Money Alone Won’t Fix the Terrible Decisions

11.25.13


killer martinis

This Holiday Season’s feel good story starts with an extraordinarily well written blog post about poverty and the terrible decisions poor people make. Linda is the sort of writer that makes you pause and reevaluate everything you know to be true. Linda gave us 24 hours of poverty (plus or minus a few years) in 1500 or so beautiful words.

Linda is different than other poor people and Linda is different than rich people. She has insight and wisdom and an awareness of where and why she might be missing common sense. She seems to have a work ethic much stronger than my own and she’s a better writer than 95% of us.

Of course it’s entirely possible that this is a work of fiction (every memoir is part fiction) and she’s just really good at what she does. I have a friend who works with the homeless & when a local young mother tugged at my heart strings I called him and told him that I knew she was lying to me. He told me that they all lie. It’s a means of survival and if I were in their shoes I’d lie too.

Knowing this made me feel better. I bought her diapers even though I knew she was lying to me and I didn’t resent her for it because when a baby needs diapers a baby needs diapers.

Sometimes I give people money and/or opportunities even when I know the money will never help them. It only helps me feel better about myself.

The internet loves to help talented people who are down on their luck. Does anyone remember Ted Williams? He had a golden radio voice and lived by the side of the road? The Internet fell in love with Ted and got him a $10,000 gig which he promptly lost. He’s in and out of rehab, has strained relationships with his family and appears to be gaining traction each year but the reality is that a $10,000 job didn’t help him. Interventions did, many of them. The interventions came because of Ted’s internet (and then mainstream) fame. Ted is a success story insofar as he’s no longer homeless but the barrage of internet love didn’t give him riches or sanity, it gave him an opportunity to seek more help. It opened doors that he still needs to walk through.

Linda has monetized her very moving viral post and started a GoFundMe.com campaign where anyone can give her money to write a book. It’s no secret that I find these money grabs distasteful at best (and if I were desperate I assure you I’d do distasteful things) and fraudulent at their worst.

I’m not saying that Killer Martinis is an internet hoax/scam/ruse. I am questioning the intelligence of an Internet community who decides that $62,000 ($40 a word) and counting is the appropriate price to tip a stranger for a very well written blog post. I wonder if it will be enough to guide her to the help she needs?

Edit: Reading a little more I’ve decided that I believe about 50% of what she wrote. Lovely fiction. Good fundraising skills though. Maybe she learned that at her private school silent auctions?

Remember the gay server who wasn’t tipped but got thousands form the Internet and promised to donate that to the Wounded Warrior Project? Liar.

 

 

 

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15 responses to “Money Alone Won’t Fix the Terrible Decisions”

  1. nugglemama says:

    Am I missing something? I don’t find the writing that good. The poor part I get because I have been there.

  2. Not surprised that this hasn’t had a ton of comments yet… I figured it would either spark a furious debate or get the resounding “crickets” of people afraid of looking unsympathetic.

    I have to say, this woman has a lot on her plate. But poverty? Real poverty is what you find in most of the world. Where you’re starving, but your neighbors are too. There’s no one to give you help – they don’t have anything either. By anything? I mean food, electricity, water, clothes – any. thing. Not an internet connection or transportation or the possibility of ‘going to school’ or even the ability to read her post.

    We Americans are so blessed that we don’t really understand it. I’ve been as “poor” as this writer is. But I’ve also been to places in the world where there is real, gut-wrenching, soul-stealing, inconceivable poverty. Where there is no fast-food or junk food option – because there is barely a food option if any. Where there isn’t the option of birth control so children aren’t a choice, but a result of being female. Where cigarettes and refusing any kind of health care aren’t options either.

    My heart goes out to her because she won’t ever get out of that space. Because she’s told herself she won’t. No amount of help, funding for books, or luck will successfully combat the belief that you make bad choices because you *have* to.

    Wonder if she’ll quit smoking, eating fast food and not using birth control now that the Internet has given her $64k to write a book with? My guess would be no.

  3. Guest says:

    Ok, so I am going to be the asshole. I just read the post. I grew up poor and guess, what I don;t quit. When you are starving and poor, you don;t say fuck it, I’ll just eat junk food and smoke. You eat your pride, you go and get assistance to feed your children. You don;t waste your money on cigarettes.Take that money and buy healthier foods. Buy vitamins.
    I’m reading this post and she’s given up. I don;t understand, she says she’s going to college but she says whats the point because she’ll always be poor. Either decide to fight your way to a better life , more sleep and better health. I am sorry but I read the whole thing from the perspective of someone who has been poor and I feel like this post was her venting about her unhappiness at being poor but I read no real effort at being happy. I feel like she’s given up and I know its tiring and defeating when you don;t see a way out but for fucks sake spend the time you are on the internet…sleeping. Spend the money you are wasting on cigarettes on food and shelter. TRY! And as far as people donating money. Why doesn’t she use it to secure food and shelter, why the fuck would you spend that money on writing a book? A book will not feed your family or your soul.
    This post doesn’t feel like the whole story is complete to me.

  4. Deborah Cruz says:

    Ok, so I am going to be the asshole here. I just read the post. I grew up poor and guess what? I don’t quit. When you are starving and poor, you don’t say fuck it, I’ll just eat junk food and smoke. You swallow your pride, you go and get assistance t or do whatever it takes to feed your children. You don’t waste your money on cigarettes.Take that money and buy healthier foods, vitamins, milk, whatever you need to eat.
    I’m reading this post and she’s given up. I don’t even understand how someone does that. She says she’s going to college but then she says whats the point because she’ll always be poor.
    Either decide to fight your way to a better life, more sleep and better health or stop complaining about it. How can she even afford Internet service and time to blog? I am sorry but I read the whole thing from the perspective of someone who has been poor and I feel like this post was her venting about her unhappiness at being poor but I read no real effort at changing it.
    It’s like she’s given up and I know its tiring and defeating when you don’t see a way out but for fucks sake spend the time you are on the internet…sleeping. Spend the money you are wasting on cigarettes on food and shelter. TRY!

    And as far as people donating money. Why doesn’t she use it to secure food and shelter, why the fuck would you spend that money on writing a book? A book will not feed your family or your soul. A book won’t save your life or keep your children safe.

    This post doesn’t feel like the whole story is complete to me.

    • Barnmaven says:

      I don’t know, I’ve seen people living in poverty who are like you – they aim higher and work harder – and I’ve seen people who do exactly what KillerMartinis claims they do. I have an ex-relative-by-marriage who is on food stamps and provides her children with the minimum of care, but never fails to buy cigarettes and alcohol. I think the difference might be mental health issues or a lack of coping skills. For many different reasons, some people are more resilient than others. Its fascinating to see how people respond to setbacks. Some use them as a galvanizing experience to fight even harder and others are just defeated by them.

      I agree with you though, it doesn’t sound like the whole story is complete. I supposed that’s true about almost any personal story you read on the internet or any autobiographical format for that matter. A person’s narrative about themselves will always have missing parts, not necessarily with bad intention.

  5. commenty_mcgee says:

    This woman is a liar. In her gofundme page she explains that she went to private school her whole life including Cranbrook (on a partial scholarship) which is a fancy boarding school, she describes a “lifetime” of therapy (people in poverty don’t have therapists!!!), admits she got an insurance settlement from the accident that messed up her teeth but she didn’t use it to get them fixed, on another blog she said she “retired” from working political canvassing jobs after she had a kid, she said her grandmother got her a house to live in (she does NOT live in a motel with roaches crawling on everything with no way to cook broccoli). A year ago on reddit she posted some weird story that also seemed like a total lie about managing a fast food restaurant. She seems very manipulative and quick to lie about everything. She knows nothing about poverty. Middle class kids who goof off in their 20s and then run back to their family when things get hard are not living in poverty. She’s telling a made up story.

  6. OK, as a poor person myself, I’m calling BULLSHIT on that post. If you click through to the original post, there is an update that says she has gotten the equivalent of a year’s pay from both of her part-time jobs donated to her. She makes over SIXTY-TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS a year!! And her husband has a job!! In my eyes, that is nowhere near poor. My husband’s base pay is $36,000 a year. That supports THREE people — in expensive as hell SoCal. We get no assistance at all, not even free lunches for our daughter. Tell me, who’s the poor family in this scenario? I vote mine.

    Do I make what are likely poor choices dictated by my very meager budget? Yes. When you have a whole five dollars to feed three people dinner, you buy off the dollar menu at the fast food joint because it’s cheap and tasty. Do I wish I could afford organic everything? Absolutely! But I can’t, so I do what I have to do to put something in our bellies. Have I taken the whole of our $500 overdraft limit out at the ATM in order to have money for food, gas and bills at $31 a pop? Yep. I do what I have to do. But we paid off all of our consumer debt in August of 2011, and until this past April we were forced to buy a used car to replace our newly dead 23-year-old one, we were debt free. Now we have a ridiculously high monthly car payment at 20.99% interest — because we’d never financed a car before — but our ONLY car is now safe, reliable, gets great gas mileage and has a warranty with a $100 co-pay. We desperately need a second car so that my husband can get a better job somewhere else and I can get a part-time one. But we can’t afford it right now because of the toxicologist high car payment. We also can’t afford the braces our daughter MUST have because after insurance, we still need to pay $2300. We don’t have it. We can barely afford food and rent right now. We both have college degrees.

    BUT I still have hope. Something will break for us and we will be able to buy our own house, get another car and stop living paycheck to paycheck.

    Hey, maybe I should write a blog post explaining my experiences as a poor person, it will go viral and I can start a GoFundMe and get nearly twice my husband’s base pay donated to me by strangers. I could pay off our Toyota, get a second car, pay for Ro’s braces, catch up on all our monthly bills AND still have almost two-thirds of it left as an emergency fund.

    Hey, that lying ho got 62K+, why can’t I? lol

    • I forgot to add that I also have an autoimmune disease that causes many other physical issues and because of our lack of funds, I cannot always afford my medications or doctor’s appointments. When I didn’t have health insurance, I went to Planned Parenthoid because I knew I couldn’t afford to get pregnant back then. After I got married and insured, I was diagnosed with PCOS. I wasn’t supposed to get knocked up without fertility drugs, so when the bunny died, it was a shock and a miracle. I have one child and love her beyond measure, but if it had not happened unexpectedly, I would likely still be childless.

      • Those of us with huge medical bills – especially the sort that mean outrageous out-of-pocket expenses – tend to jump on opportunities like “reasonably priced medical care” that PP provides. No matter what the ‘stigma’ about being seen going in and out might be about it – it’s nothing like the stigma of having children who can’t be fed or clothed. :(

        • I absolutely agree with that. I went to Planned Parenthood for my annual and birth control and never once was I asked about abortions, nor did any of my friends. The whole “Planned Parenthoood coerces abortions” thing confuses me because that was not my experience at all. They were always kind, knowledgeable and helpful to me.

  7. Christina Simon says:

    It is always odd to me that people will donate to a person when they can’t determine the credibility, but won’t donate to a legitimate charity that does amazing work, year after year.

  8. Barnmaven says:

    I am continually stunned by the willingness people contain to go on the internet and ask others for money, directly or indirectly. Of course, if people are willing to throw cash at you, if people don’t care that your story isn’t true so long as it sounds good, then its hard to blame the person receiving the money. I was listening to an NPR story this week about the people who created the Myst games. Their company foundered over the last couple of decades, but they’ve been able to crowd source funding to write the newest game. There’ve been other stories about projects that have received tons of unexpected support from sites like GoFundMe and FundRazr — its almost enough to make me want to float a business idea and see if I could get something started, but then I realize that I have no briliant ideas for a new product or business and I’ll have to be content with my current career (which is just fine with me).

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