SF-forfatteren John Scalzi skrev følgende essay etter katastrofen i New Orleans og spørsmålene fra rike republikanere om hvorfor de fattigste ikke reiste fra byen.

Being Poor

Being poor is knowing exactly how much everything costs.
Being poor is getting angry at your kids for asking for all the crap they see on TV.
Being poor is having to keep buying $800 cars because they’re what you can afford, and then having the cars break down on you, because there’s not an $800 car in America that’s worth a damn.
Being poor is hoping the toothache goes away.
Being poor is knowing your kid goes to friends’ houses but never has friends over to yours.
Being poor is going to the restroom before you get in the school lunch line so your friends will be ahead of you and won’t hear you say «I get free lunch» when you get to the cashier.
Being poor is living next to the freeway.
Being poor is coming back to the car with your children in the back seat, clutching that box of Raisin Bran you just bought and trying to think of a way to make the kids understand that the box has to last.
Being poor is wondering if your well-off sibling is lying when he says he doesn’t mind when you ask for help.
Being poor is off-brand toys.
Being poor is a heater in only one room of the house.
Being poor is knowing you can’t leave $5 on the coffee table when your friends are around.
Being poor is hoping your kids don’t have a growth spurt.
Being poor is stealing meat from the store, frying it up before your mom gets home and then telling her she doesn’t have make dinner tonight because you’re not hungry anyway.
Being poor is Goodwill underwear.
Being poor is not enough space for everyone who lives with you.
Being poor is feeling the glued soles tear off your supermarket shoes when you run around the playground.
Being poor is your kid’s school being the one with the 15-year-old textbooks and no air conditioning.
Being poor is thinking $8 an hour is a really good deal.
Being poor is relying on people who don’t give a damn about you.
Being poor is an overnight shift under florescent lights.
Being poor is finding the letter your mom wrote to your dad, begging him for the child support.
Being poor is a bathtub you have to empty into the toilet.
Being poor is stopping the car to take a lamp from a stranger’s trash.
Being poor is making lunch for your kid when a cockroach skitters over the bread, and you looking over to see if your kid saw.
Being poor is believing a GED actually makes a goddamned difference.
Being poor is people angry at you just for walking around in the mall.
Being poor is not taking the job because you can’t find someone you trust to watch your kids.
Being poor is the police busting into the apartment right next to yours.
Being poor is not talking to that girl because she’ll probably just laugh at your clothes.
Being poor is hoping you’ll be invited for dinner.
Being poor is a sidewalk with lots of brown glass on it.
Being poor is people thinking they know something about you by the way you talk.
Being poor is needing that 35-cent raise.
Being poor is your kid’s teacher assuming you don’t have any books in your home.
Being poor is six dollars short on the utility bill and no way to close the gap.
Being poor is crying when you drop the mac and cheese on the floor.
Being poor is knowing you work as hard as anyone, anywhere.
Being poor is people surprised to discover you’re not actually stupid.
Being poor is people surprised to discover you’re not actually lazy.
Being poor is a six-hour wait in an emergency room with a sick child asleep on your lap.
Being poor is never buying anything someone else hasn’t bought first.
Being poor is picking the 10 cent ramen instead of the 12 cent ramen because that’s two extra packages for every dollar.
Being poor is having to live with choices you didn’t know you made when you were 14 years old.
Being poor is getting tired of people wanting you to be grateful.
Being poor is knowing you’re being judged.
Being poor is a box of crayons and a $1 coloring book from a community center Santa.
Being poor is checking the coin return slot of every soda machine you go by.
Being poor is deciding that it’s all right to base a relationship on shelter.
Being poor is knowing you really shouldn’t spend that buck on a Lotto ticket.
Being poor is hoping the register lady will spot you the dime.
Being poor is feeling helpless when your child makes the same mistakes you did, and won’t listen to you beg them against doing so.
Being poor is a cough that doesn’t go away.
Being poor is making sure you don’t spill on the couch, just in case you have to give it back before the lease is up.
Being poor is a $200 paycheck advance from a company that takes $250 when the paycheck comes in.
Being poor is four years of night classes for an Associates of Art degree.
Being poor is a lumpy futon bed.
Being poor is knowing where the shelter is.
Being poor is people who have never been poor wondering why you choose to be so.
Being poor is knowing how hard it is to stop being poor.
Being poor is seeing how few options you have.
Being poor is running in place.
Being poor is people wondering why you didn’t leave.

Scalzis blog er her: http://www.scalzi.com/whatever/

Nick Mamatas føyde til noen mer internasjonale punkter:

Being poor is being sold, by your parents, to a whorehouse that caters to wealthy foreign tourists. You’re eight years old. You’re worth $75. $50 if you have sprouted any pubic hair prior to sale.

Being poor is being beaten by your overseer with branches and bicycle chains, because your diet of unripe bananas and your living arrangements of twenty to a room, sleeping on wooden planks, makes your 12 year-old body too weak to efficiently harvest the cocoa bean with which chocolate is made.

Being poor is having a gun put in your hand and being marched 300 miles to exterminate some strangers in another village. You do it because you get a whole bowful of rice, actual paper money sometimes, and get to keep whatever you find in the huts of the people you’ve killed. Plus, people from that village were sent by the other warlord to kill your parents six months ago. Sweet sixteen.

Being poor is being represented by a number on the collateral damage sidebar of a magazine article discussing whether or not your killers are being supported sufficiently by SUV ribbon magnets and Jessica Simpson concerts.

Being poor is strangling your first born because she has a vagina, and you won’t ever have the trade goods sufficient for a dowry.

Being poor is living in a shack made from trash and corrugated metal in the heavily toxic dump by the maquiladora in which you work to make dress slacks because your wages aren’t enough to rent even the humblest abode. You look forward to your son — the one who wasn’t born with CP — turning nine because then you’ll be a triple-income family.

Being poor is having your wife and children shot while you watch because you tried to organize a union. They’d shoot you too, but then you’d need to be replaced on the assembly line. And you wouldn’t be able to warn everyone else away from unionizing.

Being poor is depending on roots and magic for healing.

Being poor is avoiding the hospital even when there is one locally, because conditions there are absolutely septic. At least a magic spell won’t kill you faster. (The roots might.)

Being poor is dying in a factory fire because you were chained to your machine. Kids your age have a disruptive tendency to crawl under their workstation to the floor and take naps if they’re not properly chained.

Being poor is being left to drown in an inner tube on the ocean, because we have enough maids this year, thanks for asking.

Being poor is having your rectum searched for «stolen» diamond dust after a twenty-hour shift in the mine.

Being poor is working your whole life, sometimes with a gun to the back of your head, to create the goods which the poor of the industrial West can’t afford sufficient quantities of to be considered middle class.
Mamatas blog er her: http://www.livejournal.com/users/nihilistic_kid/

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