Gut Rumbles

May 03, 2007

The underclass

Originally published February 6, 2005

I was raised in a coal mining camp in Harlan County, Kentucky. That place was so far back in the mountains that they had to PUMP sunshine in there. Everything was black with coal dust. I recall a happy childhood, but I'll bet Michael Moore could make a film up there showing what an absolute hell-hole it was.

Everybody lived in the camp. The mining company built the houses and they charged low rent to stay in them. Plus, you could buy coal for $2 a ton and have it delivered right into the bin in the basement. A coal bin was a great place to play. Get dirty and then get spanked for playing in the coal bin. I did it many times.

But the camp had its own pecking order. My daddy was a supervisor, so we lived on "Front Row," right next to the highway. That was a status symbol. The farther back you lived from the highway, the lower your status on the mining camp totem pole. Bejus help you if you lived on "Back Alley," down by the river at the rear of the camp. That was the fucking ghetto of a COAL MINING CAMP.

Just use your imagination and think about that for a while. I was not allowed to play with kids from "Back Alley" because they all had lice and they would steal. It wasn't pretty back yonder.

Guess who lived there? The lazy, the drunk, the unreliable, the promiscuous, the unemployed and the slackards, that's who. They didn't WANT anything better, or they could have had it--- because nobody HAD to live on "Back Alley." Those people CHOSE to. And they lived like pigs.

I think I learned back then that we'll ALWAYS have an underclass because some people choose to live that way. No government program is going to change the lazy bastards. We're talking silk purse and sow's ear. Ain't gonna happen.

But you don't have to be stupid and you don't have to blame all your problems on some kind of conspiracy. YOU CHOOSE!!!
[Ed. News article no longer available.]

I'm not saying that life is fair and that all men and wimmen are treated equally in the workplace. Life is about as unfair as things get, and if you expect level ground, you're gonna trip and fall. But you just have to accept that fact. Opportunity surrounds you if you want it.

If you want to live on "Back Alley," go right ahead. Just don't say that it's MY fault that you're there, 'cause it aint. We're ALWAYS going to have an underslass in society simply because some people opt to live that way. No education, no work ethic and no sense of responsibility aren't great tools for success in life. Follow that path and you end up on "Back Alley."

Your sex or your skin color doesn't matter in this simple equation. If you learn, you work and you behave responsibly, you may not become a millionaire. Hell, you may not even be happy.

But you won't be living on "Back Alley."


But there are different 'Back Alleys'. Under pure capitalism they must be hell. But many (european) countries have social networks.
This means that the gummint pays the rent, provides clothing and pays a wage-substitute.
And so the lazy ones find it a cushy deal, not having to exert themselves in any way, but getting by just as well as those trying to get OFF black aley by slaving away in a minimum-wage job.

Unfair? Yes.
But no, I don't have a solution.


Posted by: Stu Savory on May 3, 2007 01:26 PM
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