Make Poverty Hysterical

(or mildly less agonizing….)



Poverty is the zeitgeist, it is just so. fucking. now.

So, ever the prophet of what is ‘in’ I have of course, been poor for years.

Fortunately I’ve had just enough sporadic bouts of wealth to make sure I don’t end up sleeping in a doorway on Mare Street; but who knows what the future holds.

Much like segways, being poor can have an eccentric mystique, but it can also be quite hard to handle.

Here are some truths on the realities of poverty, and how to do it well.

There is nothing romantic about being poor …

Candles are surprisingly expensive.

You are a fountain of wealth …

Now, I’ll be perfectly honest here, no one wants to hear about how miserable your life is for longer than 10 minutes (max). End your tale of woe with a punch line and save your tears for a vial, when full, sell them on eBay as Jeremy Paxman’s.

Where there’s a Will there’s a way …

Get in with the rich and the old, and advise against a flu jab.

Like a leper …

Ok, your face isn’t falling off, but you will feel on the fringe of society when you are lacking funds. Money is a strange thing and without it you find yourself watching everyone else with different eyes, in it’s absence you see it’s overwhelming presence in our distorted version of this world. It’s become so habitual it’s almost innate. Retain this knowledge when your pot is full, you’ll be the wiser for it.

Tattered rags to rugs ….

A delightful shag-pile rug can be fashioned from your last shreds of dignity.

Seek refuge with the religious (and the homeless) …

As impious as you may be, churches are a sanctuary of silence and among the most reassuring places you can go when you are poor. Light a candle for whatever you want (I suggest hope) and relax. No ones trying to sell you anything you ‘aint buying here.

The world isn’t against you …

It just doesn’t really care.

Inanimate objects however, are against you and are prejudice against the poor …

The coffee you spilled, the table that you stubbed your toe on, the bike peddle that hit your shin, again, the cup you smashed; they’re all out to get you. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you you’re overreacting when these things bring tears of fury to your eyes. They’ve probably got money, and didn’t see the way that coffee looked at you.

Do whatever it takes to pay your rent …

With a roof over your head, you’re less likely to lose it.

Save the pennies ….

You never know when you’ll need a pound for the electric.

Soup kitchen …

A bag of lentils, some garlic, onion, stock, carrot and potato could feed the 5,000 and cost less than £5. Invite round Dirty Mike and the boys and you’ve got a dinner party, you trendy prole. Just make sure they know it’s BYO.

You will inevitably draw the short straw at one point in time …

And the likelihood will be it’s the final one. Take whatever it is as personal attack form the heavens above. This moment in time will only be amusing in hindsight, when you’re rich. Promptly buy yourself a packet of high tar cigarettes and smoke as many as you can. Why prolong your stay at Bleak House?

Every morning dress in mourning ….

Show life the grim respect it’s due and dress in black, it’s the best friend of the beggared. Better to look somber than cheap.

This isn’t a myth ….

There really are people all over the world dying and starving. Unless you’re doing both take your situation with a pinch of salt, then add it to your plain rice supper.

Losing weight? Become a well rounded person …

If you’re doing poor well, you’re spending your last 99p on refined literature not refined sugar and are therefore approaching ultimate wisdom (and emaciation.) Without a job you find a lot of time on your hands, don’t let them become idle. Take this opportunity to add to your attributes. Learn to play the piano, bake bread, write a short story (not a novel – you’re not planning on being poor that long) watch all of The Empire 500, read the poor greats (there are many of them). Do whatever you feel improves yourself. The work will come and who knows, it might come from one of these.

If all else fails just lie on the floor and wait for something to happen …

Invariably it does, just do it at home so it doesn’t involve a rapist. 

Make light of your situation…

Nothing brightens up a little squat hole like a few fairy lights. Shove them on your dead tree that you couldn’t afford (be bothered) to water and bask in its warm glow, saves on heating too.

Waste not want not …

If you’re on the breadline, why on earth aren’t you eating it?

“Awight gowgus?”

Next time a builder asks you this, stop and explain all of the reasons why you’re not. He wont cost a penny and is therefore much cheaper than a therapist. So, offload on him, he’s used to a weight on his shoulders.  

You are not a failure …

And if someone calls you one, take it personally but do not get offended. Poor and angry is common (trust me.) Hope they didn’t mean it and have enough faith in yourself to know that you’re not.

You’re making headlines …

You’re one of a record breaking 3 million unemployed! Congratulations! Bet your friends with jobs aren’t on the news.

“Take a load on me” ….

Learn from my mistakes. As hard as your situation may be, as many bad things that hit you one after another, if you are incredibly lucky, and have someone who loves you enough to share some of your burden (make you feel safe, feed you, keep you warm, make you smile  at your most morose…) stop wallowing and thank your lucky stars you have them. In reality that is a lot more than most people. But because humans are stupid and self-engrossed, we tend only to realize this when they’re gone.

Move to Zimbabwe …

You’ll be a billionaire.

Once you’ve exhausted this list, it might be time to swallow the pride, the ego, whatever it is and just get any job. There is always one going somewhere and it will invariably be more interesting, in whatever variation, than the dole.




2 thoughts on “

  1. Liked the leper, very much.
    Interesting how ppl feel the absence of something that was never there, not talking about $1-a-day poverty.

  2. Hi Robert — Your images are readily downloadable from google images, with no copyright marks. Maybe check that out before getting angry with people. That’s your responsibility, not mine. But have removed it anyway. You might want to add a dash of charm to your comments next time.

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