Grace posted something about a discussion she was having regarding whether or not people on food stamps “deserve” facials.
Regarding this topic, I guess I feel like you are in charge of your own money UNTIL you are getting money from me. That’s sort of the breaks. In the same way, “my house, my rules” works.
As someone who has used their food stamps at Zupans (like a Whole Foods, but more uppity), I feel I am eminently qualified to talk about this (Although how many subjects do I not feel eminently qualified to talk about?). From my times hanging in the food stamp office, I would say the majority of food stamps are spent on non-nutritive instant foods a la Nestle Quik. Cuz there are a lot of kids on food stamps. Though most of the people I chatted with there were indignant about how they were treated when they bought seemingly “luxury” items or foods that were bad for you. Fancy cheese was the most often mentioned. Should I be making decisions on what other adults eat? No. But when my parents bought my food as a kid, they got to make the call. In the same way, when the state provides your food, they get a say in how you spend your money. How would they regulate facials? I have no idea. But when I was on food stamps I did feel bad when I spent money on things that were frivolous. So did most everyone I ever talked to in the food stamp office.
And it is that experience which makes me state that no one is entitled to fancy cheese. Do I love fancy cheese? Yes. Would I want to live without it? No. But if you’re buying my groceries next week, would I buy it knowing you’re paying the tab? No. And that’s what it comes down to for me. If someone else is paying, you’re beholden to them. Do poor people deserve facials? No. But neither does anyone else. But when you have money to blow that you made yourself you get to pick.
And that longwindedly leads me to a point that I have been thinking about for a while. Alcatraz Regulation # 5:
Regulation 5: You are entitled to food, clothing, shelter, and medical attention. Anything else that you get is a privilege.”
It hangs in my house for several reasons. First, because Americans who are not in prison, who have done nothing wrong, don’t get all these things. That’s a good thing to remember.
And second, because I am kind of sick of whiners. Look, by being born, and by being born American, you already got a lot. A lot more than 99% of the world. By the fact that you’re reading this, you have computers, internet, & free time, you’re fucking rich. I don’t care if you think you’re broke, you’re not. You’re probably inside and clothed and fed. Feel lucky.
And I feel especially at the age I am and the current economic situation, all around me I hear people using the news as a crutch to do nothing. Now some people are unlucky, of course. Some people weren’t born as lucky as you or I, and I truly don’t begrudge them. But if you have a college degree and the time to whine to me about how broke you are, and it doesn’t revolve around a medical issue, you’re probably not working hard enough. I am really sick of people telling me how horrible their lot in life is, how broke they are, how they can’t get anywhere when they’re not attempting to do anything to change any of their lifestyle. Not trying to better themselves. Not being thankful.
So next time you feel you’ve been given a raw deal, that you’re entitled to something and not getting it, think about Regulation 5. I know I do. And then DO SOMETHING.