I grew up below the so-called “poverty line,” a fact which always amused my (single) mother and me- every year when the new “poverty line” stat was announced on the news.

The figure was always about the same as her annual salary. Yet somehow we had nice clothes and furniture and enough to eat.


Well, my mother might have been a high school dropout, but she was a workhorse who went to a hotel job she hated every morning at 5 a.m. and wasn’t a boozer or a crackhead who spent her off hours in nightclubs picking up and bringing home strange dudes.

In other words, my mother didn’t have a lot going for her but she made the very most of what she had, in a determined and almost ostentatious manner. I noticed.

I had a few friends who were the “product of broken homes.” From what I can make out, I’m the only one who’s amounted to anything.

Because, I believe, I was the only one whose mother worked (for a pittance admittedly) while the rest were on welfare.

Which brings us to…