07 September, 2011


Poverty is not something that I personally enjoy, but it totally deserves a cupcake. I live in Tacoma, the little brother to Seattle's Big Sister.

I grew up in Seattle, and I love Seattle with the biggest bestest love I have, which is to say, a lot. But I enjoy Tacoma more. Even though it's only getting hand-me downs. That aren't even gender appropriate!

When I was a kid in Seattle, there was a lot of talk about the 'aroma of Tacoma', because of its vibrant and thriving and smelly paper mill industry. Or, depressingly, is all-too-possibly no longer vibrant and thriving. That industry is still not totally stink-free, but it has either cleaned up some of that mess, or I have gotten old and insensitive, because, really, it's not so bad anymore.

Tacoma has a bit of a chip on it's shoulder because of Seattle, which I totally get, being a baby sibling myself. Not that I want to imply that Seattle is more historically endowed than Tacoma, because frankly I don't actually know, or care. Sorry Tacoma, if you came first. Nobody cares.

What is true, as far as I know, is that way back at the time of the gold rush, Seattle and Tacoma were competing as vacation/career destinations, as a jumping off-point before you headed North to Alaska. Sorry if you caught that song virus there.

And I don't know who actually won that competition, but I'm guessing it was Seattle, because like winners everywhere, Seattle has a lot more money than Tacoma.

And since I am more comfortable as a loser and with the self-depreciating, I have all my friends. Many of whom are quite successful as well as being self depreciating! And most of whom still live in Seattle.

And I have Tacoma.

It may amuse you to know that at one point in my life I was seriously troubled by the question of ethical prosperity. I had no real business worrying about this problem at the time, because I had very little play money.

Play money, in case you don't actually know, is money that you don't quite know how to spend without thinking about it first. I decided to invest it in personal retirement accounts, and thank god for that or I would have been forced to get a real job years ago, and would not ever have been writing this blog, in this way, right now, which I am loving.

At any rate I am no longer bothered by the problem of ethical prosperity, because I have figured out thousands of things I will be doing if I should ever be troubled by the problem of play money ever again. And Universe? Are you hearing me? Because I am totally ready!

And Dad, I promise, I am also applying for actual jobs that I would take if I was offered them.

And I digress. Ahem. Poverty.

One of the great things about poverty, and in fact probably the only great thing, is that it shoves people who otherwise would not get to rub elbows all into the same boat together. We are all, as they say, in the same boat, but poor people actually understand this all the way through to their bones, and are constantly stopping to help people in ways that the not-so-poor wish they did more often.

And I totally understand both sides all the way through! Plenty of poor people wish they stopped to help more often too, trust me. This is not just one of the devils of prosperity.

But prosperous people have a worry that poor people do not have in quite the same amount. Which is the problem of being in a smaller boat, with fewer people, and more material goods to cherish. That boat is quite fragile, and almost everybody who has ever lost their job unexpectedly knows that for sure.

And nobody wants to rock that boat! Plenty of people do lean out to pull people from the poor boat into the rich boat, and plenty of stuff is tossed from the rich boat right smack dab into the poor boat. There is a lot of man's love for his fellow man going on through public and private channels in this country as well as in every other country.

But it is not easy, it is hard to trust, and we may be doing it wrong. More on that later.

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