I have recently been trowling through a site that chonicles ‘freaks’. I put the word in quotes because I certainly don’t want to offend anyone with physical variations, but that is indeed the post frequently used term…At least historically when the 10 in 1, dime and nickel sideshows, traveling circus’ and other attractions drew viewers in to what was often called ghastly and amazing. I’ll post the site on FB when I go to share it with the podcasters I listen to weekly.

Which is why I used the word sideshow when describing Cory Bookers ‘valiant attempt to live on $33.00 a week as a foodstamp recipient’. How (boo-hoo) hard it is for someone who’s never known hunger before to plan a week - A WEEK- of grocery shopping on a budget. I realize his intent was altruistic and for a politician this guy is actually pretty good, he may not be able to make policy changes but he does make you wish your politicians had the underwear on the outside dedication he appears to have when it comes to his public image. (And yes, I know he’s put himself in danger in some of these situations and I applaud his efforts. I applaud police, firefighters, especially volunteer teams, and EMS even more.

This entire escapade was of course faithfully filmed and social media’d so that we are all aware of how difficult this experiment was. Did he lose any body weight? Notice any changes to the texture of his hair? Nails? Skin? Bodily functions?

I know it sounds petty of me. I am lucky at this point to be able to afford to feed my family with no real concern outside of remembering to pick up milk on the way home. But it wasn’t always that way. There was a time when the Poppabear and I had a strict menu due to budget: an egg ($.079 a dozen at the time) and toast ($.39 a loaf) for him for breakfast (I have never been a food in the morning fan) and a sandwich (bread, sliced cheese - $0.89 a pack of twelve, lunchmeat at $1.99 for a pack which made approximately 8 sandwiches) for lunch in his lunchbag, sometimes leftovers if it was a good week for sales. My lunch was ramen (I think it was $2 for a box of 12 packs), sometimes with frozen veggies ($0.69 a bag)chucked in and a snack of iced oatmeal cookies ($1 for a package of 18 I think) with a slather of peanut butter (let’s say $3 a jar I don’t really remember) and dinner was usually rice, frozen veggies, a shared porkchop poiled with the rice then sliced into thin bits and saute’d with packets of soy sauce from who knows when we last splurged and ordered in or spaghetti. Assuming we spent $3 a day on dinners and adding in the remaining items I come up with a spend of about $25.00 a week for TWO, three if you count the incubating child. Some weeks we would substitute potatos for rice and make a sort of gravy instead. I know prices have changed and I’m being nostalgically bitter…but really? This feels more like a juggling act than a serious look at how people live. He didn’t have to bargain any of that food stamp money for cash for gas to get to work did he? Didn’t have to consider his additional expenses that make hunger and lack of nutrition even more difficult on a person?

 

Didn’t think so.