February 20, 2008

Fake Poor: A Rich White Dude Goes Slumming

WTTO sent me this article: "Building a Life on $25 and a Gym Bag: College Graduate Leaves Comfortable Life for Poverty Experiment."

The story goes something like this: Adam Shepard, a young white guy who had just graduated from Merrimack College, decides to "test the vivacity of the American Dream," by leaving his parents' house with only $25 and a gym bag and the goal of "making it" on his own in Charleston, South Carolina. He lived in a homeless shelter and worked as a day laborer (keeping a credit card in his back pocket in case of emergency). After 70 days, he had saved enough money to buy a truck and an apartment. This proves, he said, "that anyone can do that." Then he wrote a book called Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream.

Some choice quotes:

I had this great back story on how I was escaping my druggy mom and going to live with my alcoholic dad. Things just fell apart, and there I was at the homeless shelter. I really embellished this fabricated story and told it to anyone who would listen.

The question isn't whether I would have been able to succeed. I think it's the attitude that I take in: "I've got child care. I've got a probation officer. I've got all these bills. Now what am I going to do? Am I going to continue to go out to eat and put rims on my Cadillac? Or am I going to make some things happen in my life...?"

Obviously, this is fucked up. Here are some reasons I'm mad about it:
  • I am sick and tired of rich people making poverty into a "game" or "experiment" that they can use to write a book and start a speaking career. These voyeuristic portrayals of the lives of the poor do no service to anyone. I think it says something about our society that we seem to prefer accounts of poverty narrated by upper-class white people who go "slumming" before returning to their comfortable lives to detail their "experiment" with poverty for other upper-class white people who can feel like they "know" what poor people experience. In her book, Without a Net: The Female Experience of Growing Up Working Class, Michelle Tea writes:
Poor people are always left out of the intellectual conversation, despite being the subjects of entire books. In Nickel and Dimed, Ehrenreich, a successful middle-class woman, speaks directly to other middle-class people. This happens frequently in books and articles about working-class people – it is assumed that none of us will be reading the text. It’s a decidedly creepy experience to read about your life like this, passed from one middle-class perception to another. It’s like being talked about in a room where you sit, invisible. It’s a game of intellectual keep-away, the words lobbed over your head, but worse – no one even knows you’re trying to get in on the game. It doesn’t even occur to them that you could play.
  • I'm offended that Mr. Shepard would knowingly take up space in a homeless shelter when he was choosing to be homeless. Homeless shelters are underfunded, often overcrowded and certainly not meant to accommodate some privileged guy who doesn't truly need their services. I've worked with homeless women, and I've seen how difficult and painful it can be to find them a safe shelter that has space available. Shame on him for wasting that space and those resources. Ditto for food stamps.
  • Here are some of the advantages Mr. Shepard possessed: His race, his gender, his English-speaking abilities, cultural capital and class privilege, a sense of security, literacy, U.S. citizenship, physical and mental health, a clean credit history, no criminal record, no children or partner to support, no domestic violence situation and no threat of violence for his sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.
  • In the article, he never acknowledges the extent to which any of these advantages may have affected his situation, and brushes off suggestions that his situation might not be representative of most homeless individuals. Instead, he generalizes his experience to an entire group without considering the vastly different obstacles that members of this group might face, and uses that experience to promote a conservative "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" ideology (apparently, he never read The Meritocracy Myth or took a look at this graph). It's easier to say "poor people are lazy and can't spend their money right" than to address the real, painful, concrete reality of poverty in this country.
When will we have an article about class or poverty written by a woman living in poverty? What about a transgender woman of color? I feel like those narratives might differ slightly from Mr. Shepard's account. Would ABC label them "News" and stick them in the Business section of their publication? I think not.


Anonymous said...

Dear Rage: Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. I started to copy and paste really good points but then you kept making them. I couldn't have agreed more if I'd said it myself.

First of all, Nickel and Dimed rip off.

What's the purpose of intellectualizing poverty if it alienates and condescends the group it has intended to help and understand?

What does it mean when books like this are actually given credence, often times over actual experiences?

Black Like Me started it. We are currently in the Poor Like Me era. The new phase will be Gay Like Me. Watch.

Anonymous said...

brittany -

Our bloggers blog anonymously or pseudononymously for a variety of reasons, either involving their own privacy or the privacy of other bloggers.

You are welcome to email anyone whose contact information you have off the blog but please do not post anyone's real name on a public forum without their permission.

Does another quench blogger know how to take down or edit brittany's comment to remove the name? (Or do you, brittany?)

Thanks for respecting our bloggers' privacy,

icarus said...

i'm reposting Brittany's awesome comment:

[redacted] did you write this? I think so. Excellent points, all. I was full of anger when I heard about this and you made me not so much have that after reading that some people somewhere still make sense. Sad.

i actually don't mind if people know who i am, but just to keep it anonymous. :-)

minuscripts said...

First, I highly recommend the post by icarus, whose two main points: feeling better about ability to relate to those in poverty through "slumming" accounts and the advantages that Mr. Shephard had, are truly insightful.
Second: The difference between entering into poverty intentionally for a few weeks and growing up in poverty without choice is as different as an American who learns to speak Chinese perfectly and a Chinese who grows up in China. One's worldview is entirely different, as is one's interpretation of freedom, democracy, etc. Poverty's effects are felt as an accumulation of forced choices -- a pressure felt as soon as one is born into poverty. Poverty is not a decision of free will, therefore its damaging effects (which grows exponentially over years) can not actually be felt when poverty is "chosen."

Third, let us take two exmaples that Mr. Shephard himself gives. Besides his obvious social and cultural capital (a college grad will present himself with physical, speech, and mannerism cues that reflects high education and will be picked up automatically by those around him), what if Mr. Shephard actually HAD an alcoholic father rather than a loving one? Wouldn't his entire adult life be more likely be perforated by mistrust, abusive relationships (which studies have confirmed -- abuse fosters abuse), violence, and possibly crime? Secondly, upon learning of the illness of a relative, Mr. Shephard chose to end the experiment and return to comfort his family. There is no such choice present for those in poverty. They must live with the pain and the woes, with illness and tragedy of family. I would like Mr. Shephard to demonstrate that he truly cares about the issue by donating part of his book's profits to organizations that help the poor gain social mobility. Because, ultimately, privilege is a state of mind, not a set of circumstances that one can traverse at will. I am the first to admit that I am privileged, but I am not going to showcase my privilege against those in poverty in order to prove any point -- because my assumptions about life are vastly different. My chosen path to seeking empathy: volunteer service.

mk said...

I mean, isn't there already a Gay Like Me connection in the ex-gay movement? Because that's a similar bootstrap argument--"I cured myself of teh gay! So could all those other awful gays if they only tried!"

I realize Fake Gay (or, I guess, Fake Straight?) is different from Fake Poor, but I just see creepy similarities. Not to mention that, to me, this all boils down to questions of authenticity--of course middle-class white folks want other middle-class white folks to teach us about poverty, because we just can't trust the poor/people of color/you name it to tell us the real story--namely, narratives we find comfortable and satisfying, that sufficiently distance us both from the problem and the responsibility for finding solutions.

bat dor said...

I come from a solidly middle-class background, while my girlfriend's family is, socioeconomically speaking, all over the map.

Last weekend, my girlfriend and I read about this guy. We spent a good six hours talking it over between ourselves and then with her roommate, a social worker. During the course of that conversation, I realized - to my chagrin - that I was unconsciously accepting the notion that in our society, anyone can attain the "American Dream".

I now realize how badly I erred. The American Dream conflates what is possible given luck and a level playing field with what is probable given the reality of our classist society. The American Dream is emphatically *not* possible for everyone to achieve.

Here's a question for the thread: How can people like me -- solidly middle class, conscious of poverty intellectually far more than personally, but trying my best to learn as much as I can -- how can people like me best work to help eliminate poverty?

maudite entendante said...

Well, there's Male/FTM Like Me already (Norah Vincent's Self-Made Man).

Regarding Icarus' original post - OMG YES.

I actually *liked* Nickel and Dimed, if only because it seemed like Ehrenreich did actually get it, and I've always been in favor of allies/ambassadors who can use the credibility that comes with their privilege to make a point on behalf of people with less privilege who wouldn't be taken seriously. I think Ehrenreich can do that kind of work for us.

But this little twerpmuffin? Not a chance in hell. I would love nothing more than to see him charges with welfare fraud for misrepresenting himself to get food stamps. Barring that, let's see him use some of the book proceeds to try and help out the shelter he used as a hotel for ten months. $70 a night, for 300-some nights, should *begin* to help make things right.

Aaagh. I don't even know where to start with the rest of my comments. My mom was one of the working homeless before she had me - hell, she owned a small business, and she *still* had to take her showers in the bathroom sink at McDonalds. When I was born, we were on AFDC and WIC, and at various times in my childhood, we were getting unemployment checks, too.

And yeah, hey, look at me, Harvard-educated, on my way to a Ph.D., living in a pretty little apartment with a show dog, a large musical instrument, and wall-to-wall books. That right there is a pretty big bootstrap.

But what you don't see is that I was raised by people who still thought of themselves as (at least) middle-class, just temporarily fallen from economic grace. I was *expected* to go to college. No matter how much the family needed money, I wasn't *allowed* to have a job in high school, except in summers when I worked in law firms. I had cultural capital up the wazoo - just ask anybody who heard me quoting Shakespeare at age eight.

But what I also inherited was a habit of living above my means. I learned to see money as something that comes and goes of its own accord, not something that can be made to stay around, so I learned to spend it when I have it. I learned that it doesn't matter so much whether you can pay all your bills on time, or at all, because nobody sees that; what matters is whether you look and sound like one of them. So books and clothes have always come before gas and rent - I passed perfectly, and I never had friends over. If I had a Cadillac, it may well have had rims - if rims were what it took to buy a measure of privilege by making it look like I had privilege already.

There is so much this little child doesn't understand - and refuses to understand - about what it actually means to be poor, and for that matter, to be rich. Heaven forbid he should ever actually need to find out.

(Also, who the hell says "vivacity of the American Dream"?? It's not like the American Dream is a pretty, bubbly blonde who's always the center of attention at parties. Morons.)

mk said...

Oooh, ME, Self-Made Man totally came to my mind too! That whole thing squicked me out.

Anonymous said...

I disagree that Ehrenreich "got it". First and foremost, poverty is not something you ever understand unless you are forced into it. You can be an ally, she did it the wrong way. A gay ally doesnt become one by having a one night stand with the same sex and doing a tell all, do they? After all, being an ally for poor people and an ally for gay people isnt about working at mcdonalds or having a same sex lover, its about the disadvantages they face because of their situations

And even if she did understand, Which i cant see. I hve several questions for her. why did she spend 30 dollars on khakis for work--how can someone GET it, if they go out and spend what I dont spend on 4 pants? Why did she take a weekend off to visit her husband and toke up some weed--which is really expensive all things considered--? Why did she dip into her savings? More importantly, why did she only spend a line or two in the book clarifying that? If you blinked, or spaced out for a paragraph, you wouldn't have noticed that she was cheating on her fake lifestyle.

The entire reading I felt like I was at some tea party and a woman was telling me about the fantastical time she went slumming. and the presumed audience (which was Never intended to be for the group she was involved with--she referenced many times how the friends she met there probably wouldn't be reading the book) was upper-middle class college graduates.

icarus said...

An update: I sent this post along to Adam and received this email back:

"Well, thanks for blogging and thanks for writing to me.

Unfortunately, many of you all have missed the storyline here entirely. This is not a fake rich dude pointing fingers saying, "Hey, I made it...why can't you?" This is just one story - hopefully an uplifting one - of millions that some can relate to and others can't.

In the end, some people are going to be skeptical, and others won't. Fair enough. I'd probably be skeptical myself if I read the article in Christian Science Monitor.

I would recommend that you read the book before you draw too much judgement, and then we can talk about it if you'd like. I've attached the PDF version of the book, since I don't think you would like to fuel my "attempt at exploiting the poor, making a buck off of the plight of others" to quote another blog.

I've received emails of praise and emails that are critical. Again, that's cool. In the end, if this story touches one life, I feel good about it.

Thanks for taking the time to write. - Adam"

He then sent a postscript:

"And yes, of course a portion of the proceeds go to Crisis Ministries, the homeless shelter where I stayed. The rest of the money goes toward keeping me fed and continuing to keep this message going, a message that I happen to feel passionately about. Last week I spoke at a high school and a homeless shelter here in Wake County (NC), gave them a box of books, and left there feeling even better about this project. Didn't make a dollar, but hopefully made a difference."

icarus said...

also, if you want a look at the book, shoot me an email. so far my favorite lines are: "I had never had any respect for the laziness of beggars," and "I was mesmerized by my
current situation, my entrance into a world saturated with dormancy,
druggies, and deadbeat dads."

mk said...

I would love to read the book. Although I kind of wish I had a paper copy, just because they tend to be more satisfying to hit one's head against.

mk said...

Also, I haven't read the PDF yet cause it's, like, long, and I may or not be at work--but he visited a homeless shelter and left them a box of books? How fucking insulting. What about clothes, or blankets, or toiletries? Jebus.

mk said...

(Last comment today, I swear--just wanted to clarify that I read his postscript to mean that he left a box of his books, not just books in general. That's the part I find insulting, not the practice of donating books.)

Anonymous said...

Back in 1978 I was 25 & sharing a 4 bedroom, 1 bath apartment w/ 3 other men. I had $1,000 in the bank. Not homeless, but not doing well either.

By 1981, I owned my own home (a multi-family).

I saved enough for a downpayment working at a job where college was not required (which was good since I'm a college dropout).

How'd I do it? I took a chance and did without health insurance. I didn't date, never ate out, never even ordered a pizza. I made all my own meals. Never went to a movie. Didn't have cable tv. It also helped that in those days there were no cell phones or PC computers.

Never bought a bottle of wine or beer or cigarettes or lottery tickets. Well, not quite. When I went to a party I'd bring wine or beer.

Yes, home prices were cheaper, but interest rates were much higher; 16%! There were long lines at gas stations. There was a lot of competition for jobs from other baby boomers like me. There weren't many hispanic illegals yet, but there were many illegal irish who spoke english and had good painting, carpentry plumbing skills.

Nothing that I did was anything except common sense. If you focus on a goal and ruthlessly cut out non-essentials, you can succeed. Even today.

I see nothing false about "Scratch Beginnings".

Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone is saying that Mr. Shephard's experience, or your own, is impossible. The problem becomes when one person generalizes his experience for others assuming that just because they're in "similar" circumstance, that they should be able to reach a similar conclusion about their lives. You can get a job in this country if you are white, male, and speaks perfect English. Mr. Shephard not only knowingly conducted an experiment at the expense of someone else who actually needed the provisions he himself took up, but he did so at a service to himself -- to answer his own question without taking into consideration that his exploration actually does have consequences for those who are less fortunate than he is. Congratulations to you for the self-discipline that you exemplify, but again, it is the overgeneralization of experience that results in self-righteousness, which actually doesn't cause the change people hope to see.

Anonymous said...

If i lived my life only for the future and never did any of the things that keep me happy from day to day, never spent money on anyone i loved, never married b/c of expenses what does it matter that in 2016 I can have a big fat empty multi-family home?

I have 60 bucks in my bank account (and thats awesome), i make shit an hour, and ive traveled the world, fallen in love, had some of the best food in the world. I wouldnt give up a day of that for a life of comfort. all your tomorrows are my todays. and may be that's peoples problem (but i thnk you have the problem here), but i find it to be beautiful.

ps this is completely not related to the rest of the argument. most poor people dont have any of the priviliges i have as a college graduate, and the freedom as a non-parent---my family included. I realize all the things i have done are because of my own advantages. etc etc

The Mirrorball Man said...

Also note that calling health insurance a "non-essential" is a bit of a problem.

And there is something wrong with this world when you have to give up everything "non-essential" to have anything regarding a decent life when you start from a place of humble beginnings. Everyone should be able to take part in the joys of life, be it a movie here and there, a partner, etc. I think we have to realize that when only 1% of people own more wealth than something like the bottom 25% of people, and that it has less to do with work ethic than with society, we have a problem.

Anonymous said...

"If i lived my life only for the future and never did any of the things that keep me happy from day to day, never spent money on anyone i loved, never married b/c of expenses what does it matter that in 2016 I can have a big fat empty multi-family home?"

I'm now married, have a child that's going to college (on my dime), still own that multi-family home which helps pay for the single family home where I now live. I've been enjoying myself since my early thirties. If you're young and don't have financial security, spend some of that youth to get secure. It's a lot tougher to get financial security in your middle years, but you've got the rest of your life to smell the roses.

"And there is something wrong with this world when you have to give up everything "non-essential" to have anything regarding a decent life when you start from a place of humble beginnings."

I can't believe you would say something like this. When you're starting out, you always work your ass off, take no vacation, save every penny or spend it on your own education. I've known immigrants who haven't taken a vacation in 20 years. Everything goes back into the business.

Since the beginning of time, it's been true that you have to take chances, sacrifice, discipline yourself to succeed. There have even been parables about it, like "the ant and the grasshopper".

Yes, you do have to take calculated risks and sometimes fail. Do you think anyone went west in the 19th century with anything but the bare essentials? Look at how many restaurants fail. Shall we abolish the possibility of failure by taking from those who succeed and giving it to those who don't?

"Also note that calling health insurance a "non-essential" is a bit of a problem."

I agree. It was less of a problem when I was 25. It's more of a problem now when I'm middle aged.

My point is, you've take stock of your resources and put them where they'll do the most good. At 25, I figured I wasn't going to need medical care as much as I needed to get out of the rental trap.

My first home was a 3 family in a neighborhood I didn't particularly like. It's in a higher crime area than where I live now. Last year, one of my tenants got mugged a block away. I bought that 3 family because I couldn't afford a 2 family or a single.

"You can get a job in this country if you are white, male, and speaks perfect English."

Now this just isn't true. I regulary eat at a Vietnamese restaurant. The food is good and it's cheap. It's family owned, and the owners don't have the money(or choose not to spend) to hire a baby sitter for the kids. The kids are always in the restaurant. They do small chores, but mostly they entertain each other and are watched over by a very old lady. These people have created a job for themselves and also provided jobs for others. I see a similar situation in the dry-cleaners I patronize.

Anonymous said...

As a caucasian woman, high school dropout, pregnant and first married at age 16, victim of child sexual abuse by a family member, I have experienced extreme poverty in my life (now age 60) and difficulties. I guess one could say that I "made" it because, eventually (after 5 marriages), I earned both a bachelor and a master degree (while also putting my children through college). HOWEVER, I would never hold myself up as an example of why anyone can "pull themselves up by their bootstraps." Everyone has different strengths, support systems (or not), and CHALLENGES. My experience (some might say, successes) cannot be assumed to be replicable simply because they worked for me. Poverty, homelessness, and the human experience are very complex issues requiring individual, relevant, and person-centered solutions. By giving of ourselves -- our time as a mentor, reaching out to the homeless, etc. -- we can be part of the solution. I have not read the book but intend to do so and feel that it should be validated as one young man's amazing, personal journey and will ADD it to the many, many genuine experiences and struggles of the homeless and disenfranchised. We must open our minds and hearts if we will ever are, as a nation/a society, going to address, in a comprehensive way, poverty, homelessness, mental illness, etc. I don't think Mr. Shepard is fake, at all! At least, the young author CARES about the issue and has contributed an important vantage point while many young people are more worried about how they look, what name-brand clothes/purses they don't have, what car they're going to drive (or wreck) text-messaging (materializm), ad infinitum, ad nauseum, than they are worried about what causes or helps homelessness!

Anonymous said...

"You can get a job in this country if you are white, male, and speaks perfect English."

Uh I think this statement is misinterpreted. I was saying that you can get a job as an English speaking white male in this country, not that you are ONLY able to get a job if you satisfy those qualifications.

Anonymous said...

The amount of vitriol people are displaying at Shephard is somewhat surprising.

As to the comment that this is a ripoff of Nickel and Dimed. Shephard clearly mentions his experience/book is a response to that text. He doesn't try to hide that fact.

And I love how many of you are championing Nickel and Dimed. The author was pompous and patronizing of the individuals she worked with.

The author of Nickel and Dimed wanted to fail and hence she failed. She moved often, ate out, refused to have roommates and essentially spent her money poorly.

Maybe she shouldn't spend so much money on weed next time.

Shephard lived frugally and worked hard. His experiment is far from perfect but at least he was honest in his attempt at creating a better life for himself, which he managed to achieve.

As to the criticism that being white and college educated gave him a huge leg up is laughable. Moving furniture or swinging a hammer does not require much.

Where I'm at, Mexican laborers who can't speak a word of English seem to be able to find work. It may not be the greatest but employers for blue collar jobs just want to get the job done.

This blog is just another example of how we want to ignore hard work and dedication instead of promoting the message that one can work hard and achieve success, we much make absurd criticisms and tear down any positive messages gleaned from his experiment.

Anonymous said...

Except for a brief period between 1945-1973, success in the USA has always meant hard work and thrift.

There was a time when being middle class meant having 1 car for the family, and the house had 1 bath.

Now, the middle class family has 2-3 cars and new homes are no longer built with 1 bath.

I remember my grandmother darning socks that had holes in them, growing vegetables & fruit, making homemade preserves & relishes, canning them herself in Ball jars and storing them in the basement. When was the last time you saw anyone do these things?

Anonymous said...

Most recent anonymous:

I'm sorry, is your argument that we should be reducing our standard of living and lessening the happiness of people because our grandparents did that in the past and it seems quaint?

I don't think it's wrong that we expect more out of our homes and our amenities today.

Em Zilch said...

"Except for a brief period between 1945-1973, success in the USA has always meant hard work and thrift."

I don't think that it *doesn't* mean that now either. Do you think my parents are shiftless, wasteful idiots? They're still the first members of their family to go to college, and it's taken four generations to get out of poverty into borderline lower middle class.

"I remember my grandmother darning socks that had holes in them, growing vegetables & fruit, making homemade preserves & relishes, canning them herself in Ball jars and storing them in the basement. When was the last time you saw anyone do these things?"

Um... like my PARENTS and SISTER, you mean? My parents' basement is full of jams and relishes. They have a garden - a productive garden, that feeds them every kind of vegetable except maize (there's a virus in the soil that affects maize).

And my roommates make, recycle and repair clothing on a constant basis - none of us can afford to go clothing shopping. My mother even made my bedding, for heaven's sake!

And our house - we built it. The framers stuck the frame together, and the rest was us back when I was 11. We hung the drywall and installed the tiles. We chopped our own wood and split it and used an efficient wood stove to heat the house.

Anonymous said...

To second most recent commenter.

I was not the person who suggested reducing standards of living but I do agree that some upper- and upper-middle=class people need to reduce their standards of living because the world isn't big enough to allow everyone to live like that.

Where I am a student, other students sometimes describe how they couldn't live on $40,000 or $60,000 a year because they would be "poor" and "need to eat." (They have no dependents.) There are people out there who feel that they have a right to a standard of living that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars a year and consumes mountains of resources.


Anonymous said...

"I'm sorry, is your argument that we should be reducing our standard of living and lessening the happiness of people because our grandparents did that in the past and it seems quaint?

I don't think it's wrong that we expect more out of our homes and our amenities today."

If you're in a rental situation for instance, and you want to save for a home, it's not going to happen unless your income increases or your expenses go down.

Anonymous said...

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the comments regarding this book and felt compelled to place my own comment on the table, so-to-speak...I was poor as a young girl. My father was an alcoholic, although I didn't know that then, and my mother was worn out and tired from working and keeping the household together. I wore clothes to bed to keep warm because my father didn't believe in paying the heating bill. I told myself I would never live like that when I became an adult. Well, guess what? Bad decisions lead me to a quick adulthood and I found myself divorced and four months pregnant with my 2nd child at the age of 20. I used whatever the social welfare system would give me and I hated it. I worked 2part-time jobs and paid friends on welfare with foodstamps to babysit my children. I walked them to the babysitter in a wagon then continued for another half mile to my part-time night-time job. I eventually bought a really bad car and, landed a full time day job at $4.00 an hour and took an adult education class at night. During this time I made several more bad choices (with partners) and found myself on social services rouster again. I worked and went to class and finally got what I thought was a great paying job. I begged a farmer with an empty tenant house to rent it to me and my children. I injured my back on that great job I had and ended up on Compensation. I chose not to have the recommended surgery and instead strengthened my back and wnet back to work cleaning hotel rooms at a seasonal resort. I did this for 6 years until I decided I was getting nowhere and left the area for better opportunities. I started at the beginning so many times I'm not sure where the middle is. Part-time jobs, night time, weekends, whatever I could do to get myself up out of the dirt again. To bring this to a close...I am no longer on welfare or Comp, I am remarried, own my home and have many necessities as well as some fun stuff too. Now it is my children's turn to PULL THEMSELVES UP BY THEIR BOOTSTRAPS!

Anonymous said...

To add to my above comments...Your choices can make or break you. Choosing to get married, have children, spend your money on lottery tickets, are all decisions let affect what happens to you. For every action there is a reaction.

Anonymous said...

I learned early on to find successful people and copy them.

Even if your parents aren't good role models, so what? If you want to be a ballplayer, and your father's not good at that sport, you find someone who is and see how he does it.

It's also useful to observe unsuccessful behavior as a lesson in what doesn't work.