blessed are the easily amused

Friday, May 21, 2004

Listen, lady:

The other day I overheard 3 ladies chatting at a cafe. Or rather, I overheard two of them, and the shrill voice of the third lacerated my brain.

That third lady was old and birdlike and proper. She was clearly running the show, doing all the complaining about the service and initiating all the gossip.

"That's right, Eileen. The streets are awful. Couldn't they get some of those welfare people to clean them? Why sure, they'd have to go and do their service and make the streets nice and clean before they could pick up their cheques. Instead of just giving it to them for free."

Well, lady, seven thousand kids in this town get their food from the food bank every month. Maybe that doesn't sound like much, but in a town of 200,000 I'd say that's significant. That's just the children.

The Welfare food allowance is 120 dollars a month. Same as it's been forever. Only with 71% inflation since the last increase, it's worth about $36. Why, more than a dollar a day, for free. Just imagine.

Welfare no longer provides a bus pass. Most recipients spend more than what's allotted for rent, dipping into that generous food allowance to make up the difference. Then they walk to the food bank from their ramshackle apartment on avenue W south with their toddler in tow. Once there, they stand in line with about 300 other tired, hungry people to get the basic staples they need to feed themselves and their children.

Yeah, lady. What those people need is to pick gum wrappers off your cul de sac.

Then she started in on inmates.


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