This is not exactly a “Frequently Asked Questions” page – it is a “Frequent Idiotic Questions” page for those who have decided that they have the solution to the problems of being a low-income family in our culture. I’m sure you’ll get the gist as you go along.
So, here are the most common questions asked about our situation:
- Q: Why don’t you just get a job?
A: Let’s be clear. We haven’t “decided we don’t want to” work. We cannot. We are medically prevented from doing so, and this is not just something made up. I suppose you go around to people in wheelchairs and say, “Why don’t you just walk?” You’re an idiot. Please leave.
- Q: Why can’t you just get better?
A: My illness is, so far, incurable. Some people do get better, but so far not me. That’s why they call it “CHRONIC”. Kind of like how you’re chronically stupid – there is no treatment and it is unlikely to go away on its own.
- Q: I bet you’re just faking it so you can stay home, you’re lazy.
A: REALLY? I’m glad you think that this is so luxurious. After all, you’ve fantasized about lazing around all day, doing nothing and you’d really like to. I used to work 60+ hours a week, and I wish I could do it again rather than have to live like this. So – guess who is actually lazy here – the person stuck with no choice or the person who wishes they could do nothing and is jealous (and stupid)?
- Q: I heard there is a cure, all you have to do is (buy some product/embrace Jesus/have all your fillings removed/other random bullshit).
A: I hear if you stuff 6 ounces of dog shit into your ears 3 times a day, it will cure your idiocy. But it has to be very SPECIAL dog shit that I am able to provide due to my magical dog’s special super-double-secret diet. It costs $500/lb. If you forward me a money order, I’ll send you some. Let me know how it turns out. Good luck with that!
- Q: You don’t have it that bad, I can’t afford Rock Band or any of that.
A: We were able to get our video games thanks to gifts from family members and friends. YOU don’t have the money because you start drinking every Friday and stop late on Sunday afternoon (unless it’s a long weekend). How much did you spend on beer/wine/other booze this month? Tim Hortons or Starbucks coffee? I can tell you how much we spent on those things last month. $0. You ARE the weakest link – goodbye!
- Q: I’ve seen you on Twitter. Sometimes you post from a BlackBerry. How can you afford that?
A: Brilliant deduction, Sherlock! My first temptation is to tell you to shove it. But, for some reason, I’m going to share. The BB cost me $50 – actually, it was $30 plus a trade-in a defective phone. You can’t live in our society without a telephone – we tried… it doesn’t work. So, just before we moved we signed up for cell service because we were moving further into the country where there are no payphones and few neighbours. After 3 weeks, my phone self-destructed, and I was given a replacement. The replacement had buttons that didn’t work. This all happened in the middle of our move, when we desperately needed to be able to be in contact with, well, everyone involved. It was the holiday shopping season and the company was very low on phones, and the BlackBerry was the only other thing available with a keyboard. So, I worked out the budget, bit the bullet and bought it, signing a 3-yr contract. My unlimited data plan, and all the daytime minutes I could ever need, costs about $25 more than a land line, plus I have 10 people I can make unlimited calls to – local or long distance, anywhere, any time. Basically, it’s a telephone, internet access and long distance in one package that costs about the same as we used to pay for a land line and calls to family. Short of the roof over our heads and a vehicle, it is the largest monthly expense we have. We don’t have a “regular phone”. We don’t have cable/satellite TV. I spend many hours a day in bed due to my illness. In bed, I can still be connected to the world through the web, email and twitter, read ebooks, and even watch YouTube videos. I spend over half of my life forced to rest in bed. I’d call being able to do more than just laying here being broccoli pretty fucking necessary.
- Q: Prove to me that you’re sick and not just some scammer.
A: Sure, I’ll disclose my medical records to you right away. I’m sure that wouldn’t be imprudent at all – as long as you show me yours. Oh, you don’t want me to know about your erectile dysfunction/family history of child abuse/prolapsed rectum due to frequent anal sex with random anonymous objects? My medical records are NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. If you think you need to invade my privacy to “confirm” our situation, you need to simply – and let me put this as clearly and succinctly as possible – FUCK OFF.
- Q: Why are you complaining? Things are bad all over.
A: Read carefully and select your answer:
- If your income is under the poverty line, well, I commend you for being able to remain positive 100% of the time. It’s good to see others making it in a similar situation to us. Please skip over part 2 of this answer.
- If you live on double or more than what we live on and still find it tough to get by, you don’t have it “tough”, and any difficulties you have are from your OWN actions and choices. Stop being a moron.
- Q: You have computers and internet access, you can’t be POOR!
A: Before I was sick, I built computers for a living. I have taken computers out of the garbage and rebuilt them, scavenged parts, and done everything I can to keep us online because THIS IS ALL WE CAN DO. We have a Mac Mini (bought used from a friend), a Laptop, and 3 working desktops (built piece by piece) RIGHT NOW. Total cash invested on parts, etc, over the last 4 years: about $900 – mostly in small increments. I’ve also repaired old computers for other people (for free, because it took me months). Computers are extremely important in this day and age, especially since we do not have money for books and other things – our info must come from the internet. $30-50 for internet access is a wise investment for a poor family, as it provides entertainment for the entire month. You spend that much on what – one movie night? One dinner out? 2 cases of beer? A tank of gas? Seriously – get over it.
- Q: Can’t you find some other way to make some money?
A: Uhh, HELLO? We’ve tried. Did YOU visit my photoblog and request info about buying any prints? Are you offering to pay to advertise here? Once again, physically limited – so I can’t reliably contract work to someone knowing I can’t complete the job in a timely way. I can’t run around selling myself as an artist or any of the other things I used to do. We don’t have a couple of thousand dollars to print up calendars of my photos or self-publish books on the chance that they MIGHT sell. Are you an investor? Have you looked at any photos I’ve done and thought, “Hey, we could market this and make loads of money” ? Oh wait, I forgot – you’ve got lots of ANSWERS but only to the wrong questions.
- Q: I’m sure you have savings and investments. I’m broke, but I have savings in the bank for a rainy day, doesn’t everyone?
A: You’re kidding, right? Yep, that’s me, Scrooge McDuck. Excuse me while I go and take a dip in my vault full of gold coins. *pause* Ahh, that was refreshing. OK, seriously – WTF? Financially, it has not stopped raining for us since 2002. You REALLY have no grasp of this whole poor thing, do you? Our net worth would be any equity in our house. Which we’ve had for 16 months. Yup, we’re loaded. I’m sure I can tap that equity and top up my RRSPs for the last 20 years. Now, how’d you get your head stuck up there again? The 911 operator is asking.
I’m sure there will be more to come…