Friday, September 10, 2010

Poverty, Part 2

Sorry Mom.
I sell photos in our local farmer's market.  Most of the booths have some sort of tent or large umbrella to help shade the vendors, mine does not.  So the other day my mom comes in with the good news that she had salvaged an umbrella from the neighbor's. . . trash.  I was excited until a 20 second inspection revealed that this umbrella was completely destroyed.  Almost every fiberglass rod was shattered and seconds into my inspection, I had shards of fiberglass in my fingers.  When I told my mom that it was no good, she replied that I should just fix it because "new ones are $20 at Costco."   I  gently reminded my mom that we were no longer poor and could afford a 20 dollar umbrella. which reignited the whole debate once again.

Before presenting further evidence, I do feel it necessary to once again reiterate that I had a fantastic childhood.  If I can give my kids half of the experiences that I had as a kid, I know they will be ok.  My family no longer is poor, but we were poor growing up.  Or maybe we had money and did not spend any of it.  I have complied some more evidence to help me in the debate.  Click on the pictures for larger versions.


This is something that we have already covered a bit in Poverty Part 1, but a halloween is a time for the poor to really shine.  Now, my mom argues that we decided on these costumes on our own, but the pure fact is that kids are stupid.  We wanted nice expensive costumes but forgot about it when it came to deciding.  This is all because of the way we were asked:  "Wes, do you want a HOMEMADE COSTUME!!!!   Or that dinosaur one in the store?"  I have always been easily talked into things, and the proper emphasis on a certain sentence could make us dress up in just about anything.  And here is the proof:

I guess I should have considered myself lucky, because we hit a new low this year:

            No little boy wants to be a witch for halloween

Here is a nice example.  My guess is that Cyrus is a ninja turtle.  My other guess is that is magic marker on his face.  My other guess is that his costume cost approximately 3 dollars to construct.

Thats 3 dollars more than this skeleton costume costs.  Why you may ask?  Because that costume was actually an old halloween wall decoration that got stapled to my shirt.  Recycling, completely free.  Lets not forget the infamous cat costume.

Halloween is not the only holiday that really brings the poverty out in people.   Here is another glaring proof of our financial troubles.

                Decorating the Christmas "Plant"

My parents saved the ten bucks they would have spent on a tree by just turning our dining room plant into one.  Truly prosperous times for the Larson family.

Family Trips:

Rich people go on nice trips and take their kids.  My parents could afford a trip to Hawaii.  They could not afford to take us.  Here is a little gem of a letter that I wrote mom and dad while they were in Hawaii.

It should be noted that in later years they took my childhood advice and went to Australia as well, once again without their children.


My father is no artist.  Nor does he excel at cutting hair.  What he does excel at is giving bowl cuts, and that is because they are the cheapest and easiest haircut to perform.  When I was five, I wanted a rat-tail haircut but did not get one.  You know you are poor when you cannot even afford a white trash haircut.  Here are some classic shots that illustrate our fine hairstyles.

               My mom really should have hid this one better

Hard Labor:

Almost every kid has chores.  Poor kids have jobs.  We started mowing the lawn from the time we were eight.  Jeff started practicing even earlier.   They bought him a lawnmower toy?!  That is like purchasing a toy sewing machine for an infant in malaysia.  It is trickery.

 "Those fields are not going to till themselves boys, now put on your diapers and get to work"


About once a month growing up we would go out to eat, generally on my Grandma's dime.  Where did we go every single time?  The Sizzler.  The Sizzler is an amazing place to a poor child.  "Wait, so your telling me I get to have chicken nuggets, nachos, pizza AND ice cream?!  This place is unreal!"  But the general excitement over endless food is not what proves our poverty.  The icing on this cake is what Cyrus and I would do after eating our meal.  After finishing our food and ice cream, we would carefully stuff as many gummi bears as possible into a napkin, sometimes several napkins, and stash them away in our pockets.  We would then save these bears for weeks, carefully savoring each one.  If that is not the act of a desperate poor child, I do not know what is.  Candy in our house consisted of chocolate chips and lemon drops, and both of these treats were strictly rationed.  My mom once made a decorative ghost out of fabric and a sugar paste...I used to lick that thing like it was an effing lollipop.

    The ghost in question.  No doubt damp from my determined slobber 


The greater part of my life, we owned a nintendo 8 bit system.  When other friends naturally upgraded to the super nintendo, sega, nintendo 64 and so on.  We stayed resolute with our original nintendo.  When begged to purchase a new system, the answer always was "Why would we buy another nintendo?  We already bought one."  If this has ever been your answer to your kids, you may or may not be poor.

  There is the nintendo proudly displayed in the back.  Jeff is most likely begging for food here.

This next picture does nothing to prove our poverty.  But it is strangely terrifying.

Well, for now I have exhausted my resources as far as the debate goes.  Although I am certain that further evidence will surface in the future.  For the record, I would once again like to say that I had the best childhood... but we were poor, mom.

P.S. When discussing our poverty recently with my mom, I brought up the fact that we lived in a trailer.  To which she replied "a really nice trailer".


Benjamin said...

So Wes I think you missed the part about hammy down clothes...or in this case it looks like reverse hammy down clothes! (Look at pic #1 and pic #11 I believe) I see you in the red plaid button down then the Vyrus in the same red plaid button down! Just another point to make in your post on Poverty. lol.

Jack said...

hahahaha! man can i relate! i remember begging my mom for poptarts at the store and her telling us we couldn't afford them. Do you know ho much pop tarts cost!? like a buck fiddy for an entire box. Also, i had the bowl cut, i had the bugle boy, but the biggest proof i have is that nearly 3 to 4 nights a week we would eat red beans and rice! That's 3rd world food, and you can attest to that. anywho, i love reading your blog wes, very entertaining.

meredith conroy said...

poor people are hilarious.

Julianne said...

We almost peed our pants reading this one.

Alisa said...

I really wish you would do a weekly poverty post. This is just way too funny.

Shauna said...

I wish Cyrus would dress as a girly cat every year for halloween.

Katie said...

Forgive me for commenting when I don't know and you don't know me, but I had to chime in with a Sizzler story. We went out to eat ONCE every year as a family, always to Sizzler for the "salad bar." We thought it was the best food ever, and I can still remember the time my youngest sibling (of 8) threw up in the bathroom because he partook of too much Sizzler goodness.

sue said...

A person is never poor who has a family that loves him.
I wish you could of been around in the 50's growing up. You want to know what poor was...
My mom would make home made bread. It was great for about two days then it got so hard you could use it in a logging competition. If it hadn't been so good for making Penicillin we would have thrown it out after a week.
We could not afford lawn care and weed eaters. We had to do it ourselves, using non-power mowers and, hand clippers to trim the lawn till your fingers bled.
I had to use the same Halloween costume from the time I was five till I was eighteen, and it was a hand me down I got from a graveyard that had washed out.
I was so poor I couldn't pay attention and had to repeat the second grade three times.
Dad made us use both sides of the toilet paper to make sure we didn't waste money.
We didn't have fancy swimming pools and lessons. Dad just took us down to the lake and threw us in. Sink or swim was his motto. Hard part was getting the knot off the bag from the inside.
No video games, just baseball, football, tag. You know, free stuff.
If I wanted a change of clothes I had to switch with my twin brother. New clothes were what came from out of town relatives without patches. My older brothers got them and I got them later with stiff patches on the knees and seat. Those were great days. Rich days. You could fill your tank for four dollars. A 300 HP thrill ride cost $1,000.00 at the local car lot. Hamburgers were 10/$1.00. An ice cream cone a dime. You did not have to worry about what color shirt you wore to school. We were all pretty much in one big poor gang. I am sorry you missed that time. It was nice not being rich like we are today. It was nice to hear that you are doing so well. Keep up the good work. Doug Bailey

Elyse said...

So funny Wes! i love reading your blog.

Blake said...

Dude, again, I am dying reading this. Hilarious. A high school friend of mine is supporting herself on her blog, it's You need to spread the joy that is this blog, maybe she'd have some advice on getting the word out.

Kristopher Orr said...

Wes, thank you for sharing this. I was laughing out loud....and dougs comment was hilarious too. Please continue to post....

Renan said...

And his brother working hard and you play lead.