Thursday, August 30, 2012

Poor white trash

I’m hungry Mama

It was cold, cold enough to snow, but I don’t remember there being any snow on the ground. We were standing in line outside a warehouse on the north side of Nampa Idaho. I remember thinking that we stood there forever…but that was the perspective of a four year old boy, could have been an hour, maybe more, maybe less.
I do vividly remember how the people driving past us would slow down and stare. There was one man in particular, he was driving an older pickup truck, late seventies model, who slowed way down and glared. It scared me, the anger and hatred on the man’s face as he looked at me and the other people in line. What had I done for him to be so angry at me?
“Mama I’m cold.”
“I’m cold too, be quiet” she snapped
As we got a bit closer “I’m hungry Mama.”
“We’ll eat when we get home.”
“How much longer Mama, I’m hungry?”
“If you don’t be quiet you won’t get anything to eat,” she snapped grabbing my arm, “be quiet!”
As we got closer to the building I could see a truck bay open and people were standing on the dock handing things out.
Finally we reached the dock and a man handed my mom a box, the next was a woman and she handed mom a block of butter and on down the line we went. By the end of the line we had a block of butter, a large block of cheese, a jar of honey, a can of peanut butter, some flour, rice, two loaves of white bread, and a large bag of powdered milk.
As an adult I still remember how good that cheese from that huge block tasted…we had no food. We were at the point that without help we would have been in jeopardy of starving. At that point we would have been considered poor white trash.
Having heard people who, having never been in the position where only the charity of others could keep you alive say shit like “they are just lazy” or “fucking freeloaders, we should let them starve”  “fucking welfare brats, they should never have been born if they couldn’t feed um themselves, they’ll only grow up to live off of welfare leaching off us hard working people…it’s a fucking shame”  “I work my ass off so they can live high off the hog” having heard things like that for years I can only imagine what that red necked ignorant fuck in the old truck told his friends. I don’t have to imagine it, I have already heard it, I still hear it from fox news, and from some conservative people I know.
That night I felt like I was living high off the hog; I was four, and for once I didn’t have my mom snap at me when I asked for more because I was hungry. For once in a long time I went to sleep with a full belly. Yes, drinking powdered milk and eating government cheese is living high off the hog when your starving

In school I worked in the cafeteria so that I could have food for lunch. The other students treated me like shit because they knew the reason I was washing dishes. My family was poor.
Society treated me as less then because I was born into a life in the lower socioeconomically then the vast majority of people.
Let me tell you this you red necked ignorant hillbilly fucksticks , and you conceited pieces of crap that talk about welfare queens as you try to cut social programs…I have paid off every fucking cent that the government invested in me times thirty, and by the time I die I will have paid it off a thousand fold. For every ten people that abuse the system there are a thousand that use it as a hand up to greater things.
While you ponder that do the math…if you can. I pay thousands a year in taxes…I work hard, I help people in need, I donate when I can…
I was a good fucking investment…so for the man in the old truck that looked at me like I was less than dirt, fuck you, I will contribute more to society than ten of your judgmental asses could… do that math

Chris McQueeney  AKA  Wander  8/29/12    10:34 P.M.


  1. dang you really let it rip there in the end man...there are def those that need it...i was on assistance before myself...and i have def paid back more than i ever took, its there for a purpose....ugh on how the kids treated you for it but i think it gave character doing what you had to do

    1. I learned to work yeah I did go off didn't I? I treat people who have less then I better than I was treated. The people handing out the food were nice, they had compassion in their eyes. I do remember that also. I just get angry when I think there might be some kid somewhere starving because some ignorant person thinks that they should punish the parent for their life decisions.

  2. I smile and am touched, reading this post - not because it was an unhappy time in your life (I'm not that much of a Barbarian! Ha!) - but because I remember...

    My father(s) lived and worked in the Ohio River Valley (which is north of Pittsburgh). The area was a string of steel mill towns. My father worked construction and my step father worked in the steel mill. In the late seventies/early eighties, many men lost their jobs. The mills shut down - and therefore, construction work was scarce. Times were bleak. I remember standing in line at the union building with my parents. The union was helping out families of laid-off construction workers by handing out items like what your family received that day. Powdered milk, cheese, flour, potatoes, bread, honey. It was a G-dsend for our large family. I also remember the 'looks/snickers/stares' when we went to school in hand-me-downs and non-name-brand clothing/shoes and carried home-packed lunches with rough homemade bread, a few dates and olives. My dad was questioned as to why he 'had all those kids' if he couldn't feed them. The thing was...he could feed them until there was no work to be found. That, to this day, pisses me off. My dad(s) were hard workers.

    My father, who was loathe to accept any form of charity, humbled himself to feed us kids. I'll never forget when his unemployment ran out and he asked for help with foodstamps until he could find work. He was denied. Why? He had a vehicle that was 'too new'. They told him to sell it. But would he get to work if called for a job - especially when most jobs he did get called for were out of state?

    I support social programs, I've seen them help many single moms get on their feet and help families through hard times. I've seen the good and bad side of them. My step father was able to get some grants (being a Vietnam Vet) and returned to college to become an engineer. Like you, both of my fathers have given back far more than they received. These men were good investments.

    1. Thank you Schultz that was my point...and you were a good investment as well...
      you bring lust to the world, what better way to live? ;-)

    2. Awww *Thanks*. It's a gift...what can I say? Bah hahaha.
      But - quick mention - I did learn something new today. My use of the word loathe above *blushes* is incorrect. It should have been loath. I never realized there were two separate spellings for the two meanings. Anyway, thought I'd share my 'grammar-schooling', which came in the form of a beta reader's feedback on my manuscript. How about that? :}

  3. I stand by every word you and Nadja say, Chris. Hard to believe how ignorant and cold some people are.

  4. Um, don't hold back ;). Yeah, sadly the more comfortable people become the more they can lose touch with what it really means to struggle. I was hungry as a child myself at times. I am tremendously compassionate and wish the message of what it means to really be without reached more receptive ears. Keep writing, your voice is beginning to travel. And people who look at children with disdain... What is that? Four years old and you still remember. Ugh.

  5. Is this actually autobiographical? Very interesting story!
    Yes, I don't think people who haven't gone through something like this should really make statements like they know. It's kind of crazy. Although, I'm not sure cussing them out is the most persuasive way of convincing. ;-)

  6. lol every word is true Heather...
    yes for someone who has never had to suffer that kind of adversity to have a cart blanch (not sure if that is the correct spelling) is just pig headed...
    there are times when a cuss word is the same as using an exclamation point...hits where it hurts...I have a huge I have any number of words I could use, but they probably wouldn't understand that I was calling them names, and I am far from passive aggressive :-)

    1. That's a great story! I mean, that is actually a tough story, but it's encouraging that you have come so far and have such good perspective.

  7. I was on WIC for awhile when I had two small kids with an annual income of $13,000 before taxes. I definitely understand this rant side and the feelings you have. I also have two neighbors in my apartment complex that have no job. I have offered to help them put their resumes together. I have given them job opportunities to apply for. But they don't. Somehow they make enough to live in the SAME PODUNK apartment complex that I work three jobs to manage. Not only that...they can afford weed, which they smoke on their porch while drinking beer they somehow manage to afford. I flip this coin in my mind every day. There are those truly in need...and there are those that I just want to pummel with my bare hands.