Past Opinion Articles

Article for the week of 8/6/09


Confessions of a Dislocated Texan

The things you learn while being poverty stricken
By Ezra Mann (Editor in Spoof)


While I know that even at my most destitute moments in life I’ll never be able to hold a candle to a third world country hobo; I can definitely say I can relate to those who have had to scrape by on next to nothing. During these hard times I’ve picked up and fined tuned a few survival skills that I wouldn’t have even needed during my college years (hooray and boo to college loans!).
In a sick and twisted joke known as my life I’ve figured out that no matter how much of a careful person you are with what you have, it can all be shaken up and taken away in a moment. Heck, I once thought I could tackle the beast known as credit without even owning a credit card until I was forced by conditions to belly up to the plastic beast. Now I just cautiously survey the landscape of my existence, hoping to the heavens above I’m able to make it through the week with my limbs intact.
Poetic injustice aside, I’ve been able to bring about some positive moves forward in the making myself more self sufficient department. Due to my decision in the spring to try and grow some of the food I ate, I have seen some decrease in the typical grocery bill by sometimes more than half.
One of the greatest ironies you learn when you are poor is that eating healthy kicks you in the family wallet, which is one of the reasons why the south remains a “heavyweight.” Sure I’ve eaten enough squash and tomatoes to make even hardcore vegans gag, but when you’ve got mad cooking skills like my wife and I, you don’t worry too much about repetitive ingredients. My other hard work in raising chickens is now beginning to pay off as well with farm fresh eggs now an affordable possibility.
I’ve also been able to mostly satisfy my being entertained with a complete lack of funds. Without the ability to afford extra channels and internet as well I lobbed off the extra TV costs and started watching reruns on sites like Hulu and renting movies from Netflix.
I’ve actually been able to watch more of what I want via my connection to the Web than I did paying 30-50 dollars a month to an overcharging satellite/cable company. Instead of that monthly bill I can actually go to the theater occasionally and see the blockbuster disappointment of my choosing. Video game wise I can win there too with the classic computer titles I grew up with now available for free.
In the end, I’ve become more of bargain hunting monster than the coupon clipping mothers of our broke nation. If I can find what I want on sale, look out, because I let no gouger take advantage of my meager bank account.
Then again, when you think about the advantages, this is really how we should live our lives before that financial hole appears. I’m all about enjoying the good things in life, but you are not going to see much benefit if you have to suffer later on for your desire. I’m reminded of the cheesy G.I. Joe cartoon of the 80s where knowing is half the battle, but if you don’t choose your battles wisely; you’re just another Cobra Commander.

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