Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bank Balance Blues

My mother used to get up and make us breakfast every morning. Pancakes, omelets, grits, and oatmeal (not the microwave kind), anything we wanted. Except junk cereal. So that became all we wanted. Sleepovers were paradise if there were Fruity Pebbles, Cookie crisp, or any other cereal composed of mostly of marshmallows or named after a candy.

My family, while not wealthy, was better off than many of my classmates. We bought our school clothes at JC Penny's or L.L. Bean, or any other place where my mother was assured of quality. My classmates shopped at K-Mart, and that was all I wanted.

And so growing up I felt a bit distant from my peers, with their blue-collar parents, conversations about Hamburger Helper and TV dinners; it was a world I was completely ignorant of. In a contest for toughness or street cred I clearly lost.

The funny thing about adulthood is that in so many ways you get what you ask for. For the last year and a half I've worked minimum wage, counted every penny, sought cost over quality, brainstormed creative things to do with ground beef; and I quickly realized the allure of these things was all in my childish imagination.

But don't think I'm really blue collar, or that I've earned any street cred. I won't be poor forever, just for another few days.

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