Poor White Kids & Bored American Nobility- They all just wanna die a little bit.

Posted: September 23, 2011 in "Those People", Personal

Odd title, yeah?  Well, I reckon it’s gonna be an odd post so it seems fitting.   In any event, let’s get on with it.

So yeah, I grew up a poor white kid.  I’ll prolly lay on some more detail with that in a later post, but I’ll go ahead and get some basics outta they way here first.  I spent the early part of my life- first 15 years or so- in Colorado.  We lived near the very edge of the Denver City line, not in the downtown area, but not Suburbia either, kinda out there off  I-70.  Like a block from the highway.  Not much out there at the time really…some houses, a couple factories, things of that nature.  We did have trees though, old ones even!  Anyway, we lived the four of us in tiny ranch style house, 2 bedrooms, one bath, living area, kitchen.  That was pretty much it…and bars over the windows.  No AC, which believe it or not, it does get hot in Colorado, and heat that worked sometimes.  Electricity paid sometimes.  No fire place.  I know the unfathomable joy of government cheese.  Clothes that did not fit right cause they had belonged to my older brother- whom I shared a room with- first.  My uncles often had them before him.   Sharing a room was never one of those things I thought of as kinda odd until later.  Privacy is one of those things folk who do not have much in the way of money do without, and get used to.  Oh, and plastic bags rubber-banded over your tennis shoes in winter, because actual boots are not things you had.  We went to the doctor for yearly school mandated check-ups that the school charity programs helped foot the bill for otherwise something had to be obviously broken, you were bleeding profusely, or you were spikin’ one hell of a fever.  I broke 8 fingers that were never set and remain crooked to this day, and I was 17 the first time I ever saw a dentist.  Medical Emergency meant just that.   So yeah, there are some basics.  Thing was, in my neighborhood, all the kids were like that, and we all knew the same drill.  You carried around extra rubber bands in case your friends broke mid snowball fight, and you expected if you were over at a neighbors house, you might be leaving your coat on because it was likely they might not have heat either.  It’s just how it was…and we all knew it.   We all, in my neighborhood, knew that Mr. Kowalski, who lived across the street from me, had an ex-wife who never came around, a new wife who was about the same age as his oldest daughter and did not ever seem to come outside, and when she did, she had sunglasses on even when there was no sun.  His dogs were mean, and when he was really lit, he’d fire guns in the air.  We all knew that the lot down by the highway overpass was a good place to toss around a football, but you were gonna risk broken glass and other kinds of trash and debris to play there.  Hell, most of our first exposure to condoms was kicking used ones out of our lot.  And as it was, all of us, the kids in that neighborhood, we accepted that’s all there was and for a time, none of us knew any better…and we were, looking back on it, probably pretty content.  We had fun.  We did things like normal kids do; built forts, played games, explored drainage ditches we were told to stay out of,  set off M-80 fireworks and managed to keep all our fingers, talked about the Local Sports Teams, had snowball fights, even had birthday parties where presents like coloring books and matchbox cars and things of that nature were a big fuckin’ deal.   Most of us knew what it was like to have one or more unemployed or seemingly always looking for work parents, and at least one relative who was doing time for something.  And yep, sure enough, all the kids in my neighborhood were white kids.  We also fought, the girls and the boys alike.  Someone disrespected someone else’s parents or family?  Yep, fists would fly.  Someone picked on someone else’s siblings?  There was a kick coming for them.  Someone chanted or jeered at you?  You answered that with a punch.  It didn’t happen often, but it happened enough that unwritten rules of conduct were written amid us, rules we’d prolly picked up from parents who would do the same, and that was the way of our world…and not a single one of us figured anyone else’s world was much different.  Until we went to school that is.  Then we all learned the world, that big bag huge wide place past the highway and our neighborhood, was a vastly different and not everyone lived like we did or by the same unwritten rules.  When the school day ended and we came home, it was game on, life as usual, but there was not a single one of us who returned home with the impression that our world was the whole of the world, and we all learned quickly that kids like us, with families like ours?  Well, we weren’t looked too highly upon, not at all, and any expectations of us?  Well, they were pretty bad.

And I will admit, without much shame and without much pride, I lived up to those bad expectations.  My brother?  In those days he was without a doubt the tough one, but in a non-traditional sense.  People made fun of him for certain, but rather than fall to the bait, he made good grades, developed an amazing wit and sense of humor, and managed to be everyone’s friend.  And for a guy who, at the time, was the short, fat kid with a bad limp from a dog attack and hand me downs and rubber bands around his tennis shoes, this was no small feat.  Me?  I kinda went the other way.  I got in fights, I flunked classes, I got suspended, I did not make friends.  I got told I would be dead, a junkie, or in prison by the time I was seventeen.  And once told that, by a teacher no less…I sorta did my damnedest to live up to such low expectations.  Hell, the other girls got told they would get knocked up and be married to a dude who kicked the snot out of ’em by seventeen.  I did not rate that prediction.  I rated true low life, and well, if enough people tell you something, you start to believe.  I was out and away from the strange but comfortable coccon of my neighborhood, and well, white kids in Denver at the time, especially white girls?  We don’t rate gangs, unless they are Neo-Nazi ones (which, uh, no).  I saw how other people lived, what they had, and learned really, really early on what they thought of people like me, how they treated us, and what expectations they had of us, so I decided long about second grade, if folk were gonna think the worst of me…I might as well give them reason.  And I sort of did.  Thing that was funny was, well, I did not suck at sports.  I may have gotten in fights every other day (I did make the mistake of popping a girl who made fun of my clothes straight in the mouth, never knowing she was the daughter of my schools Vice Principal), and I may have barely managed a D in any subject other than Gym or Art…but yeah, I did good at sports- which cut me a lot of slack, even as a white female, and I admit that.  But that sorta thing?  That’s a double edged sword.  A whole lotta people have asked me over the years how I could stand using my body, like in the sex industry sense, to make a living.  My answer?  Hell, I been using it since I was 8 in one form or another to get by- from school sports to sucker punches to stripping…it’s been my way.    But unlike my tougher in a non-traditional sense older brother, whom I kicked asses for and he made me laugh when I thought I had forgotten how to…that realization, that me, my family, my life, my neighborhood, was vastly different from the rest of the world and the way people viewed us was bad?  That had a very, very profound effect on me.  He rolled with it and shrugged.  Me?  I got mad.  Very, very mad.

So, as fate would have it, and for reasons I ain’t gettin’ into here, me and my family?  We ended up moving to FL.  Much bigger house, first one my folks ever owned, bought real cheap because the previous owners?  Double murder suicide.  The room that would be mine was the one where the suicide happened….dude offed his wife and sister in law in the guest bedroom then did himself in by the closet of my room.  And we got to clean that shit up.  That sorta…does something to you, I think.  But for me, FL was a new start; new not quite so trashy neighborhood, nicer (once it was “fixed up”, in countless ways) house, more multi-cultural, all that…and I was pissed off and mad about it.  I actually, since it was a new start, and people did not know how it had been, started to work in school. Got better grades.  Made friends.  Fought less.  Made it to seventeen without being dead, a junkie, or in prison.  Or even knocked up and married to a wife beater.  But I still had a lot of hate, a hate on for people who disdained people who came up like me, just because.  I still didn’t have money, a car,  the right clothes, (a dentist), and all that shit other people had.  Add that to plain old teenage angst and bullshit? Uhh, yeah….So sure enough, I did some crazy shit…went places I shouldn’t have, hung out with people I shouldn’t have, did shit I shouldn’t have….because as truth had it, I did not give a shit about anything other than proving “those people” wrong, or right depending on my often fluxing teenaged moods .  I had a 4.0 by age 16, I also felt no compunction about breaking already crooked fingers on someones face for calling me various names, white trash among them.  And then I noticed something….

The rich kids? The really rich kids in my school?  They were JUST as fucked up as us poor kids were.  They had more shit, and could afford better drugs, and could do crazier things like jet to the islands for spring break, but they were JUST as off, for different reasons, as myself and other kids like me were.  The girls weren’t as overtly violent or hostile, but they still wanted to die, a little bit.  They’d  get drunk and drugged up and do anyone who looked at ’em like they were pretty.  They’d puke to stay skinny.  They’d cut themselves up so daddy would pay attention.  They’d fuck bad boys so Mommy would notice them and tell ’em they deserved better.  They’d crash their sweet 16 BMW’s because they had no appreciation for work.  They’d pick fights with girls like me, and they’d pick fights with boys like me and expect whoever had fucked them last would step in to save them.  Which, I will say, having been in a row or twelve in my time with males, I never once believed, and still don’t today, that if you raise your fist in anger to a male that he won’t hit you back.  Me and mine, we felt like we had to fight and fuck up because, well, we had to or were destined too…I never got why they felt that had to.  I mean, after all, every time they did, the expensive lawyer or expensive rehab place or whatever would sweep in and save ’em.  Johnny with Cash got a DUI at 19?  It never fucked up his chance for college.  Danny with the Cash date raped a girl at 16? Same story.   Seventeen year old Debbie with the High Income Parents? She could be shooting smack between her toes and hit the nice facility and she was “at an elite modeling camp”,  Tara , at 18, with the trust fund who got knocked up?  She had received early admission to college!  The rules were different…but these rich kids had a hate on too.  They hated being…bored.  They hated being….saved.  Shit they had been able to count on, shit I would have loved to have, they hated.  And shit that I had…the friends in low places and crooked fingers, teeth and grit?  They wanted.  But most of all, a lot of em?  They seemed to envy my drive, drive that I had because I had it, and not because my parents TOLD me I’d have it.  And I envied them cause when they went home, they knew there would be food on the table and the power would be on and if they got sick, they would be able to go to a doctor.  And well, when they felt like slumming, I was good enough, but otherwise?  Well, I never once got invited to the big nice house or birthday party of a fellow girl jock I told was pretty and she did not need to puke to be that way and her boyfriend was an ass for hitting her and I’d arrange (and did) to have his ass kicked.  Chips are  down?  You went to kids like me.  Life was good, we did not exist.  Hell, I got the distinct honor of being the girl guys dated not because I would put out, but because *I* would piss off their parents….

But sure enough, that odd drive of mine sent me to college.  I was, in my family, the Great White (trash) Hope.  Finished High School with the 4.0, the scholarship, the whole fuckin’ shit, right down to the bad teeth and crooked fingers.  First one of my Entire Family to Make it to the Four Year Show, with honors.  And that is where I really saw it…rich kids with everything who wanted oblivion, and they all managed to find kids like me who had kissed oblivion and had its phone number.   Drugs, Booze, Sex, Low life folk, they wanted it all….they wanted the dirt.  And a lot of them, they didn’t care if it killed them. They’d fight, they’d get alcohol poisoning,  they’d O.D. and fuck anyone and they always knew Someone Would Save Them.  But I honestly think, half the time they didn’t want anyone to.   They’d think it was cool that I HAD to work two jobs they’d NEVER do, stripping and painting the outside of houses, and sometimes a third, takin’ tickets at the local movie theater, just to put a dent in my bills.  It was…edgy.  The fact I took speed to get shit done 22 hours a day and they took it for fun and I knew where to get it….that showed me a whole lot…

Kids like me?  We wanted to die a little bit because hey, it would make shit easier.  Less financial strain on our families, less pain, less being used and mocked and treated like circus freaks and oh so convenient.  Odd enough, most of us are too mean, hard, broken and yep, determined to die.  Bored American Nobility?  Hell, they wanted to die because they were….bored.  And their rat race is way worse and its one not any of ’em, male or female, can ever win.  I may envy them to this day for some shit…but I also kinda pity ’em for that.  And odd enough?  Poor kids can’t ever trust anyone cause they never know who is real and merely likes them for them.  Rich kids?  Same thing.  And that is enough to make anyone want to die a little bit.

But if you bet  for one fuckin’ second I have ever forgotten who I am, what I have seen, what I have lived, what I know, and who I am?  You better be ready to pass over a pair of snake skin boots.  After all, I lived, even if I did wanna die, just a little bit.   But you know, I swore to myself, after my second grade teacher told me I’d be a junkie, dead, or in prison, that after I got that goddamn degree I was gonna go back to Denver, find her, and put her in the ER after I showed her the piece of paper.  I didn’t.  And not just because I fear prison, but because I am a better person than that.  She might have even deserved it…but maybe she too, just wanted to die a little bit.

  1. kingschwarz says:

    Well, you have told your story – or rather a piece of it – and told it very well. You had it much tougher than some of us, including me, but easier than others, such as my father, who grew up on the Lower East Side and in the South Bronx. Having read your story, I have to say that you are no hick, nor hillbilly nor redneck, and you certainly are not white trash. I understand that you have been treated as such, that you share a similar background, and you have empathy and affection for those who have been so labeled. Nonetheless by dint of your drive, your intellectual skills, your wider social vision, your sense of fairness and tolerance and something I suspect you take pains to hide – your kindness – you are actual American nobility. Nobility here is not conferred by money or power but by manifest personal qualities. Even in conventional terms, the American upper classes are not noble per the old European sense of landowning aristocracy with ancestral roots in a feudal warrior elite. Our very oldest and most distinguished families are descended at best from shopkeepers and peasants and at worst from thieves and thugs. You deserve for the second half of your life to be easier and more comfortable – especially freer from pain and medical issues – than the first. With appreciation…E

    • Ren says:

      What, are you saying hicks, so on, cannot be..Noble? After all, the BEST warrior poets had it rough.

      I take pride in my roots, humble yet amazing as they are. Don’t insult me by saying otherwise.

      And yep, people had it worse that me, no doubt, especially on a global scale. But King, name ONE person, American, that YOU KNOW, personally, who went with 8 unset broken fingers and NO dental care til age 17….Oh, who was born after 1960…..

      I don’t mind the words attached to me and people like me. I find them…kinda noble.

      I wonder if you would ever even get why. Rootie, Vlad and Xena might, you? Not so sure about.

      (BTW, mr culture… 🙂 and i do say that grinning…the term redneck orginates from the sunburns earned by working class folk who worked in the hot sun and their necks got burned….if you don’t think painting the exteriors of houses, in Fl, In summer, don’t give ya one of those, I dunno what to tell ya….)

      • rootietoot says:

        ” YOU KNOW, personally, who went with 8 unset broken fingers and NO dental care til age 17….Oh, who was born after 1960″

        Terry. Your story and his are very similar, except for the moving to a bigger house when he was 17. That didn’t happen until 1990. Ask me privately sometime, I’ll tell you about it.

      • kingschwarz says:

        No, I did not say hicks cannot be noble. I said that having read your story, I do not think you are a hick, a hillbilly, a red neck or white trash – noble or otherwise. I certainly cast no aspersions on your roots. You have a remarkable facility for turning a sincere compliment into an insult. Please understand that people who have different backgrounds – even people whom you call “mr. culture” (but dammit, I go to the opera only occasionally!) – really appreciate and in no way look down upon you.

        So why do I deny that you are a hick? “Hick” denotes a country person. You were raised in the Denver exurbs and currently live in the Northern Virginia suburbs, as I understand it, with some time between in Florida. I do not think these any of these loci are truly rural. “Hillbilly” is regionally specific and refers to the Appalachians and Ozarks. Again, not you. “White trash” is the most pejorative of these terms and carries connotations of welfare dependency, child abuse, alcoholism, willful ignorance and lack of education etc. (Some of this behavior is undoubtedly caused less by moral failings than by undiagnosed medical or mental-health issues. Affluent people with identical issues receive treatment and sympathy and write books about their life journeys.) I suppose that you could have become white trash, and so could I or any other white person, but our better qualities prevailed or our luck held.

        Now for “redneck.” I am aware of the origins of the term. After all, I live part-time in Mississippi. And I would bet that I have spent more time on farms than you. The term can cut both ways. Sometimes it is opprobrious and connote racism, ignorance etc., but often it is used as a proud and/or humorous identifier by Southerners of various backgrounds. Here is a personal redneck story:

        This summer I was visiting in-laws at Ono Island, Alabama. (Which is on the Redneck Riviera just minutes away from that redneck place of pilgrimage the Flora-Bama.) When stopped at the island causeway, I was approached by a security guard who looked like the ugly stereotype of a Southern lawman – jowly, unshaven, beetle-browed, belly overhanging his belt etc. He saw my “Shalom Y’all” tee shirt (which is sold in a little shop a few doors from my house in New Orleans) and asked “Are you one of them Redneck Jews?” Since his tone seemed friendly and I did not think this the time and place to explain that actually I am an Episcopalian with a Jewish grandparent, I just laughed and replied that I guess I must be. Then he leaned in and said “Well, Shabbat Shalom.” Right on cue, since this was Friday evening. Which goes to show…something!

        I should just extend a cordial invitation for you to join me in redneckdom. I admit that I was uncharitably challenging your Southern cred. (Colorado – not the South. Northern Virginia – tantamount to New England in the eyes of people from the southern part of the state. Florida – well, it depends on exactly where. Paradoxically, northern Florida is the South, but southern Florida is not. Central Florida can go either way.) But if a security guard in Alabama can be so gentlemanly and cultured – apposite use of Hebrew for God’s sake! – I should be able to manage a little generosity. Perhaps one day you can join me for a drink at the Redneck Yacht Club http://www.redneckyachtclubfl.com/

        • Ren says:

          Dude…if you do not think there are rednecks in CO WY NM NV NE so on…..not sure what the heck to tell you. Oh…and not south fl …and 4 years in NC too thnx. And yes I have spent time on a farm…..but it was in WY so maybe it don’t count….

          • kingschwarz says:

            I think there are people in CO, WY, NM, NV and NE who may identify with rednecks and adopt redneck styles and even call themselves rednecks, but I believe redneckdom is a Southern club. Call me a regional chauvinist if you like, but there it is. You are in the club because you spent time in NC and the apropos parts of FL, and even if you hadn’t, because you stick up for us, and we like tough little ladies. Oh, and one other thing: I’ll never refer to you as a little lady again if you promise not to call me “dude.” I am ancient and portly and about as far from dudeness as the goddamn Archbishop of Canterbury. With affection and respect…

            • dead_vladimir says:

              Heck -I hate to break it to you their are rednecks in PA and NY and heck anywhere there is a large rural area; especially if it was at one time farming/pastoral regions. I’d give you the point though that not all white trash are rednecks..I am obviously white trash but defintely not a redneck by birth.

              • kingschwarz says:

                Hmm, white trash who advocate for critical thinking and include words like “dialectic” in their fan of reference. You are on pretty thin ice with me, vlad, but I guess I’ll let it go.

                As for rednecks in PA, well…only in a very specialized historical circumstance. The United Mine Workers imported the term “redneck” from the coalfields farther south and used it as part of their organizing strategy in Western PA. New Yorkers are Yankees and cannot be rednecks, not even if they grew up in the fields upstate and paint the backs of their heads crimson every morning.

                The redneck is a Southern phenomenon, with deep roots particularly in Mississippi and other Southern states such as North Carolina – site of the first recorded usage – so in my view you may be a hick, a rube, a hayseed, a hillbilly, a yahoo, a shitkicker or white trash (properly pronounced “wott traysh”) but if you ain’t from Dixie you ain’t a redneck.

                Sorry to sound so exclusive, but after all we lost a civil war and endured an ensuing century of underdevelopment, so we really need the shred of dignity conferred by a unique cultural identity.

                • dead_vladimir says:

                  What’s the difference between southern white trash and long island white trash? Instead of a pick up that never an up on blocks in the yard, it’s a rotting boat up on blocks that’s never touched the water…

                  and while I may have escaped my roots somewhat; I am poor white trash or being Irish, some WASPs wouldn’t even consider me white.

                  Government welfare, unable to keep heat on all the time, hand me downs for several generations, the out of work parents, tons of animals running loose, the falling apart rental house without reliable plumbing, the oh so special joy of government cheese, heck the joy of splitting a bag of ramen multiple ways for a meal, the special treat of government medical coverage … and many more things, that I unlike Ren am not social enough to share

                  I may speak well and be cleaned up now, many years removed, and while i never thought of myself as trash, growing up a significant portion of my peers and their parents and just society in general labelled us as such.
                  In fact i expect if I could dig up a picture of the old farm house i grew up in, it would look more in place down south then in the suburbs of New York. To be honest I was on the right side of the tracks , but only about 500 feet, and when the LIRR wasn’t whizzing by, we could hear the hookers trolling for Johns.

                  And I won’t deny an angry alienated youth, where I was not just poor and bitter, but felt the condescension for just being considered inferior stock.
                  Perhaps like Ren it motivated me to try to be something more eventually; but there is no denying my roots.
                  I’ve been labelled it, and so I own it to this day. But the thing is, the thing I know, most people who get called trash, aren’t half as trashy as the ones behind close doors. You loose things like privacy in poverty, but thinking back to my mother’s brothers, my uncles always chipped in with labor and etc, because when you are poor and the world is against you, you don’t have anyone else, and when you are poor you feel more keenly the pull when someone else is down and out, because you’ve been down and out.

                  And like many people from that background, now that i can I don’t dress it or act my roots, no i hide it and pretend along with everyone else.
                  Truth is though, it is always with you.

                  • kingschwarz says:

                    Okay, vlad, I’m with you re. white trash, on the basis of this line alone: “Instead of a pick up that never [r]an up on blocks in the yard, it’s a rotting boat up on blocks that’s never touched the water.” So true! I spent some time this summer in Maine, which in many ways is West Virginia with water views, and saw countless boat sitting in yards amidst old washing machines and broken lobster pots.

                • Ren says:

                  Point is, you are not sounding exclusive- you are sounding like a pretentious know it all asshole who cannot afford to be disagreed with or wrong…there is a difference. I mean, take Where I live in Va, for instance. Yep. Northern Part of the State, yet I sneeze hard enough and I could land on a Historical Civil War Battle Field (an area widely known as Manassas and all). Re: Colorado, if you do not think there are heavy influences in that state (and many others) from places like Texas, you’d be mistaken. Southerners have the distinctive culture of being…Southern, but there are Red Necks everywhere, from Alabama to Alberta Canada. You ain’t gotta like it- but its WIDELY considered to be true. It’s like arguing that the term “cracker”- historically and all- can ONLY apply to people from South Ga or North Fl…and frankly, there are a whole lotta folk who would say that term applies to a shit ton more folk than those in South Ga and North Fl.

                  I was also under the impression you resided in New Orleans and were involved in the business of multiculutral religious understanding and development….well, there are folk who would say New Orleans isn’t exactly Southern like much of the rest of the South and your-extensive- education, wordy nature, job, travel, cultural and business experience would eliminate Your Say on any of the matters at hand- period.

                  Now sure enough, I am one of those folk who thinks EVERYONE is entitled to their own opinion and might have a different take on things- you included. But if you are gonna come into my own house- extend the same fuckin’ courtesy or back the hell off, because no matter how much you talk and shout “not so!” it don’t mean you are gonna change anyones mind, or even be right…and being so imperious about it doesn’t make you look anymore right either, it just sorta makes you look like an arrogant douchebag.

                  • kingschwarz says:

                    Hmmm, let’s see. I talk about your “your drive, your intellectual skills, your wider social vision, your sense of fairness and tolerance” and say you are “actual American nobility.” When I differ from you on a point – e.g. whether rednecks must be Southern – I make clear that I do so “with affection and respect.” In return, you call me “a pretentious know it all asshole” and “an arrogant douchebag.” So I think I shall take you up on your invitation to back out of your “house.” There are plenty of other houses where I am welcome and the hospitality is better. I do have one parting thought: if you hope to have real influence, you will have to learn that friends and allies should be appreciated and well treated, even when you disagree with them. Best of luck.

                  • dead_vladimir says:

                    heh -can’t reply to his comment for some reason..

                    so I will say it here

                    best intentions not withstanding
                    benign condescension is still condescension

                    if you don’t see how adding quips like you had it rough but not as rough as my father
                    or you are no redneck but i will offer an invitation to the club; or feeling as if people need your validation not to consider themselves trash etc
                    and such come off badly and reflect poorly on you Mr Schwarz, then I would posit for all your eruditeness, you perhaps need to reflect less on the turn of a phrase and more on the substance.

  2. CuriousMale says:

    I cannot imagine moving into or cleaning up a house where a double murder suicide had happened, or having a teacher say something like that to me. I also read your Hipster Post, and the Elephant in the Room Post. Whoever Poppy is, they do not know you at all. For a housewife, you have biceps that should scare anyone, and a lean, hard look to you that is intimidating, even if you are short. However, after reading this, that look suits you, lean and hard. Just as your army pants, tattoos, and anarchy symbol with guns suit you. You are a very angry woman, Ren, but I understand why more now. You actually have a good reason. You are smart and talented and handsome and you got treated poorly because you were poor and lacked advantages others had. That makes anyone angry. Anger is not always bad, and you do some pretty amazing things with it.

    I’ve enjoyed these last few posts, and I do have to thank you for standing up for White Guys. No one seems to want to do that unless it is to be popular. You don’t seem to care about being popular but do it because you think it is right. Thanks for that.

    I also know you like guns and seem partial to the AK 47. Have you ever considered an AR 15?

    • Ren says:

      Thanks, and oddly enough, Vlad and I were talking AR’s earlier, but I am still partial to the AK…

      Can women BE handsome? I dunno if we can, but I can dig the idea….

      • dead_vladimir says:

        hush on the gun talk-big brother might be listening ;P

      • dead_vladimir says:

        actually you need to do a ar vs ak post and what it says about which you want : )

      • My granny would describe women as handsome if they are attractive but don’t have the typical delicate-feminine features to be described as beautiful. Then back in ye olde days, beautiful and handsome were used interchangeably to just basically describe an attractive person regardless of sex/gender.

  3. dead_vladimir says:

    see I would think sometimes being poor you would know who you could trust, and it would never be the rich or even middle class kids…that was my mileage.. I found people who had experienced the , were experiencing the same thing, that builds a bond, and gives you an ally to stand with as the world beats you down

    in some ways I think the really rich are fucked up in a way we don’t get
    not because there lives are rough, but more so their lives are consequence free

    • kingschwarz says:

      vlad, the really rich can be fucked up, but I think you and Ren DO get many of the ways in which they are. Her original post accurately details some of their behaviors and the motivations behind them. And your observation above about “consequence free” lives is dead on. In fact, it is almost a cliche for nonprofit fundraisers – and believe me, no one knows more than these folks about the psychology of the really rich – to say “You have had a life of success. Now you can have a life of consequence.” (If you make a big donation to the cause being pitched.) Guess what? This line works, because the rich know in their hearts that your observation is true and fear that their lives are indeed inconsequential.

  4. Thanks for sharing this part of your life, Ren. And especially sharing the part when you popped that girl for talking shit about your clothes. I did something similar to this one girl in my class who was mocking another girl about her skin color while we were standing in line for lunch. Just turned around and smacked her in the mouth. Both of the girls were shocked (the lunch lady was amused because I was an otherwise quiet, good little girl) and I know the only reason I didn’t get in trouble was because the girl doing the insulting would have had to fess up about mocking someone for their skin color.

    • Ren says:

      Aspasia: I am of the school that sometimes a fist in the face is necessary to remind an offender of thier assholery…both these instances count.

      • Alyson says:

        That’s awesomely bold. I remember back in elementary school I called a girl a snob for saying something snobby (can’t remember what, but this girl had a habit of saying rude, snobby things)….and got seriously reamed out for it by my teacher. Kind of taught me not to tell the truth, or bad things would happen. It’s good that some people were braver.

        • Alyson, my school was very no-nonsense in that old-school Southern way I love so much. They took no shit from us students, set us right in a heartbeat. On top of that, most of the kids in my grade had older siblings that were still at the school or recently graduated and a lot of the teachers and our parents were friends and/or former classmates. So we ALL knew each other. The girl who was insulted who was insulted was not from our “group” so I guess my other classmate thought it would be okay to attack her. No doubt, everyone else did which is why they didn’t say anything. However, I wasn’t raised that way. And it was a little personal because my mother had had the same thing happen to her. So I wasn’t standing for that bullshit.

      • **nodding** Though we grew up in very different socioeconomic levels, we are definitely the same there. I was taught, “Never let your mouth write a check your ass can’t cash” when I was young as a protective measure (mostly cuz I’m a smart ass and my parents didn’t want me to get hurt), something that seems to escape the majority of members in certain classes. Imagine my shock when my very proper middle-class, English teacher mother saying that exact phrase. I’d never heard her curse before she told me that!

    • dead_vladimir says:

      : )

      props to you for standing up when it would of been easier to go along

  5. Amber Rhea says:

    Rubber bands holding plastic bags over shoes! Ah yes, I remember it well…

  6. kingschwarz says:

    Vlad, I cannot figure out how to reply directly to your comment either. Anyway, thank you for your advice. I think the substance of my writings need not be interpreted as benign condescension, but if it strikes you thus, that is helpful to know. About my father: that was no quip. He was born into poverty in 1921 (or ’20: the hospital was never paid so no birth certificate was issued), his mother died when he was an infant and his father abandoned him and his brother for a time. While still a toddler, my father contracted polio and was subjected to a series of operations in which his bones were systematically broken and re-set. His life was saved, but he was left crippled. Shortly thereafter the Great Depression deepened the family’s poverty, and he remembers various occasions on which there was literally no food for the family, and they starved or fended for themselves. Despite or perhaps partly because of these travails, he has led a very successful life and maintained a strong sense of humor. He is notably devoid of self-pity but sympathetic to the suffering of others. We shall celebrate his 90th birthday later this fall. All the best to you.

    • dead_vladimir says:

      its not the point whether his life was rough..im not one to judge; the point is not whether or not if it is rough, but rather to put it in as a qualifier is inherently diminishing to the subject of the post; that was an honest exploration of someone’s experiences and what they lead them to conclude, and it speaks to your whole tone. i think your intentions are well meaning but i think you need to honestly listen to yourself, and not for the flow of the cadence but the actual value of what you say. And your whole tone continues from there.

      If you can not recognize the condescension in your tone when you say someone does not have the cred to be redneck or etc, as if you alone are the arbiter and then cavalier deigning to offer them an invite to your version of redneckness….

      well perhaps it is time for more introspection than outward observing for a while.

      Your implication Ren is not white trash because of characteristics she evinces implies two things about your views, one trash does exist and two people need to be measured to your standards, neither which reflect well on you.

      Also the appalling arrogance and conceit to tell someone that since they were born someplace that doesn’t meet your standard they can’t claim a title….well with “allies” like that…(another dismissive comment there, as if Ren could only have influence if she is accepted and behaves according to your standards).

      Honestly your posts read very much like a well educated, well meaning ivory tower snob, who is guilty of intellectual classism and has an obvious pleasure in their own pontifications (as someone guilty of that myself that’s no cardinal sin but it does at times make people like us a bit less when we choose to digress eloquently and frivolously about near and dear subjects).

      There was an early line in an earlier post, about how no one has the right to speak for anyone else’s experiences, but isn’t that of course what you do here?
      I did not grow up in Denver..actually make no claims to red neck cred or anything like that, but I do know there were places within 30 minutes of the city line, that barring the mountains looked like something out of one of the more depressed parts of west virginia (I’m looking at you Yaphank NY)..I also know the Denver of today must be very different than the denver of 30+ years ago, and I am not confident enough of what it was then to speak to it, and maybe you should ask yourself why you think you are? ( I do know even today the drop off between denver and rural america happens across a much more blatant and obvious lines than many eastern cities).

      As for affection and respect, you are polite, but I am not so sure I would say that is the same as having respect.

      • kingschwarz says:

        Vlad, thanks for again taking the time to pen a detailed response, but I think we have exhausted this conversation. If anyone whosoever wishes to self-identify as a redneck or anything else, that is her or his prerogative. And what others think about that self-identification is theirs. Why don’t we just leave it there. As for whether “trash does exist,” to crib a line from Ren it is “WIDELY considered to be true.” Perhaps trashiness has not to do with birth or money or wardrobe but rather with how you comport yourself and treat other people. I shall try to improve, per your advice, and let others look to their own faults.

        • Ren says:

          Hey, my faults are easy to spot. I’m angry. I am stubborn. I suffer from bouts of extreme callousness. And my spelling sucks eggs in hell. I can be “judg-y” too. No question. I also realize you were not trying to be mean or whatever the heck else in your posts/replies….but it came off REAL infuriating.

          As an aside, my dad had polio too, but in the 1940’s. Heck, I myself have had scarlet fever…who gets freakin’ scarlet fever anymore? Me apparently. Ah, Karma!

          • kingschwarz says:

            Thank you for the friendly reply. My line “let others look to their own faults” was in no way directed at you but was a general observation. Actually it is stolen from a Buddhist text. Call me pretentious if you like. I have no wish to infuriate you further, so I think I shall cease commenting here, or at least give myself a lengthy time out.

            I am very sorry to hear that your dad had polio. I hope the treatment was less brutal in the 1940’s than the 1920’s. If his condition recurs geriatrically, there is an excellent “post polio” program at the National Rehabilitation Hospital, begun by a doctor who is himself a polio survivor. The program saved my father’s life.

      • Ren says:

        Two Words: South Park.

        It’s fairly accurate.

  7. Roy Kay says:

    Not my experience for sure, but glad that you had the wit and energy to take advantage of the opportunities that came your way. My parents weathered the depression, uh, okay. My paternal grandparents had the odd luck of being wait staff at a restaurant and knowing one of the farmers who delivered produce, so they found a place to stay. My father managed to go to trade school in chemistry after high school and college on the GI Bill after his 3 year all expense paid south seas cruise to Australia, New Guinea, Leyte Gulf, Ie Shima, and Okinawa. In my generation we had grown up with the expectation that we would have to find work as teens, among other things, to pay for car insurance. As per usual this involved slinging hash. Well burgers and fries.

    I figure I had advantages you didn’t have as a poor kid and avoided the pitfall of having too much wealth just shoveled my way. My first car was a $50 “singing duckmobile” – a Plymouth Valiant SW with a screechy windshield washer which my sister had stuck appliques on and proceeded to scarf up dust in a duck shape. Still, I went to a great suburban high school and my folks split college costs with me, so I was ahead of some and behind some. My high school social structure was so chaotic that there was no particular in or out crowd – which pretty much meant individual achievement mattered most of all.

    I’m not sure what to do about the travails of social status in kids expect to raise the ones you have to not put on airs and to defend both themselves and others. (What kind of a person goes around picking on people weaker than they are anyway?) Pacifism is NOT going to help kids anymore than picking fights will. Learning to stand up for yourself and others had the nice effect of bolstering one’s own confidence.

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