Gut Rumbles

February 06, 2005

the underclass

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!!!

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."


These days it is easier to cry "VICTIM" and receive a handout.

Posted by: rightisright on February 6, 2005 10:54 AM

No, it's not an underclass. It's a voting block. If we could just get more people dependent on the gov't, then we'll always have all the votes we'll ever need.

Posted by: Dash on February 6, 2005 12:31 PM

There is something in what you say. I'm working with homeless people for nearly six years now and it is roughly one in 50 motivated enough to change things for themselves. I started off this job with pretty liberal views, now I think the UK is in serious need of Welfare Reforms in line with those in the US.

Posted by: Nelly on February 6, 2005 01:53 PM

Have you written any novellas, novels, etc. about your growing up?

Posted by: Kim on February 6, 2005 04:50 PM

When looking for a place to retire, I was in the parking lot of a wonderful public golf course in a New Mexico town. I struck up a conversation with a local. Eventually I asked if they had a crime problem, because I had seen a lot of police cars parked in driveways as I drove around looking at neighborhoods.
"No problems at all, unless you want to go looking for trouble on Fri. or Sat. night at the local bars." Been there, seen that. It's the underclass "entertainment".

Posted by: Dan Pursel on February 7, 2005 12:05 AM
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