4 Ways to Stay Poor

Someone said to me the other day, “the only thing my parents taught me was how to be poor.”

Many of our parents are unaware of life outside of their socioeconomic class; they may have ideas about how to help us, which might not be enough.

My father’s idea was work ethic – he worked from sun-up til sun-down as a roofer.

So – my sarcastic look at how to stay poor:

  1. Stay home and watch television. Because, certainly, that’s what successful people do. They don’t go on to learn more, success came knocking at their door!

Every year, I hear students say, “I don’t need college, Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates didn’t finish college.” And every year, I give a mini lecture, as gently as possible, about how these men were working and learning in their field of study long before college. I sometimes hint (because I believe) these men were geniuses. And they still had to work hard!

     2. Listen to your friends who say you’re a sell out. Because friends always have our best interest at heart and know way more than we do about our life and what we want, we should definitely listen to them if we want more and they put us in our places.

When I applied to college, one woman said to me, “Sounds like someone wants to be rich and famous.” I shrugged, not having the wherewithal to defend my choice, and maybe it wouldn’t have helped anyway. At that time, I would have settled for getting out of the ghetto.

       3. Dreams are meant to be secret, private, and stuffed away. By all means, don’t follow them. You don’t actually want to have a good idea and the confidence to follow through.

I can not tell you how many people made fun of and put down my dreams. One girl used to curl her hand into a decrepit fist, “Don’t have you writer’s cramp yet?” Other people swore I was “wasting time writing stupid poems and stories no one will ever read.”

     4. Don’t ask questions, you might feel stupid. There’s nothing worse in the world than looking or feeling stupid. It’s true, you might get an answer, but that’s beside the point!

The first time I went to a college campus, I went into the advisor’s office and she handed me a form. “Did you fill this out?” I hadn’t. “Well, fill this out and come back.”  I had a lot of questions, including about the form she handed me, but she ushered me out, and I remember turning to her and her shutting the door right in my face. I’d made an appointment months before. I’d taken three buses to get there. I wanted to turn around and walk away. But before I left, I picked up some other forms and talked to the student assistant in the front office who was FAR MORE HELPFUL than that rude, thoughtless woman who hadn’t given me the chance to even ask a single question. I could have walked away, and I wanted to leave as soon as possible, but before I walked out, I’d decided I wouldn’t let one shitty person who didn’t care dictate my success.

 

Now – if you have interest at all in succeeding – Try this link: Habits of Self Made Millionaires.

 

About Noreen Lace

Originally from the Midwest, Noreen Lace received an MFA from California State University where she now teaches. She believes in the beauty of language to express the darkness in life. She is the author of two novellas, West End and Life of Clouds, as well as a book of short stories. Here in the Silence. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in national as well as international journals, including The Chicago Tribune's Printers Row Journal, The Oleander Review, Vine Leaves Press (Australia), Silver Stream Journal (Ireland), Pilcrow and Dagger, Fishfood, and others. "Memorial Day Death Watch," a memoir of her father's passing, placed as a finalist in Writer Advice, while her poem, "All at Once," was published as a finalist in Medusa's Laugh Contest issue. More work is always in progress.
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