Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Grapes of Pique.

CNN.com tries to spin a weeper about a family clinging by their fingernails to bare "economic survival in this time of financial crisis".

Apparently Mr. LeBlanc's management gig at a truck stop restaurant in Louisiana went tango uniform. Not having an immediate fallback plan, the father of four flailed about for a bit, living on unemployment while looking for other work.
In Lafayette, a quiet city of about 114,000 tucked away in southern Louisiana, many of the jobs center around servicing the oil and gas industry, but Rob LeBlanc was unwilling to work offshore and away from his family.
So, unwilling to go after a near-certain good-paying gig that might keep him away from home a lot of the time, LeBlanc decided to run out the shot clock there in Lafayette. With the buzzer about to sound...
Donna LeBlanc gave her husband, a former restaurant manager, the stark ultimatum: become a pizza delivery man or their family "wouldn't make it."
Other than issuing ultimata to her beau, Donna was also carrying the load at the time by working at a pest control company. She's also put plans for going back to school on hold.

Seeing the sacrifice she's making of her college dreams, Mr. LeBlanc is reportedly pondering actually selling his "beloved 2003 Kawasaki" to help chip in to the household finances. Also, the kids had to give up their allowances, and their daughter worked odd jobs to earn money to buy a dress for a school dance... (cue ominous music) ...off the clearance rack!! The shame!


Jesus H. Tap-Dancing Christ on pogo stick, people! This sounds like my childhood! We didn't get allowances. We worked odd jobs to buy things we wanted, sometimes from garage sales or thrift stores. Our family made sacrifices so dad could make the mortgage payments. Dad had to sell his '55 T-Bird. There's a term for these living conditions: Middle Class American Family With More Than One Kid.

To read the pathos in the article, you'd expect they were living in a snow-covered cardboard box under a bridge in the jungles of Zimbabwe, fending off tigers and cannibals with pointy sticks and eating boiled shoe leather, not dwelling in a 5BR/3BA in suburban America. So they don't go to movies much any more? Cry me a river! Neither did we. In case you haven't noticed, you about need to fill out a credit app to get a family of six through the front door and past the concession counter. Turn on the TeeVee; it's free. Or better yet, go read a book. They have them for free at the library. But don't paint yourself as the poster children of the Next Great Depression because you can't take all the rugrats to Disney World and might need to sell your motorcycle, okay?

36 comments:

reflectoscope said...

Hear, hear. I can afford a few toys, but then I'm single and doing alright; I know if I had child(ren) on the one income I have I'd probably have to sell My Car and spend much differently.

Jim

Nathan Brindle said...

This guy is pathetic.

Off topic: Tam, did you see this in today's fishwrap?

Turk Turon said...

Have you been watching the price of feed for polo ponies? It's unbelievable! If I don't find a job soon, I'm gonna hafta sell the Testa Rossa!

atlharp said...

Not only that but the daughter might have to do without text messaging! Damn you George Bush!!!!

I never understood the allure of the present generation of parents who resist having their kids break their ass for anything. PUHLEEEESE! Maybe this mock "depression" is the best thing that has ever happened to this family.....

Anonymous said...

Compare the average middle-class, family of 1950 to the 'burban family clot of today. In terms of material goods the '50's folks were impovrished. Material culture has changed so much, that a thirty something parent and kids might think that they'd stepped into a living history museum. Heck, I relatives that still maintained an outhouse on the back of the lot, JIC.

As to no TV, or shoveling coal into the furnace in the morn, to get the house warm, or using manual wringer washers, or....ya get the drift.

And, we were pretty well off, so far as that goes. Nothing like the real 'owned doot' poverty that did exist, yet still managed to produce working, socially offspring.

I know it's jus' preachin' to the choir, but DANG!!!

With this kind of a-historical, media driven drivel being dispensed to a gullible, weak-minded public, how long until "O'1984, O'Brave New World, O'Clockwork Orange"? Those are more prophecy than speculation anymore.

Just being trained as food for the for the Morlocks, y'know?

There! and I don't feel better now, either. ;~`)

J t R

an da magick woid says dis iz bad BISMS, too.

heyercapital said...

They don't call it a "correction" for nothing.

Joseph said...

Where do you get the free TV's? Foolishly, I paid for mine and the satellite service (as I live in an area with no over-the-air reception)

That said, my childhood was a bit like that as well. My dad mowed the cemetery and dug graves (I thought this was really cool myself) while laid off. Mom worked part time at the school cafeteria when I (the youngest of seven) went to school and getting a pizza and going to the park was living the high life.

Actually, I'd love to get a pizza and go to the park again, it was a very good family time. Now if the last mayor of our city hadn't RUINED that park by putting in a open-air septic system in it's place...

dave said...

Even better:
http://topnews.us/content/22979-madoff-s-palm-beach-house-target-teenagers-resentment

Teenagers toilet-papered Bernie Madoff's house as a reaction to the loss of their trust funds.

Poor little dears might just have to do some productive work in their lives now.

buck said...

Kinda looks like the dad expects the rest of the family to carry his ass.

JimB said...

I've never seen people with so much pissing ang moaning about their lives. You would think giving giving up the premium channels on cable was life threatening.

Brandon said...

Amen! Preach on, sister.

Anonymous said...

Correction to post - there are no tigers in Zimbabwe, plenty of lions though

DirtCrashr said...

So THAT's why Caroline Kennedy decided she couldn't go for the low-paying Government job...

Tam said...

"Correction to post - there are no tigers in Zimbabwe, plenty of lions though"

There are no snow-covered cardboard boxes, either. "Tigers" was supposed to be funny. ;)

Ed Foster said...

Continue preaching to the choir, it's beautiful and rarely heard music.
I was a Navy brat, one of six kids, growing up in the 50's and 60's when service pay wasn't much. Dad was a great guy, but a serious drinker, with lots of pay turned into piss. Mom worked as a PI, and was usually out of the house.

My first store boughten suit happened when I was 13, for a churchy thing. It was paid for with a government savings bond bought at my birth. The next one I got was green, and a gift from Uncle Sam 6 years later.

Day old bread bought at the Bond bakery or fresh baked by my Grandmother when she was around, clothes bought from Salvation Army and Goodwill, lots of pasta with margarine, and meat was fatty hamburger twice a week. If we wanted more, we shot some squirrel or rabbit.

A reasonable definition of non-poor kids? Are they well fed, presentable dressed, warm in winter, and given exposure to reasonable education.

Anything else is wealth and affectation, not a required absolute.

og said...

This is why I keep coming here. Well put, and yes, me too.

All snark aside, for a moment; Tam, you are a damned fine person because of your upbringing, not despite it.

John B said...

That's why I adore you so Tam! You get so worked up over everyday stupidity, I look sane in comparison. God help me If I see a KILL YOUR TELEVISION sticker at the wrong instant.

EmmaPeelShoots said...

Over the last few months, I've been thinking about what it was like growing up 30 years ago compared to now. We didn't eat out. We grew our food, in the middle of the city. We rarely went to the movies. I remember seeing The Fox and the Hound at the drive-in before it closed. That's all I remember seeing in a theater until I started dating. We had bikes. We played outside. We had homemeade or hand-me-down clothes. Get over living a lifestyle you can't afford. Life's great with loved ones and guns! :)

Michael said...

*sigh* ah the good old days when we were apparently too stupid to know we were poor. Dad worked an ok job and mom stayed at home with the kids so we could have some supervision and not run totally hog wild.

I remember going to Disneyland once in my childhood, and despite staying at the "cheap" hotel down the street, having a wonderful time. I remember asking my mom for french fries at McDonalds and being told we couldn't afford it. I also remember never being hungry or cold. Kids these days. I'm sounding more and more like my old man every day and I'm only 40.

Keep preaching it sister. It's nice to know I'm not the only one with no simpathy for these spoiled idiots.

Charles Pergiel said...

Mine eyes have seen the hubris of the coming of the bum:
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of pique are stored;
He hath loosed the colorful lighting of His annoying xmas lights:
His rumors are waddling on.

Sorry, I just couldn't resist. Somebody who is better with words could probably have done better.

Noah D said...

There was the CBS 'Chef on a Shoestring' article about making a family dinner for...$35.

Combine that with people whining that they're having to do what we've always done - clip coupons, buy what's on sale - and I have a lot of trouble taking the economic doom'n'gloom seriously.

Remember this: Indiana's food assistance program thinks that a family of 5 needs a food budget per month of $750.

Brigid said...

I about popped a gasket today when I heard the Democrats justifying the umpteen million dollars to give out free digital TV coupons so the poor can have new TV's with
"we hope it will create jobs by opening up calls centers to explain the technology to people"

Where's that pogo stick? When was the last time you called a "Call Center" and got an American? Give out free TV's, more jobs for India!

Carteach0 said...

I posted today about having a college recruiter in to class. I invited him, as this particular school has a deal that can keep some of my students afloat for the next few years.

While talking with them about the state of our economy, I mentioned that I have BT and DT, and know how to cook a chicken in a coffee pot.

Friends... that took some 'splaining, I gotta tell you.
They have no idea at all.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad I did not see that on tv

my videobox would have taken serious damage.

Tam, keep preachin' it out loud

right now I'm literally 500 miles from home working the only engineering gig I could find after being on the bench and working part time and in retail to get some bennies.

I give the guy a pass on the offshore I've been there done that, offshore oil work is a 3D deathtrap and I'll pass. But his first duty is provide for his family.

Like I said doing that right now for me is a roadweary road warrior sthick I'd rather not be doing.

And so far the checks aren't bouncing. And hopefully this works out long term.

IIRC when stuff like this happend when I was growing up it was referred to a 'character building events'

woerm/thr

Kevin said...

Day-old bread at the budget bakery outlet? Hell, my mother shopped those places until the day she died at 79 years. Upon settling her affairs, I was amazed to find out how much she was saving each and every month in the bank and the totals of her IRAs and CDs.

She lived frugally, but wanted for nothing. "Paying" the savings account "bill" was her priority after the utilities, and she had only one Credit card, for emergencies. She paid the balance off immediately after using it, and kept it as a just-in-case - "pay cash or do without" was her credo.

She always had plenty of everything to share, her cupboards were always full, and us kids never wanted for anything we needed, and grew up with a healthy non-materialistic outlook and a solid foundation in "Penny Pinching Hunky Financial Management"

Then I ran into that evil FFL dealer and became a depraved firearms addict. Mom wished she had never taught me the arcane magick of lay-a-way, as I invested in steel, wood artworks, and brass & lead commodities.
I did my Mamma so wrong.....

Kelly said...

Honestly, the only problem I see here is that his wife is working her ass off while he plays the "But I don't want THAT crappy job" game, and he doesn't even consider selling his bike until she's made bigger sacrifices. On the off chance that they are forced into cannabalism, I see eat Dad first. Your chances for survival will skyrocket once he's not dragging you down anymore.

Even if they had the money to buy Princess Precious a dress, I think making her work for it would be the better option. The only reason I did get an allowance growing up was because it was directly tied to the work I did so that I could learn the value of work and money. If I wanted something I didn't have money for, I'd just have to work harder. I probably wouldn't have gotten that if kids could still get paper routes. I certainly didn't get it once I was old enough to have a job.

Joseph said...

Hmmm...I am about 45, and can remember a winter my mom wanted some soda, but didn't have the spare change. It was winter. We had snow shovels. My sister and I (I may have not even been 10 at the time) went out and shoveled sidewalks for people until we had enough money to give my mom for her soda. (First she was surprised. Then she cried. Then she got her soda).

This is the only country in the world where the "poor" have cars, computers and color TVs. A chat pal of mine in the Phillipines is head of social work in her province, and tells me of families who ask for aid because they cannot afford rice to eat. Kinda puts things in perspective.

Mark Alger said...

I take a more positive tack. I take comfort in the fact that these loser spawn are news.

That means they're unusual. Put up for the mockery of the vast majority of us normal folk.

Sorta restores my faith in humanity.

M

T: menthe In my yout', creme de menthe was considered a luxury tipple by some.

Adrian K said...

EVERYBODY's trying to sell their bikes right now. And hardly anyone is buying either.

He's funny if he thinks he's gonna get what he owes on the thing.

mts said...

I know a good deal of poor. They have their lottery tickets, their smokes, their cable tv, and I know those tattoos, especially the sleeves, don't come cheaply.

My father and his siblings scavenged for coal for the home furnace from the railroad tracks, which was for the taking as long as it wasn't in a hopper.

It's a different country, a different world.

Cybrludite said...

Another reason for me to be embarrassed to be from Louisiana. Hell, my folks grew up in the '30s & '40s. This whiny little putz would curl up in a ball and die if he had to face what they did as kids.

Anonymous said...

While all my friends were growing up in the 60's and 70's, my Dad and Mom were raising their six kids in the 30's and 40's. We got one toy a year at Christmas, always wore clothes we got on sale that "we could grow into", didn't have an allowance, had to work for our spending money, and brown-bagged it every single day of the school year, and our brown bags did *not* have cool stuff in them like sodas and chips. In short, we were almost depression babies 30 years removed from the depression. I learned very early on that catchy little phrase:

"Use it up, wear it out,
make it do, or do without."

BoxStockRacer

Tam said...

To this day, I cringe inwardly every time I see a kid doing the "Buy me this! Mom, dad! Buy me this!" in a toy store or the toy department at Wally World.

A new toy from the store? Just 'cause you whined? Jayzuz, are you spoiled! Toys come from garage sales mostly. Sometimes you get a new one at Christmas or your birthday.

staghounds said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
staghounds said...

Oops, this is the bit that I knew I had to post here.

This is the great one liner.

Anonymous said...

Offshore oilfield work is pretty good gig. I am surprised that he turned it down.

I like it most of the time. Pay is great, food is excellent and you get "combat pay" when offshore. Combine that with "international pay" and "country premium" if you work in like Nigeria or Somalia you can really pull in some serious cash.

All you have to do is be willing to do a dirty job for weeks at a time.

I think the reality is this guy would never last offshore and he knew it.

As to the rest of his pathetic situation, I say grow up.