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Poor Me!

What is dirt-poor?

When Alfred Wallace went to Brazil he had 6 pairs of eye-glasses.  He was poorer than Darwin who was fortunate to marry money.  I have 2 pairs, one long-distance sunglasses and one that is right for the computer (or, was, when I bought them several years ago).  I do not have other long-distance glasses so I do not see movies (not that I would have time to see movies or the money to spare!).

Food and Drink:  I cannot buy fresh fruit.  Mostly, I only get frozen fruit, for it is cheaper.  I do buy wine (my only medicine: it has the same active ingredient as aspirin and takes away my pains) but cannot afford to try anything over $11/bottle and try to keep it under $7.

Medicine:  My catastrophe insurance here costs as much as I paid for real insurance where I could see doctors and buy medicine in Japan.  I have no money left to see doctors and must care completely for myself (For example, since I cannot pay for an MRI and a knee operation, I just do not move much.  And, remember, I do not have a car.  A golf cart gets me around for the knee does not allow use of a bicycle.)  And I do not dare go out in the sun because I cannot afford to meet a dermatologist and receive skincare I need for my skin grows things.  I have other medical needs going back decades that I have just had to let go over my long poverty.

Clothing:  Garage sales help, but because I use no air-condition, I need hemp slacks and they are hard to find.  I cannot afford to buy them new (they ought to be cheap but cost about $60) so when I find a pair I wear them until they wear right through and show my underwear, speaking of which, 3 out of the 10 pairs are so stretched about the waist that I must use rubber-bands to keep them up.  I like good sandals, but cannot afford to buy any, so I wear plastic crap.

Equipment:  Because I could not afford a new pc which had XP for a long time, I lost a year of work for the reason that it will take that much time to put the Japanese original into many manuscripts already written without it.  Now I have XP and can write in the Japanese, but still cannot afford a digital camera which I need far more than the 100’s of millions of people who only use them to show off pictures of their children and I still need a fully operational Japanese OS pc with scanning OCR, etc…

Books:  Since I am independent and do not have ready access to a university library, it goes without saying that it would help if I could buy more books . . . And it would help if I had the money to ship the 90% of my library to me that is stranded in Japan.  But then again, I could not fit it in my apartment and cannot afford the one I am in already!

Transportation:  I do not believe in cars, for they are destroying the world, but had I money, I would buy one and try to get ten or twenty other people on the island (Key Biscayne is an island) who only need to go to town once in a while to chip in and make it a collective car.  Hopefully, that would reduce the total of cars needed for our criminally wastefully designed infrastructure.  And I would improve the rather decrepit golf-cart my unsolved health problems force on me.

Social Expenditures:  I am lonely as hell and feeling Times Winged Chariot running up my 52 year-old back, would love to date and get married and all that, but not wishing to sacrifice my writing, have no time for it. 

Place:  My rent is absurdly high for a poor boy: $850.  It is for living on Key Biscayne (a paradise if my skin would let me go to the beach and my knees would let me play tennis and my wallet would  give me the time . . .) because my mother is here.  Her support until this year came close to halving my rent.  Now, I am paying in full and it costs over twice what Rise, Ye Sea Slug! sales bring me.  But, I am stuck.  Moving is not easy and my mom does need someone around. . .  Needless to say, I need to find a house, but . . .

Business Expenses:  The dsl and the website together come to about $100/month.   The publishing itself costs practically nothing!  POD printing allows a poor boy to be a publisher and, for that I am grateful to my printer/distributor.  Here I am too poor to print out my own manuscripts for proofing (all is done in the computer) yet I am able to publish!  Talk about a miracle!   Thank you, Lightning Source.

I am not complaining.  Just telling you what's what.  When readers learn of my books and/or the authors and books I served in Japan, they tend to assume I live in the comfortable way that they assume people who do worthwhile things live.  They find it hard to imagine the fact that creative endeavor and even achievements do not correlate with wealth.  They think that if good things are done, it is rewarded by society, that a good book will get reviewed . . . But the awful truth is that even the type of medium one might think most sympathetic is closed in America today.  To give one example, I had no trouble getting on NPR when I was a student at Georgetown in the early 1970's, but now I find I cannot even get through to any of their reviewers!        - rdg


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