Paul's Internet Landfill/ lj/ Living on the Dole

Living on the Dole

The next time I complain about being poor or unprivileged, somebody kick me. I have all kinds of opportunities and nice stuff, all thanks to charity:

- a free microwave - a free computer - a free computer desk - a free scanner - a free bookshelf - a free CD player - two free lawn chairs - too many free books - free socks - a free clothing bag - free food on a regular basis - free Internet access - a free (lifetime?) e-mail account - a free CD crate

Other things (like my clothes and my bike and my winter coat) are practically free -- I pay far less for them than others do to get similar items. I borrow other things, such as the CD I am listening to as I type this.

How do I score all this stuff? Connections. See, I gots me a you-nee- verse-itty degree, and I hangs out around the university, and I know rich folks, and I have e-mail, and I live in a wealthy neighbourhood. Sometimes I pick up stuff off the curb of my rich neighbourhood. Sometimes my friends and associates hand me down their stuff. Sometimes people make offers via e-mail lists. Sometimes I pick stuff up at the local computer recycling/bike recycling place.

I don't deserve this stuff. I don't work for it. It's given to me because I am in the right place at the right time, with the right access to opportunity.

If I didn't have an apartment, I couldn't take stuff home for when I needed it.

If I didn't have access to the university, I would have less access to e-mail, free food, and people who are willing to give me stuff.

If other people didn't put in time and energy into community development centres, I wouldn't have a bike or a computer I could afford. (There's a story behind that, actually.)

And yet I'll talk about karma, and I'll lecture you about bootstraps, and I'll look down at those struggling on welfare or with addictions with condescension. Me -- Mr. Wannabe Depressive who is too delicate (or too afraid) to work full time or even to do a good job when he works part time. Somebody's got a sense of entitlement, I'll tell you -- somebody's entitled to a punch in the face.

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