I See Rich People. They Talk to Me. . .

The mouse on my computer broke. So now I’m back to writing on my kindle. Which is a marvelous bit of technology, but it has all sorts of quirks which can easily double the time it takes for me to do a post. And the spacebar for the keyboard is gimpy. But since I don’t even have money to replace the mouse, I’ll just have to limp along the best I can.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately that when I finally break free of all these obstacles, I’ll astound everyone. It’s like I’ve been trying to play the game wearing weights. If I could just get free and have a fully functioning computer, a good internet connection and a few hours a day without children, well, you just won’t believe what I can do.

As I was contemplating the rather unpleasant task of writing on my kindle (something I did exclusively for at least six months), it occurred to me that this is why we hear so much more from rich people than anyone else. If you’re rich, you can grab a few hours which you would otherwise have spent playing Sugar Crush and write something thoughtful on your nice computer without any real delays or impediments. Or maybe you’re more of a take my Macbook to Starbucks to write sort of writer.

But when you’re not rich, you have to type out the word six because the six key doesn’t work any more. And putting in a hyperlink requires the sort of planning skills normally reserved for major military operations. It’s like driving one of those cars that you have to roll down the window to open the door. Everything’s just much more work when you don’t have access to resources.

And having crappy, unreliable technology is a first world problem. Imagine what it took for those women in Nigeria to get the world’s attention when their girls were taken! It’s really no mystery as to why people who are powerful and influential are usually white American men. It’s not that every white American man has resources. It’s just that nearly everyone who has resources is a white American man. Having resources removes so many obstacles that what is impossible for other people is possible for them. And that is a big part of our problem.

Having resources doesn’t necessarily make the path to sucess a clear and easy one. You still have to work harder and be smarter and overcome more than everyone else in order to acheive great things. I mean, Paris Hilton’s family says she works very hard and I believe them. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if she puts in sixty hour work weeks. The thing is that my husband has put in sixty hour work weeks pretty routinely for nearly 20 years. And we can’t even afford to buy a mouse.

(The first person to ask why I don’t get a job wins the chance to find me a job with hours that work for our family, arrange the care of our kids by someone who is able to provide high caliber, on demand tutoring, counseling, and training in the ways of the world customized to each child’s needs, obtain transportation, clothing, housekeeping, cooking and taxi services to make that all happen. Good luck. Let me know when you get that all worked out.)

Aside from being bullshit, the connection between who has the existing resources and who gets seen and heard and rewarded is more sinister than we realize. You know the proverbial “they” we always hear about? The ones who tell us what other people think of us and what’s normal and what’s a problem and what’s expected of us and what failure looks like? Sometimes people will joke and say, “who is this ‘they’ you keep talking about?” Well, the answer to that is simple. Continue reading

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Happiness and Starving People

People starve to death. It’s a thought which haunts me, although I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that it’s not for the reasons you might think. It’s a reality that haunts me every time someone tells me that things have to turn around soon. Or when I want to comfort myself with the idea that eventually spring comes, the sun returns and nothing lasts forever. “Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes in the morning.” People starve to death. Tell a man or woman who watched their child starve to death that spring comes again each year. And that’s what haunts me – if people starve to death, then there’s no reason to think my in-comparison small problems will ever right themselves.

Yesterday my husband told me about a story he had read about a horrific attack on a little boy in Bangladesh. The boy was terribly maimed and the family had to go into hiding at a military installation due to ongoing threats from the local gang leaders responsible for the attack. My husband said one of the most striking things about the story for him came from the boy’s devastated father. Bangladesh is a poor country and the family lived in a one room tin shack in a slum. And the father told reporters that his family had been happy. They had been happy together and in their little community even though they sometimes didn’t know where their next meal was coming from. Today, money is pouring in from around the world to help the child and his family – there next many meals are guaranteed. But the father told reporters that his family had taken everything from them. And my husband said, “I read that and thought, I want to be like that guy. I want to be able to live in the middle of squalor and with nothing and be happy.” Is that a trade you would make – to live in squalor and extreme insecurity in exchange for happiness? Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Continue reading