Being Poor Makes You Trendy By Default

Phew! Well not writing for almost ANOTHER month was REALLY tough, and I would have held out until May 19 (a REAL full month from my last post) but I just couldn’t hold my breath anymore. I attribute this to Will Burch, mostly.

I will attribute my lack of a post AGAIN to not having the Internet for quite a while. This is, Loyal Reader, because my dear friend James B. Hale and I moved into a new apartment (and the crowd goes wild). It’s a sweet, old building from the 1920s, the carpet is brown with plenty of traffic wear and tear, a brown panel chair rail in the kitchen and some pine-like wooden towel rack fixtures in the bathroom that are exactly the same as the ones I had in my bathroom growing up. The paint has lead in it, the doors don’t close the whole way and the bathroom spigot regulates temperature in reverse. I can’t tell you how much it reminds me of home. Problem from previous post = SOLVED.

We finally got Internet in the apartment after a little while, and the whole moving process took up some time, so all five of you who have been checking back religiously for a new post can just lump it. (But don’t. Please keep reading. I need you.)

We decided — along with getting the WWW here — that we would not get cable TV. And what is so utterly wonderful about that (in a Diane Rehm kind of way) is that not having cable is the trendiest thing you can do these days. And of course, we should understand, that “not having cable” will mean “not being able to afford cable.” We may substitute any of the subjects of the following paragraphs in that clause, with the understanding that, if we had the money, we would have the cable.

Why is not having cable trendy?

A) Netflix — DUH. Pay $9 a month and get access to all your favorite TV shows and movies after your friends and family have stopped talking about them? Sign me up!
B) HBO GO — Are your parents rich enough to have HBO? Then steal their email address and give yourself HBO GO. Pay no money and have access to cutting edge shows like “The Wire” and “The Sopranos” years after they are relevant? Hand me the pen! Or don’t, because I’d like to piggy-back off of my parents contractual obligations without any actual responsibility for as long as humanly possible.
C) The phrase: “Oh, well, we don’t have TV, so…” It is the most gratifying thing to say. The listener doesn’t know you’re too cheap to ante up for DVR, they just think you spend too much time reading to make “Say Yes To The Dress” a part of your life. Luckily, they cannot see your Netflix queue.

There are a number of other trendy things that being poor allows you to take part in.

  • Vegetarianism/Veganism/”Eating Less Meat” = Meat is the most expensive thing in the grocery store. Besides booze. But let’s not be hasty. Not having money and having read “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” makes you one of the coolest culinary hipsters around. “It’s all corn anyway, man,” you glib, crying inside at the smell of your friend’s classic single with cheese.
  • Not buying new clothes. Why buy into the corporate machine when someone else already has? Buying someone’s old, ugly used clothes and refashioning them into something that makes other people feel bad about how uncool their own clothes are is the best revenge on your friends that make more money than you.
  • Anti-Smart Phone Smart Ass-ness:
    “Oh? You have an iPhone? You pay $40 a month for your data plan? Do you KNOW how many children you could feed for $40 a month??”
    “Can I play Angry Birds on your iPad?”
    “Yeah, sure.”
    (This last one is really just a joke. All hipsters have iPhones. Only real poor people still have LG Chocolates.)

So now you have it. Being poor makes you awesome. Now everybody go out and start working for non-profits and TV stations so the cost of iPhones eventually goes down and I can finally get one.

Also, here’s a picture I sent to my mom for Mother’s Day as a part of a photo tour of the new apartment. It includes the aforementioned bathroom fixtures. Amen.

Not actually using the WC here. Just an act.


4 thoughts on “Being Poor Makes You Trendy By Default

  1. I totally feel you. I almost understand hipsters when I get the feeling of proud satisfaction from saying “I don’t watch TV” or “I don’t have cable”. And then proceed to use my friend’s netflix account to watch videos on demand. 😀

  2. Admit it though, doesn’t it feel great to be blogging again? I had forgotten how much I missed it. I’m glad to hear that you and Jimmy B. are making a go of it, even if it means you are both on facebook less often…

    The economics of hipsterdom are fascinating. I wonder, then, if poverty hipsters are totally different from trust fund hipsters, or do you really have to be poor to be hip, and trust fund hipsters are just performing poverty for the gang at the local co-op (I cant decide if that last collection of words is a question or a statement, so I’m going to punctuate it both ways).?

    Welcome back, IdaHo.

    • A) I love you.
      B) I can’t decide either. To suggest that a trust fund hipster is unhip is to define hipsterness by economics at its very core. I don’t know if I’m ready to be that limiting. I think that being poor is a convenient gateway to things that the trust fund babies do in a more expensive way. Does one have more merit? Maybe. But let us remember that “hipster” is not the same as “hippIE” and, I think, not so driven against consumerism. In fact, I think hipsters allow themselves to be blissfully unaware of such things (i.e., why they all have iPhones).

      The idea of “performing poverty” is a fascinating one, and I think you’re on to something there. But I don’t want to entirely refute what I just said, so I’m going to go with something like: Being a hipster is more about simplicity, and maybe even more about laziness. And I think that’s in the face of “art.” Oh, you haven’t shaved for 10 days? Well not only do you have a rockin’ beard, but you also have had more time to download music and make your own cheese.

      Ya know? I’m not sure if that’s right but it feels kinda okay.

  3. Pingback: My Own Private Pocatello

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