Writing Workshop Wednesday: Signs You Might Be Poor, by Emma Sebastian

Photo by Bigstock.

Signs You Might Be Poor

‘Tailor-made’ does not refer to your suit

You have ever taken back empties to print a resume

You take back empties

$400 is a lot of money

$50 is a lot of money

You purchase a single roll of toilet paper because it is all you can afford

Beans and pig ankles is your husband’s signature dish

You are sick of beans and pig ankles

You fix hems with double sided tape or freeze clothing instead of taking it to a dry cleaner

You know what a ‘half-butt’ is

You know what a ‘butt-smoke’ is

You have ever stolen toilet paper from a public place

You have calculated the price to volume ratio of wine

Thrift stores make you happy

A street artist buys you coffee

You have ever considered ‘buttery noodles’ a meal

You do not care if your clothing is dirty or has holes

You catch yourself eyeing up someone else’s empties

You buy dollar produce

You have eaten something incorporating wieners or tuna fish in the last 48 hours

You have to ask your mom to buy you ketchup

Your mom buys you groceries (or toilet paper)

You’ve hand washed your work shirt

You have not been to a dentist in two years

You cannot afford Advil

You have waited more than one hour in line for something free

You can’t afford therapy

Andres medium dry becomes an option

You drink growers

Your husband’s anniversary gift is from the Salvation Army

You are wearing shoes purchased with a voucher from the Sally

You are wearing second-hand underpants

You avoid paying for transit because you cannot afford the privilege of being treated like cattle

A beggar rescinds his offer of a bus transfer because you need the quarters for the phone

You are willing to walk twenty minutes uphill to use the free internet at the library

You have touched blood, saliva, shit, or vomit for minimum wage

You ask to be on the guest list because you can’t pay cover (most important of all, you don’t give a fuck)

‘Usable scraps’ is in your repertoire

You search for a dime

The soap you like is a ‘luxury purchase’

The clerk at the liquor store covers when you are short

Your hands are ragged two weeks after working for $50

You have pawned something

You distrust the police but know some of them by name

You have to get your face punched in for someone to finally give you a bus ticket

Therefore, I propose the citizens of Earth who do not work for themselves or someone they respect collectively choose a day off to do something free. We can call it Do Nothing Day. Just to make a point. Be well.


Emma participates in Megaphone's community writing workshop.

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