Friday, July 3, 2009

Never Become Middle Class: The Neighbor

In a recent post, I stated that all you have to do to become rich in this country is to spend less than you make.

My neighbor came over and knocked angrily on my door last night. "I read yer damn blog."

(A quick note: My neighbor may come across as a charicature of a redneck. That's not my prejudice; he is a charicature of himeslf.)

"How am I gonna spend less than I make? I work my ass off and I still don't make enough to git by on."

I looked at my neighbor. He was wearing $150 nikes. "You work at a grocery store, stocking shelves. You spend half your day slowly opening boxes, and the other half smoking dope behind the trash can." My neighbor, I estimate, spends about $300 per month on illicit drugs.

My neighbor looked at me as though he was planning to set down the $1.95 bottle of Pepsi he was drinking (the fourth one of the day) and punch me. I said, "Let's go back to your place and talk about it.

We walked past his new truck, parked on the curb. He'd got a fancy new tint job on the windows recently.

Back in his living room I admired his new $1,500 dollar flatscreen HD television. "Nice," I said.

"I got extended cable," he replied. ($120 per month) You orta come over and watch movies with me and ma wife sometime." He had a Blueray player ($299) and a shelf full of disks. He's replacing his DVDs with the new disk format as soon as they become available.

His wife and son were sitting on the couch eating Papa John's pizza. ($23.87 + delivery tip)

Between the two of them they make about $35,000 per year. They are up to their eyeballs in debt because they can't afford daycare after their $400 a month rent bill and their $150 a month utilities bill. Thank goodness they don't have a phone bill; they each have a Blackberry, which only cost $219 each (after signing a 2-year agreement to pay about $115 per month for the phone and internet service.)

Perhaps I was wrong. These people have no chance of ever becoming rich. I apologized and helped myself to pizza.

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