Wednesday, March 31, 2010

MI REF 10¢

I have a variety of poorly-formed thoughts floating around in my brain, having to do with poverty and wealth and happiness, the deserving poor versus the deserving rich, and old shabby houses with flowers everywhere outside and old people within.

I am reading an article in the New Yorker about how the level of happiness has not changed much in America in the past fifty years. In spite of people working a lot more and owning a lot more, they are no happier than their grandparents were, generally speaking.

I googled "deserving poor" last year, because many charities, food banks, and clothing closets seem to focus on them. The obverse of this is the fact that no one questions or wonders about the deserving rich.

So right, Poor Guy here has had a bad run of luck, but is a hard worker and goes to church and deserves a bit of a hand, especially if he has children. Does he deserve his poverty?

And there, Rich Guy, scion of a wealthy family, is a gambler and reprobate and all around jerk. Does he deserve his wealth? What about his kids?

(Alright, time to be quiet and discuss this among yourselves.)

The rain falls upon the righteous and the evil. Nothing new there.

Then I think about little shabby houses that I have been welcomed into, usually by poor and old people, and given a drink of water or tea, and other small tokens of neighborliness. The warmth and friendliness was palpable, and their smiles were genuine.

And I have been in much nicer homes and felt the welcome not so much. (Please don't touch that or sit there.)

I drove around and took pictures today of some small and shabby houses, and so my poor brain has been thinking.

I have never wanted to win the lottery or have bunches of money. It would be such a burden. On the other hand, I feel rich having running water and a roof over my head.