Tuesday, February 1, 2011


When I was a kid we were poor. And I'm not talking "we buy all our clothes from K-Mart" poor. I'm talking "all my clothes are hand-me-downs from my 14 year old, pants-shitting, BOY cousin" poor. You know what I'm talking about, welfare poor. My point isn't to complain. Quite the opposite, in fact. Being poor teaches you things you wouldn't otherwise learn. Having been poor as a kid has served me well as an adult.

Improvisation is an important skill you learn when you are poor. Ran out of toilet paper? Use a towel! No money to go to the laundromat? Just wash out your cousin's hand-me-down's in the bathtub! Car doesn't have heat or reverse? Bring a blanket and your pushing shoes for "Flintstonin' it", as my mother would always say when we would put our feet out our doors and push the car out of a parking space.

My mad improv skills helped me out tonight when I got to my car after work and realized it was covered in a half-inch thick layer of ice. The problem, you see, is that I don't have an ice scraper. A brush, yes. Scraper, no. After 5 minutes of sitting in my freezing cold car with the defrosters on full blast, I realized it would be another hour before the ice sheet was melted without the aid of some sort of scraping apparatus. I began to scour my car for an improv ice-scraping treasure.

There wasn't much to choose from. The Wal-Mart bag full of painting supplies wasn't going to be much help... I briefly considered breaking open the painter's kit I bought and trying to use the edge of the paint pan to scrape ice off my windshield, but it seemed like an embarrassing and unwieldy solution. Nothing good was going to come of the drop cloth or paint brushes either.

Next I checked my center console and STRUCK GOLD. You know the plastic piece with the suction cup on it that holds your GPS to the windshield? Those edges looked pretty good for scrapin'! I know, I know. It seems like an unlikely solution in a "your mama's so poor" story, to use such new-fangled, fancy person technology. But that's the great thing about "used to be poor". You retain the skills, but you end up with significantly more blunt objects lying around, waiting to be misused.

I sometimes wonder how "rich" kids ever figure anything out for themselves in adulthood. And by "rich" I mean that their parents maybe had a car with reverse. Or a car at all, which was not the case for the majority of my childhood.


Mother Knows Best Reviews said...

I love your sense of humor, and ability to see the funny part of any situation. :)

Mother Knows Best Reviews said...

I just wanted to say - wow, Jon and I have had the same experience with "Lightening Crashes." We kept hearing it when pregnant with Maddie, but it means something so different now when I hear it. I also feel the same way about the word "angel."