“Anyway,” said Count Victor Justin, “while we’re on the topic of the black bottle of death that they give you in the charity hospital–you’ll find an awful lot of old fools who turn forty or fifty or sixty and immediately commence to snappin’ at the bottle of Soda Pop Moon in order to drink themselves to death, because it’s their one pleasure in life, or so they say, and they think and maybe even wish for their life to be over. So they slurp down the white lightnin’ like it’s going out of style. Let me tell you something, Yob: Corn likker will never go out of style–not so long as there’s a whole passel of yahoos born and growed up every year as likes to be befoozled morning noon and night. I’ll tell you who really likes the
A HILLBILLY CHRISTMAS
THE TWELVE DRUGS OF CHRISTMAS
SOMEBODY’S BEEN SLEEPING IN SANTA’S BED
SANTA THE LOUDMOUTH SHAMAN
A CHRISTMAS MADE IN HEAVEN (AND LIVED IN HELL)
DEAD DOG IN A SANTA SUIT
THE FAT MAN IS COMING TO TOWN
IF THAT’S SANTA KNOCKIN’ AT THE DOOR (THEN I AIN’T HOME)
SANTA’S MY NAME (DON’T WEAR IT OUT)
ROCK & ROLL, SANTA, AND FRANKENSTEIN (WILL NEVER DIE)
FROSTY THE WHITE MAN
“Any time you want me to kick your ass, come on over! My door is always open and my judo hands are always ready to grasp the lapels of your ill-fitting suit and use that leverage to hurl you bodily into walls or pieces of furniture!”
You may be poor if:
- You set the thermostat to 50°F in winter.
- You set the thermostat to 80°F in summer, or you use a fan.
- Your roof leaks, and you don’t think it’s weird.
- Your plumbing keeps backing up, and your landlord keeps refusing to send a professional to fix it.
- You have intractable vermin or infestations. Your landlord has been informed, and you’ve tried self-help methods.
- You use computers for 7–15 years. You get a new one only when the last one stops working.
- Your first impulse when something breaks is to fix it yourself.
- You clean and reuse disposable plates or food storage bins.
- You wear clothes from thrift shops without irony.
- Your furniture and dinnerware also comes, at least in part, from thrift shops.
- You go to libraries for your entertainment needs.
- Your car is 10+ years old.
- Your family has one phone line.
- You have one television set. This may double as a computer monitor.
- You don’t know how to work a smartphone.
- You’re not sure what a dumbphone is.
- Multiple family members sleep in the same room, and/or some people sleep in the family room. Doing this to save on heating or cooling costs counts.
- You qualify for food stamps.
- You have bills you can’t pay. These were acquired in pursuit of necessities.
- You don’t go to the doctor. You can’t afford it.
Not all of these need to apply, but they’re pretty good markers in America. The litmus test to me has always been whether you’re able to pay your bills while saving at least 5% of your income. If you can do that, you’re not poor.
If you can’t, then you need to see if there are ways you can cut costs by not buying things that aren’t essential. If you can accomplish paying your bills and saving a bit of money by sacrificing things you don’t need—like television service, for example—then you’re still not poor in my personal opinion.
A more numerically relevant assessment is that if you’re in the 50th percentile of household income or higher in your local area, then you have no claim whatsoever of poverty. The proportion of the population that can be called poor in any segment of the country varies, but 50th percentile is never anything to complain about in America.
EDIT: This answer isn’t meant to be a self-diagnosis tool. The thing that characterizes poverty is that it involves most, if not all of these factors and the poor person has no alternative.
THE FAR SIDE & DENNIS THE MENACE
AN OHIO NEWSPAPER SWITCHED THE CAPTIONS FROM “DENNIS THE MENACE” AND “THE FAR SIDE”—TWICE.
The Dayton Daily News committed an unforgettable funny page blunder in August, 1981. Back then, the paper would run “The Far Side” right next to the more traditional “Dennis the Menace.” On that fateful August day, their captions were switched. “The Far Side” strip now showed a young snake who kvetches at the family dinner table by saying “Lucky I learned to make peanut butter sandwiches or we woulda starved to death by now.” Elsewhere, Dennis Mitchell—who’s munching on a sandwich of his own—groans “Oh brother … Not hamsters again!”
“What’s most embarrassing about this is how immensely improved both cartoons turned out to be,” Larson opined in The Prehistory of The Far Side. Somebody at the Dayton Daily News
made the same mistake two years later. This time, readers were confronted with a psychic cavewoman asking “If I get as big as Dad, won’t my skin be too TIGHT?” Dennis Mitchell, meanwhile, casually looked his mother in the eye and said “I see your little, petrified skull … labeled and resting on a shelf somewhere.”