Boy, there’s nothing like a little bit of poverty to keep your interest piqued, ya know? Not that we’re impoverished; not now, but we know this thing:
It’s an interesting lifestyle.
I would even go so far to say that it is the most interesting lifestyle, unless being ultra-rich is – that’s one I haven’t tried. But from the looks of it, most people find it boring. Everything’s so safe.
In poverty, nothing is safe. Not your next paycheck (if you have one), not your next meal. Maybe even your next tomorrow. It all depends on how prepared you are; how well you respond to life’s ‘adjustments’ (say from ‘living under a bridge’ to ‘living under an apartment complex’).
I remember a friend and I coming across an old woods chicken. It was a scrawny brown black rooster; the dog had trapped it, bitten it on its back. Ruing that it was going to die (not of its wounds – the bite just scraped the skin and feathers), we were determined to ‘put it out of its misery’ – and then eat it.
I tried to wring its damn neck, but it just squawked, flapped violently, and looked at me pitifully. Plus: I knew something from my childhood.
“Ya gotta cut its head off,” I said, nodding at the stretched out chicken we held between the two of us. “You gotta bleed it.” It did NOT look happy. Indeed: it looked kinda mad at me.
So friend (my ‘man-servant’, actually: long story) – goes inside, gets the only knife we got.
A freakin’ bread knife. Yeah, one of those serrated kind.
But like I said: we were honn-grrryyy!. And after much flapping of wings and sawing away, the deed was done.
Damn toughest bird I done ever et’.
Yeah, we were that poor. Ever live off those cheap Chinese noodles and a can of “veg-all” for weeks on end? Months on end? Yeah – ugh. Had to. Sixty-five cents a meal, fairly nutritious (various vegetables) – and if you can, spring for a can of chunked meat, throw that in (now up to maybe a buck, buck and a half) – and if you really wanna go big, get two packs of noodles, a pack of ‘instant’ gravy (only needs water) – and the water that boils the noodles makes the gravy. (yeah, there you go – just pour it all in, cold – it don’t matter – we’re gonna eat it outta the same pot we cooked it in.)
Came to a week or two we lived off a wad of turkey bologna and one (count ’em: 1) loaf of bread. You can only cook that stuff so many ways: grilled, boiled, broiled, burnt. Seasoned, roasted, toasted … urgggg.. Yeah. Nuthin’ but for two weeks solid.
Now how many rich people you know (other than those who worked their way up the financial food chain) – have had those kinds of experiences?
Who’ve seen their wife rooting in a trash can for aluminum cans – and swore: never again! (We were sorting for them, too.) But we had to feed the kids . . . always kept those kids fed . . .
Once when I was very poor and living with some druggies – it was the 3 of us, plus their little children. They weren’t married; they weren’t ‘his’ kids, but they were in the relationship, too – in a good way. And we kept them fed. ….
How many people can say they stood guard in a grocery store while their friend stole steaks for his – and ‘our’ – kids? (He took steak because hey: the penalty is the same regardless for hot dogs or a tin can. Gotta feed them kids good.) We took nothing for ourselves: just the kids. That was my ruling, the rule of the woman.
We lived good, in our little apartment complex – a townhouse. “Friend” was a con man – he’d talk you into giving him the shirt off his back – and then leave, and leaving you wishing you’d given him more. Yeah, that kinda guy – and an intravenious injector to boot (you druggies out there excuse the pun, o’tay? Gently: no addictions needed anymore!). But so was I. All us adults were.
Like I said: Poverty can be interesting. You oughta try it. It might make you appreciate living a little bit better – make you realize: you don’t need so much to live. Heck, if you’re reading this, you’re probably doin’ pretty good. If you have eaten cat before, then you know it! (Sittin’ here picking fur outta my teeth with some cat’s whisker . . . naw, just kiddin’!)
Have fun, people: and keep yourself alive; go in peace, pursue that darned happiness thing – and don’t hurt anyone else in doin’ it.