Rich Man, Poor Man, F-Wad!

poverty-no-accidentUnless you have actually been poor, you will never truly understand what a drain it can be on your soul. You can’t say you get it, or you understand any more than I can tell a parent who has lost a child that I get it. I don’t. I can imagine the feelings of devastation, but I can never really, truly get it, until I have been there. And trust me, I pray to every god of every religion, – I never understand that anguish.
Now I’m not saying that I understand what it is like to be homeless. I do not claim to understand the level of poverty that many third world people face each day. I do however know what true poverty by western standards is like. I have lived in a home with no indoor plumbing, where we had a five gallon pail to use as a toilet. I know what it is like to live in a house – for lack of a better word – that only has three rooms left because the other half of the house burned down years before. I could go on, but I’m pretty sure you get my drift. So it drives me stark raving mad when people who have never truly gone without tell me how money is not everything. These people are what I like to call F-Wads.
F-wad is my new favorite word. I’m pretty sure it has been around longer than Jesus. So if it was good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me.
Recently I had the pleasure, (Maybe pleasure is the wrong word.) of meeting a true F-wad. I was out enjoying a social evening with friends. At some point the topic of conversation turned to charity. We discussed what could be done to help the needy in our country. I explained that I see the world as one country and that I believe those who are literally starving need to be the top priority. This was when the F-wad spoke up. The conversation was really enlightening – if enlightening means pathetic/selfish/self-absorbed/arrogant/f-wad. The F-wad explained that the best way to help the truly poor was to not be poor myself! This was a true eye opener for me. Why hadn’t I thought of that myself? How stupid was I? This was of course the answer to world poverty. Not to be poor myself!
Now I really needed to think about this for a minute. So what the F-wad was saying, was that if I wasn’t poor – if I wasn’t a dreg on society, (His words.) the world would be a better place! Of course! Yes! That makes perfect sense! If the rest of us do our part, to make certain that we are not poor, the world will be a better place. In other words, let me try to break this down for you, so it’s easier to understand. If we do what we have to, to reach a certain standard of living – if we keep that dollar we were giving to the homeless guy who hadn’t eaten in days, if we kick all those disabled veterans out on the street, if we raise the price of canned dog food so the old age pensioners stop eating food meant for our pets, if we stop providing aid to the starving peoples of this planet – we will all sleep better at night! Come on, admit it! The F-wad has a point. Doesn’t he? Think of all the surplus if we stopped helping every sob story out there. I, for one, will surely sleep better at night knowing the dregs of society are no longer dregging. F-WAD.
So did I take it personally? I would have been a F-wad if I hadn’t.
Then I remembered that I too have been a dreg in my life. I remembered that things weren’t exactly cushy in my world. I thought of my own dad who had worked hard his whole life to support his family and pay the medical bills of his dead wife and crippled son. How he had died old and broke, but loved. I remembered my brother who was stuck in a wheelchair, but would take a homeless person back to his small apartment and feed them. I remembered the young woman who stopped us on the street so she could hug my brother and explain to me how my brother had saved her life. How he had taken her home when the rest of the world had shunned her. How he fed her, cared for her, and believed in her, when no one else would. I remembered – and I was proud.
So did I take it personally? I would have taken it personally if I was born with a silver spoon. Rich or poor does not make the person. I choose to believe this F-wad is the exception, not the rule. I have to believe this. I have to believe mankind as a whole is better than this. If this F-wad is not the exception, what hope do we have? What the hell are we fighting for?

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