The Less Fortunate

"They say this country is so rich, but why are so many people living paycheck to paycheck, just one week from being in the street?"

These are the words of Brenda Kelly, a resident of Charleston, North Carolina. I have an answer for Brenda.

“Because a lot of them are idiots, just like you.”

Brenda’s life story was documented in Sunday’s edition of the Charleston newspaper. You can read the full article here. But, let me explain her situation.

- Brenda is 38 years old. She has SIX kids fathered by three different men. Her oldest child is 18. Do the math. She was just barely out of High School when she had her first.

- She currently works for $6.00/hr. at a discount clothing store. Oh, she used to earn $35,000 to $40,000/yr. when she worked as a gas station manager. But she quit that job when she got pregnant with her 5th child.

- She leaves for work at 2:30pm. Her children are at school the entire morning, so she has time during the day for a second job. But, despite this, she still works at one job for $6.00/hr.

- She must pay child support for her two oldest children. She lost custody of them when she took them out of Virginia illegally.

- She has not sought court-ordered child support from the father of her two youngest children.

- She maintains her 4-years residence in a crime-plagued, economically depressed area of Charleston where 98 percent of children live in poverty.

- She owns 4 dogs, two mixed-breed dogs and two bull mastiffs. Yes, she pays to feed and care for these dogs.

- She once worked 12- to 13-hour days at a local convenience store, where she earned more money than she does now. But, she quit after 18 months so she could spend more time with her kids.

- She used her rent money to buy Christmas presents.

- She once considered applying for a subsidized housing program. But, she doesn't want to fill out more paperwork.

This is the woman that wonders “Why are so many people living paycheck to paycheck, just one week from being in the street?"

It is because, in general, they make awful, awful life decisions. Take any one of Brenda’s life choices, for instance.

1. 6 kids? You know that you can’t afford to care for 6 children properly. Why do keep acting like a baby factory?

2. 3 different fathers? I can understand that you do a very pathetic job of choosing who to date. In and of itself, this is not a detrimental character flaw. But, to allow yourself to get knocked-up by these guys? That is a detrimental choice. That is a choice that you cannot put behind you.

3. Quitting a salary job where you made enough money to provide for yourself and your children because you got knocked up again? Refer back to number 1.

4. Leaving for work at 2:30 when you have all morning to work? Get a second job! Millions of people have done it. You can too. When you are earning enough money to provide for your children and pay your bills, you can cut back to only one job.

5. Taking your children out of the state illegally? I’m sure that there is more to that story. But, the fact remains that she made the choice to do that. She lost custody of the children. Now she has to pay for that decision.

6. Not going after your deadbeat ex-boyfriend for child support? The court has ruled in your favor! What’s the matter? Too much paperwork to fill out? Is it just too much effort?

7. Living in a poverty and crime-ridden area? Why not get a bus ticket and move? If there is an area that is economically suffering, you don’t stay in that area and hope that things turn around. You find an area that is thriving, and you get in on the action.

8. 4 dogs? Seriously, give them up for adoption. I know that it’s tough. I am a pet person too. I love animals. But, if you really loved your dogs, you would give them to someone who can better care for them. You simply can’t afford them.

9. Quit a better paying job to spend more time with her kids? First of all, I’m calling B.S. She quit because she didn’t want to work that hard. But, even if her excuse were true, it does you no good to spend more time with them if you can’t afford to take care of them!

10. Spending rent money on Christmas presents? It’s touching. Stupid…but touching. Honestly, even around the holidays, you must maintain a sense of reality. If you can’t afford the gifts, don’t buy them. Your gift to them could be a decent roof over their heads.

11. Not applying for housing help because it’s too much paperwork? This sums up the loser that you are. If the work is just too hard, quit. Or, don’t ever start. If filling out paperwork to provide for your family is too much to ask, you are a lost cause.

"I love my children and I wish our situation was better, but I don't see that happeningIt's a vicious cycle I can't seem to get out of. One thing after another keeps me held back."

You’re right. It is a vicious cycle. You have had multiple opportunities to break out of your situation. And, at every turn, you squander it. You make yet another poor life-altering decision. YOU are the only one that "keeps you held back.” It is your pitiful decision-making that has put you in this situation.

I’m a jerk. I know. But, here is the model of what most call “The Less Fortunate.” Examine. Make your own decision.


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