Despite getting thousands of hits from the Daily Kos, Salon and Wonkette for my/our post(s) observing the indisputable fact that “homeless” people have no right to have cell phones, I’ve only received ten or so “negative” emails in response.
Because these people all think alike, it will not surprise any of my regular readers that they all went more or less like this:
“I hate you, you hateful hater! You should be kind, tolerant, compassionate and understanding, just like me! Bitch!! PS Bush sukx!”
And an oldie but a goodie:
“You’re ugly and you need to get laid.”
Amusingly, half the emailers were more upset over my contention that grown men who prefer riding bikes to driving cars are effeminate hippie losers than they were with my remarks about poor people. Seriously: they were very, very insulted by that.
One woman wrote to me and explained that I didn’t understand what it was like to be poor. She, on the other hand, had “almost” had to live in a car, and could “barely” afford her husband’s $300 medical bills. It was, she said, hard for her to come up with that money after she’d paid her taxes.
I replied by relating the fact that I grew up below the poverty line, as did my husband, and for most of our lives neither of us ever had a car to sleep in, had we’d needed to do that. I explained that “almost” and “barely” must mean that she didn’t have to and that she could. I can “barely” afford to to “almost” lots of things. We all can, and do. So the ***k what?
I asked her to consider getting angry at the mostly liberal politicians who extorted all those taxes from her in the first place, in the name of “helping the poor” and, apparently, making her one of them herself, rather than at me for simply making observations based upon my lived experience and the evidence of my senses, observations that would have been considered self-evident just a generation ago.
I also asked her where she’d bought the computer she was now using to communicate with me…
I asked them all why they were wasting their time emailing insults to me when they should obviously be down at the food bank right now, helping the poor. None of them had a good answer.
Not one responded with any facts disputing my assertion that America’s “poor” are really just the “broke”, in comparison to the real poor of the Third World, those who lived in the time of Christ, or those who endured the hell of Dicken’s London; that today’s First World “poor” enjoy earthly delights the Sun King never dreamed of.
The “for” emails, on the other hand, all went something like this:
I grew up under a single, handicapped mom on welfare. I remember going for LONG stretches where all we had to eat were those big frakkin’ bags of puffed wheat and carnation skim milk powder. If we had meat, it was some ultra cheap ass cut like pork hocks (woooo!). So you can imagine the excitement when the Christmas Food Bank hampers arrived with their dusty, five year old cans of escargot that had been wished off on us. Weird, but at least they weren’t puffed wheat.
Here’s the thing: If you looked in our freezer you wouldn’t find any food, but you WOULD find at least three or four cartons of cigarettes. If you looked in the cupboard you’d find some pretty expensive liquors. We may not have been able to afford food, but thank God mom had money for the *essentials* like booze and smokes, y’know?
Then about a decade ago I met this lady over the Net who had four kids. Single mom, sounded nice, bad divorce, etc. So we dated for a bit. You could look in her “pantry” and find booze, five or six cartons of ciggys, and dozens and dozens of frakkin’ BINGO dobbers. Oh, and NO food. So I would buy a week’s worth of food for the family. I’d come back the next weekend to discover that she had taken what she had saved on food over the week and doubled up on BINGO dobbers. I dumped her. I regret to this day that I couldn’t take the kids with me because they deserved a parent who lived up to the name.
That’s why I no longer give money to food banks. All I’m really doing is helping bad parents become even worse parents by fueling their ability to feed their destructive habits instead of their children. I may not be robbing the bank but I’m sure as hell driving the getaway car.