luckily, no one ever reads this blog. So mom’s pissed and I can’t figure out why so I ask. And she tells me (shockingly) because she feels like she failed somehow because my brother is a fuck up, and why do I want to tell her stories of failure. Well I never, ever, ever felt my mom failed us, my brother is just a fuck up. Some people are just fuck ups. I don’t even blame my brother, he seems happy enough. He doesn’t even do acid anymore and he is not, but any economic standard successfull, but again he is happy so…

I’m sorry mom and I love you and I’m sorry you feel judged by the world. I feel that way too sometimes. I guess you are not going to sigh off on this book I’m writing about my childhood. I want to own my life I guess. I want to laugh about the craziness, not stuff it away and freak out when someone else brings it up. Oh, and don’t read this post mom, you won’t like it.

I put my book back up on Smashwords. That premium Kindle this didn’t work for me. I guess my book just doesn’t grab people and drive them to read it. I’ll try again but I think this year might be out, it’s May already and my day job is getting weird. I would hate to have to change jobs, that will put me out of writing for another year but you have to do what you have to do. Whatever, go to smashwords turn on adult content and search on ‘From Light to Life’ and thanks.