It’s once again time for the first quarter moon, and I’m not exactly sure what that means, so I’ve decided to take it as: Time to bake cookies and spend a few minutes trying to figure out why my friends are so divided on the minimum wage issue.
This is what I know: My first job was a part-time gig at an ice cream dump when I was 16 years old. The owner hired girls only, and although the minimum wage at that time was $3.35, I made $3.05 per hour. (I know.) After arriving on time and working pretty hard for over a year (I was one of the few employees who were allowed to write on ice cream cakes and make icing roses), I joined the ranks of folks who were making $3.10 per hour. With that came a key to the ice cream dump! The world was my oyster! Every two weeks I was handed a paycheck for around $40. I would take $10 for gas money and save the rest to purchase a zoom lens for my camera. (Confession: I sometimes blew a little bit of cash at Fashion Gal. They had fun sweaters, and I felt an intense need to try and look cute. I mostly failed at this mission.) I had no bills to pay. I had no kids. Essentially, I had no worries. (The owner once called me at home and threatened to fire me because I put too many almonds on a fudge round cake. Luckily, a few days after that happened, a customer told me that she really liked my pink eye shadow. In other words, everything evened out in the end.)
I know there are lazy people in the world. I’ve been accused of being lazy by both my grandmother and my neighbor. It doesn’t feel good to be called lazy.
I know that not everyone has the luxury of being able to avoid crappy jobs. Not everyone has the luxury of boycotting Walmart. Not everyone can afford to never eat fast food. (I can feed my entire family for $8 and two minutes in a drive-thru at Taco Bell. Sometimes I don’t have more than two minutes. I’ve made casseroles that cost more than $10 to put together. I’m just typing out loud over here.)
Anyway, some of the people I love most in this world are like, “Ggggrrrr! Lazy jerks need to work harder and do better and be stronger and STOP BEING LAZY JERKS!” And, yes. The world is peppered with lazy jerks. Some of the other people I love most in this world are like, “Living wage and share your wealth and higher taxes for higher incomes!” I understand why feathers are being ruffled.
(Side note: I made the mistake of tuning in for a local radio show last week where the guest was all, “Why not raise the minimum wage to TWENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS PER HOUR?!?! HA HA HA HA HA!!!” and isn’t it easy to sit in a heated radio studio drinking your fancy pants coffee and wearing your Eddie Bauer shirt and going all Haves and Have Nots over the airwaves? It made my stomach turn.)
I tend to repeat myself, and I know I’ve said this MANY times, but: I really do feel like most people are doing their best. Some people need more resources. Some people need tools to manage their money and time. Not everyone is trying to work the system. (I know some people are trying to work the system. There will ALWAYS be those people. Just yesterday I tried to stack some coupons at a soap store, but I was quickly shot down. I retaliated by performing two separate transactions. I worked the system. Kind of. Not really. Anyway, a few people are going to smell very good in about three weeks because I had two coupons.) We will never be able to set up a peer review system where we can decide who is a lazy jerk and who is trying their hardest to raise kids and put food on the table. And some people are like, “OBAMA!” and some people are like, “No! BUSH!!!”
Christmas is coming. Bake cookies for someone who might like cookies. Don’t donate to the Salvation Army if you don’t like their gig, but consider donating to someone if you are able. Say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays or whatever you want to say, but say it with a kind heart. Don’t say it to make a point. We’re all in this together. AND, to paraphrase the guy leading music at our church service this morning, “As soon as we start figuring things out, we die.” (We also had an AMAZING jazz combo playing during the service, so everything evened out. Like almonds and eye shadow.)
I’m going to turn off comments and let you listen to this. It’s one of my favorites.
Also, we finished our tree this afternoon. Enjoy.