Grits Ain't Groceries
No sugar tonight in my tea
--No Sugar Tonight, The Guess Who
Keep behind me.
There's no sense in getting killed by a plant
--The Day of the Triffids (1962)
Dr. Harold Medford: We may be witnessing a Biblical prophecy
come true -- "And there shall be destruction and darkness
come upon creation and the beasts will reign over the earth."
Recent grocery bills have averaged $80. Shopping for one, and not varying the gatherings much week to week, a few months ago an average day's tab was $40. So the cost of an average grocery trip has effectively doubled in that period of time. The cost rises consistently every trip. Not a one-shot deal, not a comfort food blowout experience.
Eating well, but simply, no prepared foods and only staples are purchased. Milk has gone from $2.50 to $3.50 a half gallon. Butter, eggs and honey have seen similar rises. $80 for one day, and with more than one trip to the grocer per week, that tops out at over $100 weekly. To put this in perspective, $80 is almost an entire month's allotment of food stamps for a single individual household (In Florida, that figure is $104/month.)
To head the mean-spirited off at the pass, who will argue that those collecting food stamps should be working: what if you are working, but are still too poor to provide for all the barest essentials of a life? What if you are disabled, someone who once paid taxes, but can not do so at the moment.
This must be apparent to others. The following via email is from a legitimate website:
"Did you know that about 25,000 people die each day from hunger? And sadly, most are children.
"It is our duty to help those in need. But it can be difficult knowing where to start. Well, I have a fun way for you to help fight hunger.
"At FreeRice, you can play a vocabulary game. For each correct answer, 10 grains of rice are donated to the World Food Program. The rice is then distributed to those in need."
Should one laugh or cry after reading this tripe. This is a do-gooder website, which occasionally calls for sending goody bags to the troops, but it all amounts to feel-good gestures. I cannot feel good about sending a goody bag to a troop who may get his head shot off the next day. The only genuine act is to work to stop the madness.
"I support the troops, but not the war" makes no sense. The troops are the war. How does one support the agents of an action that is reprehensible? Playing little word games to send 10 grains of rice to a starving person is an obscenity.
Other must be noticing this. We are not all trust fund babies. There are those of us who do not have stock options. Wages do not accelerate at such a pace. Subsidies like food stamps see no such commensurate increase.
When rapper Jay-Z notices the problem, and features euros, rather than greenbacks in a video, and a model requests to be paid in denominations other than the USD, things are not good for the homeland.
An acquaintance noted a while back how overweight many of those who must use food stamps often are, suggesting that they must be living high off the hog to gain such girth. Actually, no.
It costs money to stay lean and healthy. The cheapest foods are processed carbohydrates and cheap fats and oils. These people are fat because eating those foods are the cheapest way to buy calories.
Many states, including Florida, laud the decreasing food stamp roles as an indicator of a more robust economy. Actually not -- it is an indicator that the qualification process has become more draconian, so less folks bother to try for them, out of frustration or inability.
Dr. Harold Medford in the classic Them! echoes the call of many of my Christian conservative contacts. [ Religions, like good sci-fi, create mythologies, so the connection seems relevant.] They see the showdown in the Holy land as being prophesied in their Bible, and therefore, necessary. What they fail to realize is that we create and manifest our expectations.
Christians feel fairly confident that they shall be in the number when the saints go marching in. But they might have missed the possibility that the beasts who shall reign triumphant over the earth might just be us.