Thursday, March 3, 2011

You either have cows or money

The cow went dry three months early.  This is an operator error.  I didn't know what I was looking for, how to time it, when to insist that The Inseminator come, etc.  It sucks to be cleaning out stalls and tossing 1/2 ton bales of hay around without getting anything for my labors.  The grain bill is down, but the grocery bill is way up.  What can I say... I'm a novice and this is just the sort of mistake we are bound to make.  I've learned to give lots of slack to beginners, to myself as a beginner.  Unlike some people who have no patience for learning... a bossy megalomaniac (not Huck, no way) is getting on my nerves.  Freshman efforts should be treated with gentle guidance.  And I'm learning to give this to myself.  I wish others could be so wise.

On another topic, I love all our contradictory and confusing sayings.  When I was little I used to marvel at how the early bird gets the worm but good things come to those who wait.  Both are true, some times, like a broken clock.  But lately I've been looking at the aphorisms which we tell ourselves that aren't true at all.  Our pastor recently said in a sermon, "No one ever said on their death bed that they wished they had more money."  Ummm... no one you know, maybe.  That could be because people with quaint death-bed experiences during which they relay their final advice usually had plenty of green, that's why they're in a bed, in a hospital.

I can think of several people, just off the top of my head, whose deaths were directly related to not having enough money.  Take Coyote's midwife who died a year ago from a perfectly treatable breast cancer.  But she didn't have health insurance or money, so she never got her symptoms checked out until the cancer was literally choking her and she died two weeks later.  I think of the 35,000 people who die of starvation every single day or the 1 million yearly deaths associated with contaminated drinking water.  Or those who die in the violence of poverty stricken ghettos.  I think, on their death "beds," they may have wished for more money.  But, since most of them are children, perhaps they didn't know the role money might have played in their plight.  No... I think this idea that money isn't "what you wish you had more of" when you lay in your clean, remote-controlled bed with your family all around you (they flew in from all corners of the world to say their final farewell) is a fantasy we all have.  And certainly, everyone should be so fortunate to die in such a peaceful, friendly way at the end of a long life.  But the truth is that many people die every day who wouldn't if they'd had money.

There's also, "The best things in life are free."  Again, see above mentioned food and clean water.  Also health care.  Baby-sitters.  Perhaps, the next best things in life are free, once that life is secure.

And I love to hear this one: "You either have time or money."  HA!  This is always spoken by those who imagine that poor people are poor because they're lazy.  People would tell me this while Huck was in school and I was working.  And we had two kids.  And were on food stamps.  And drove my grandma's '94 Oldsmobile.  We had neither.  And yet people always said this, like since we were poor we must have tons of time we're not using wisely.  Because it's March and it still feels like February, I just want to say right now a sweet little: FORGET YOU! to those wonderful people, bless their confused little hearts.

A girl in the religious high school I went to said that God had chosen to bless her family with money and if He wanted others to have some, He would just give it to them.  So I asked, "What did my family do to deserve poverty?"  She said: "That is between your family and God.  I don't know what you did.  But God does."  At this point, thankfully, the panicked teacher told her to shut up, and not in a nice way.  A probably still thinks that, but maybe she's learned to keep it to herself now.  It's an ubiquitous idea, poverty as just punishment.  Imagine, God's love equals money!  That's what Jesus said, right?

To be fair, the poor have their sayings about the rich.  The scum rising and all that, as was obvious in A's case.  But that's another aphorism to make the bottoms feel better about their position.

Basically, if it's a cliche about money that people want to keep as theirs, it is going to stick around.  If it makes the poor feel like they have nothing to envy, like poverty is a gift (Can't buy happiness!), like it's spiritual and/or simpler to be poor, or dirty to have money, we'll hear it again and again.

To be fair, I do know people whose wealth is kept in perspective and they know it says nothing of their value as a person.  I aspire to be such a lucky wise one!  And I promise that I'll always remember that although we work hard for our wealth, it doesn't mean that people without wealth don't work hard.  I'm just saying here, watch those aphorisms, some of them are well designed to keep you down and loving it.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent blog! I can tell you that I'm much happier WITH money than without. I've never had more than just enough to pay the monthly bills, but that's good enough (I'd like it to be more but the older I get the stronger grows the feeling that I'm not going to ever be a person who can write a check for something without feeling anxiety), and that's because I know what it's like to not have enough to pay those bills or even to buy enough food to feed hungry kids. No, poverty does not lead to any kind of happiness unless you are a nitwit.

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