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Old December 12th, 2012, 12:59 PM   #51

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Reasonable? I can't start being reasonable at my time of life

I got my lucky break by being the argumentative, fearless (read: brainless) bastard I am. Of course, I've had a lot of UNLUCKY breaks, too, but that's another story.

I was working at the university of North Wales, Bangor. As a gardener/Groundsman. If it's green and more than 4 inches high and is not a tree, cut it down. Being North Wales, most of it was practically vertical, so cutting grass was very hard work in summer. I used to hide behind a convenient house for a smoke and a bloke in a shirt and tie used to come out and join me. We used to discuss current affairs, history..... and had a few friendly arguments. One day he said to me "If you're so bloody clever, why don't you come here [the University] and do a degree?".

I pointed out that I left school with no more than a few CSEs (I don't know what the American equivalent is, but a CSE was a "certificate of secondary education". A basic qualification). I hated school.

Next time I saw him, he gave me a letter and told me to take it to the head of History department. I did, and he asked if I was literate (and I was). He then told me that Professor.... (the man I'd been arguing history with!) was very impressed with me, and so that's how I got into University in 1994. Graduated with a 2.1 in 1997. Which plainly elevated me above gardener, not that there's anything wrong with gardeners.

Now, I see this primarily as luck. It was lucky I'm an argumentative sort, it was lucky that I argued with this man and not someone else, and it was lucky that he obviously got on with the head of department etc.

But If I said "Lazy scrounging bastard benefit cheating underclass scum! Go and argue with a university lecturer when you should be cutting grass! That's how I did it! I never had any luck, oh no, I went there and I smoked and I argued....blah blah blah...".

Wouldn't you all think I was talking complete nonsense and my advice utterly irrelevant? Fully deserving a kick in the 'nads.
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Old December 12th, 2012, 01:36 PM   #52

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Originally Posted by BrowniesRule View Post
I didn't say anything was wrong with the assumption, it's probably what happens in some cases. But I don't think single parent families constitute a perfectly homogeneous group with a fixed trajectory, so it's hard for me to conceive that being a single parent inevitably lead to poverty. My mother raised me alone and I never lacked anything, and I saw kids at school who had two parents who sent them to school with rags for clothes.
It would be too easy to say that two parents can ask for social assistance and make poverty a standard for their kids and grand-kids.
In my mind, just the fact of being a single parent home does not create or perpetuate poverty as much as other factors, be it bad individual choices, the lack of choices (as in being victim of your surroundings), or plain bad luck. But as you're probably aware, it's very hard to generalize because there are so many variables to take into account.
In that mind frame, we can question ourselves forever as to who kills the man who smokes; the cigarette or his use of the cigarette.
Your correct in that single family households are not a homogenous group with a fixed trajectory. I am a single father providing for a daughter. I grew up in poverty and have lived in such for most of my life. It is a frame of mind that sets single family households apart. I do not consider myself to be in poverty despite my current earnings. I pay rent at a decent place, I have managed to afford a decent vehicle, small sailboat, nice motorcylce and can afford many of the activities I think my child deserves to experience for the sake of growth. I am also working two jobs part time, a mentor, and pursuing a degree full time. I am also in the National Guard, which was a huge stepping stone, even in my early 30's, to learning a bit more about integrity within life; and it added a financial 'jump' . Essentially, my parents didn't set me up with the right life skills and have caused my siblings and I to suffer for it. I, after years of wrong choices, was finally able pull myself up, change my victims mentality and work towards enhancing my talents. Now, I am not writing all this to say "look what I can do", but to show how much came out of so little to create the pursuit of success (an opportunity), though not necssarily by the financial definition. I am pursuing the life of a school teacher and there isn't a great deal of wealth to be made there. I measure success a bit differently, and based on my accomplishments, am very successful despite being on a student budget. I will set my child up for success so as not to repeat or model what many in society are currently doing. My goal is to be well enough established so I will not have to rely on benefits or the finances of a spouse. I will not be rich, but will live well enough within my means so life is not horribly difficult. Good thread!
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Old December 12th, 2012, 01:42 PM   #53

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I agree absolutely 100% that success has many definitions, and I don't consider financial success to be important. It's certainly not the measure of the man or woman.

I'd sooner meet a good, interesting poor person than a rich, objectionable arrogant prick. There are plenty of the latter.
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Old December 12th, 2012, 01:47 PM   #54

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Originally Posted by Linschoten View Post
It is simple cause and effect, many one-parent families result from poorly educated women having children whom they are unable to support, and having to live on welfare, or work part-time in ill-paid jobs. They are bound to be living on very limited means ('poverty' is a relative term). Increasing welfare payments doesn't help much, and isn't practical in any case in the present economic circumstances; indeed, the problem is partly a result of the availabilty of welfare, which saves people from having to take responsibility for their own actions.
Not sure whether poorly educated is part of it or just plain daft. I knew that a having a child was a huge deal when I was 8, you'd have to be spectacularly ignorant to actually want one prior to 20 in this day and age due to the expense and support. Kids will take over your life and if you split you're lumbered with a child and any future relationships will suffer because not many people will want to commit to someone else's child. This has always been utterly and blatantly obvious to me, I find it hard to believe that others don't realise it.

Which, incidentally, is why I don't have any kids yet. If you go into a relationship with the best interests then fair enough, but you can hardly expect a lifelong relationship, children and marriage at 17.
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Old December 12th, 2012, 01:50 PM   #55

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Originally Posted by Black Dog View Post
Reasonable? I can't start being reasonable at my time of life

I got my lucky break by being the argumentative, fearless (read: brainless) bastard I am. Of course, I've had a lot of UNLUCKY breaks, too, but that's another story.

I was working at the university of North Wales, Bangor. As a gardener/Groundsman. If it's green and more than 4 inches high and is not a tree, cut it down. Being North Wales, most of it was practically vertical, so cutting grass was very hard work in summer. I used to hide behind a convenient house for a smoke and a bloke in a shirt and tie used to come out and join me. We used to discuss current affairs, history..... and had a few friendly arguments. One day he said to me "If you're so bloody clever, why don't you come here [the University] and do a degree?".

I pointed out that I left school with no more than a few CSEs (I don't know what the American equivalent is, but a CSE was a "certificate of secondary education". A basic qualification). I hated school.

Next time I saw him, he gave me a letter and told me to take it to the head of History department. I did, and he asked if I was literate (and I was). He then told me that Professor.... (the man I'd been arguing history with!) was very impressed with me, and so that's how I got into University in 1994. Graduated with a 2.1 in 1997. Which plainly elevated me above gardener, not that there's anything wrong with gardeners.

Now, I see this primarily as luck. It was lucky I'm an argumentative sort, it was lucky that I argued with this man and not someone else, and it was lucky that he obviously got on with the head of department etc.

But If I said "Lazy scrounging bastard benefit cheating underclass scum! Go and argue with a university lecturer when you should be cutting grass! That's how I did it! I never had any luck, oh no, I went there and I smoked and I argued....blah blah blah...".

Wouldn't you all think I was talking complete nonsense and my advice utterly irrelevant? Fully deserving a kick in the 'nads.


Well done, you must have impressed the prof a fair bit. A 2:1 is a good result too.
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Old December 12th, 2012, 01:53 PM   #56

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Originally Posted by Black Dog View Post
Reasonable? I can't start being reasonable at my time of life

I got my lucky break by being the argumentative, fearless (read: brainless) bastard I am. Of course, I've had a lot of UNLUCKY breaks, too, but that's another story.

I was working at the university of North Wales, Bangor. As a gardener/Groundsman. If it's green and more than 4 inches high and is not a tree, cut it down. Being North Wales, most of it was practically vertical, so cutting grass was very hard work in summer. I used to hide behind a convenient house for a smoke and a bloke in a shirt and tie used to come out and join me. We used to discuss current affairs, history..... and had a few friendly arguments. One day he said to me "If you're so bloody clever, why don't you come here [the University] and do a degree?".

I pointed out that I left school with no more than a few CSEs (I don't know what the American equivalent is, but a CSE was a "certificate of secondary education". A basic qualification). I hated school.

Next time I saw him, he gave me a letter and told me to take it to the head of History department. I did, and he asked if I was literate (and I was). He then told me that Professor.... (the man I'd been arguing history with!) was very impressed with me, and so that's how I got into University in 1994. Graduated with a 2.1 in 1997. Which plainly elevated me above gardener, not that there's anything wrong with gardeners.

Now, I see this primarily as luck. It was lucky I'm an argumentative sort, it was lucky that I argued with this man and not someone else, and it was lucky that he obviously got on with the head of department etc.

But If I said "Lazy scrounging bastard benefit cheating underclass scum! Go and argue with a university lecturer when you should be cutting grass! That's how I did it! I never had any luck, oh no, I went there and I smoked and I argued....blah blah blah...".

Wouldn't you all think I was talking complete nonsense and my advice utterly irrelevant? Fully deserving a kick in the 'nads.
If you made that claim I could definitely kick you in the nads!

Sailorguy, well done and my hats off to you for taking care of your kid and not being shallow minded as many are. I agree, success is not all about money and material posessions. I define success in a different way also. I would rather be in a loving relationship, appreciated for who I am, happy and poor. Rather than rich and unloved - except for my 'status' in society (which is completely shallow and nothing to do with love).
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Old December 12th, 2012, 01:53 PM   #57

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Originally Posted by Black Dog View Post
I agree absolutely 100% that success has many definitions, and I don't consider financial success to be important. It's certainly not the measure of the man or woman.

I'd sooner meet a good, interesting poor person than a rich, objectionable arrogant prick. There are plenty of the latter.

I also concur, unfortunately the general mouth breathing populace are led to believe that the only way of being successful is having shedloads of cash. Material value and all that, innit.

Drive around a council estate in a big red ferarri and some blonde sort in the passenger seat screaming "Look at me everyone! I am somebody!"

Better to have riches not to work and do what you enjoy, not to work to have riches.

People are under the impression that they can buy the happiness from money and power, unfortunately young ladies appear to hold this material dream in the highest regard. If you've got a flash car and a big house it does impress people, that's the sad reality.
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Old December 12th, 2012, 01:55 PM   #58

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I find it hard to believe that others don't realise it.
That is the kind of point I was making earlier. Not everyone has had your life and thinks like you do.
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Old December 12th, 2012, 01:56 PM   #59

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Originally Posted by Earl_of_Rochester View Post
If you've got a flash car and a big house it does impress people, that's the sad reality.
I agree, yet I must say, it does not impress me in the slightest.
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Old December 12th, 2012, 02:05 PM   #60

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I agree, yet I must say, it does not impress me in the slightest.
Quite so, and I think there are plenty of other nice people out there too who are capable of looking beyond material possessions and status.
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