Friday Five :: They have never been poor

I Will Buy You a New Life :: Smog
Friday Five

5 Things this song reminds me of:

1. How growing up always struggling, and being an adult who is still struggling, changes who you are. How it makes you stronger in some ways, and how it makes you more uncertain and insecure, in others. The following line…

I hate those people who love to tell you,
money is the root of all that kills.
They have never been poor,
they have never had the joy of a wellfare Christmas

is very relatable to me. I think that unless you have lived like that – learning how to make food stretch, how to pay some bills and wait on others, how to have a creative Christmas or birthday, and how to actually live in a city like Los Angeles living paycheck-to-paycheck – then you cannot really know what its like to not have money, or to want it. And the whole notion that “money is the root of evil“, or “money can’t buy you love” (no, I agree that it cannot, but this is not the point I am trying for here) is an easier thing to embrace if you have never had to go without any money, or have financial struggles in your life.

2. Promises from exes. I know I have heard them before, I think we all have – and we may have even doled out those pleas before ourselves. They rarely stick. Things, and people, well they rarely ever change all that much. But, I have believed them. I have naively taken an ex back hoping that our second-chance “new life” would be all they promised. And no, it never was.

3. I have a huge soft spot for Everclear. Perhaps it stems from understanding Art Alexakis’ background (growing up poor in Los Angeles with a single mom, having an absent father, struggling with self-destructive behaviors/addictions in one’s adolescence and early adulthood – yes, been there with all of that) – and relating to so many of their lyrics. Songs like this one, as well as Everything to Everyone, Father of Mine and Wonderful feel like snapshots from my own life.

4. 1997, edging into the end of the 90’s, and the end of my 20’s. My life was going through some major transformations. I was transitioning from working in record stores to working in an office, I was hiding away in a very platonic relationship because my heart was still healing from my first major break-up/heartbreak/failed relationship, I was writing all the time (in journals, online, in letters), and I was discovering the appeal of internet communities (still so many dear friends met in the years of ’96 and ’97 who I cannot fathom not knowing now). I remember really struggling with who I was, and who I wanted to be, but also really growing.

5. If you could have a new life – bought or found – what would it look like? I do not know, I sort of love the life I have. Less struggle would be nice, less insecurity and self-doubt, and yeah more money would be nice (it is hard to raise 3 kids and live paycheck-to-paycheck – or less when one loses their job) – but all in all, I really love my life.

One thought on “Friday Five :: They have never been poor

  1. This is one of my favorite songs of all time. I consider it like, the most realistic kind of love song. Grown up promises and addressing the importance of money in real life. I don’t know, it’s always appealed to me, as somebody that knows how much it sucks to be poor. (And I love Everclear too. One of my first favorite bands!)

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