Friday, July 09, 2010

Breathe into a paper bag moment of the day

At one of my newspapers, I sit in a cluster of 4 desks: the Navy guy, the Crime guy, the Education guy and me. We all write a bit more broadly than these categories, but for bloggy simplicity we'll go with that, OK?

I like them all and consider them all good at what they do. The Education guy started out at my job, years ago, so although I do not know what he earns, I know it is at least several thousand dollars per year more than I get.

Today, Education Guy realized that on his income, his 2 children qualify for free school lunches (for non-local readers: here we determine that based on a combination of household income and family size. So, the larger your family, and the lower your income, the more likely you are to qualify for assistance).

He looked so completely disheartened. I mean, this week he canceled cable TV, because it was getting expensive, and started applying for part-time jobs as a cashier or pizza delivery guy, for the extra income, but with the hours he works (Like all of us, more than 40 hours--he works a LOT more than 40, actually, but of course none of us is allowed to admit that on our time sheets) he's not sure when he can fit that in.

I think it had not REALLY hit him, though, until he saw that, today.

His family is officially below the poverty line.

And, yes, as Education guy, he interviews people every day who make more than he ever will, and who complain relentlessly about their poor compensation.

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