November 3, 2011

We Can Do Something (November 3, 2011)

NO . . . I did not buy these today.

I am quickly discovering that it IS possible for one person to live on an average of $7.50 per day, albeit a simple existence.   BUT . . . or perhaps I should say . . .

BUT . . .

*It is IMPOSSIBLE to "keep up with the Joneses" on this amount of money.  One simply cannot afford any luxuries whatsoever with minuscule "disposable income", and creature comforts will certainly be few and far between.  "So what?!?" you may say, "No one has a right to luxuries or creature comforts."  And, you would be quite correct.  However, I can see how in the next few weeks I may get a hankering to treat myself to a video rental, or have a beer, or go to a movie . . . and these will likely not be possible OR be at a huge cost (i.e. giving up food for the treat).  As a result, I will likely feel deprived or unfairly treated by life.  It is understandable that a discrepancy between that which is all around a person and that which the person can actually have access to can cause emotional or psychological problems for the individual.  Once again, you say "So what?!?  Everyone has problems."  And, once again, you may be correct.  However, it becomes a problem for all of us if a lot of people feel this way due to a widespread gap between standards of living within a given region or country . . .  then you get widespread unrest, frustration, and dissatisfaction.  Does this sound familiar (i.e. Occupy Movement)? 

*There is NO BUFFER whatsoever.  If anything goes a direction other than expected, and I mean ANYTHING, then a person with this standard of living is hooped.  Need dental work?  Live with the pain.  Need a car repair?  Too bad.  Been invited to a surprise birthday party?  Guess who won't be bringing a gift or wearing a new outfit . . . maybe it's best just not going. 

*Place children in this scenario and SOMEONE IS GOING HUNGRY.  Children bring with them extra expenses and, of course, mouths to feed.  As a parent, I would likely starve before seeing my children go hungry.  If I'm not alone in that then what does it mean when children arrive at school without lunch and not having had breakfast?  It means either a bad parent or a hungry parent.  Neither of these are very attractive scenarios.

But here's the thing . . . WE CAN DO SOMETHING to reduce the standard of living gap and inequalities; WE CAN DO SOMETHING to ensure that people have buffers (maybe not for surprise party gifts but certainly for dental work); and WE CAN DO SOMETHING to ensure that no one goes hungry.   IT'S ALL A MATTER OF PRIORITIES.  We as a people must speak up and say WE CARE . . . and then tell our leaders to do what must be done to make it happen.  WE HAVE THE RESOURCES . . . we just have to decide if they are to be used to modernize weapons . . . or ensure everyone has food and at least a basic standard of living.  There absolutely will be people who are rich and live incredibly well, and that is perfectly fine.  We just have to make sure that no one is in great need who live incredibly poorly.

("Fine," you say, "but what's with the photo of the asparagus, beer, and smoked oysters?"  I was wondering when you would ask.  Yesterday was a banner day in the "Free Stuff" category (as you can see in my Daily Report below).  First, a kind woman gave me a small box of smoked oysters that have been in her pantry but she's not going to eat them.  I love oysters!  Second, I went to a meeting with a fellow to discuss my website and he kindly offered to buy me a beer.  I love beer!!  Third, I went to a meeting last night, and out of the blue a gentleman at the meeting pulled asparagus out of his pocket and asked me if I wanted it.  I know . . . who carries asparagus in their pocket???  I gladly accepted it because . . . I love asparagus!!! (Okay, maybe "love" is too strong . . . but I'm short of my required servings of veggies and I do like asparagus quite a bit.)  Each one of these things brought a huge smile to my face . . . and I am grateful.)

Struggles of the Working Poor Daily Report
Day 2 (November 2nd)

Weight at Beginning of Project:  233 lbs
Weight at End of Phase One:  216 lbs
Weight at Start of Phase Two: 221 lbs
Weight at Start of the Day:  220 lbs

Available Funds:   $0.65 (leftover) + $5.00 (new) = $5.65
Funds Spent Today:  $4.28
Remaining Funds:   $1.37

Items Purchased:   $3 of Gas (see below), 2 Apples, 1 Banana, 1 Potato

Free Stuff:  1 Packet Smoked Oysters (85 g), 1 Pint of Beer, 1 ‘Bunch’ of Asparagus, 2 Mints (like one would get in a restaurant)

Gas Purchased*:  $3.00 (i.e. 2.66 litres @ $1.129 per litre . . . 26.6 km @ 10 km/litre)
Driving Today:  14.9 km (i.e. 1.49 litres)
Gas Remaining:  1.17 litres (i.e. 11.7 km)

*Will not include any fuel or driving related to work that is paid for work.

Hey!! I'm That Poverty Guy . . . let's make a world of difference together.

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