By: Revanche

I’ll take Bootstrapping for $400 please, Alex

January 31, 2012

There’s a blogger who frequents another very popular PF blogger’s site and comments in a way that reminds me of another person who used to squat on generally popular blogs: All Financial Matters, Single Ma’s blog, I can’t remember where else, but definitely at least those two, named Minimum Wage. Does anyone remember MW? I can’t recall if MW was male or female but MW was a down and outer, and ze was determined to crap on everyone and everywhere. It did not matter what the conversation was, ze had something negative to say:

“I wish I had that kind of money.”
“I wish someone would give me that kind of job/salary/bonus/promotion/praise. I’ve been working for minimum wage for the past XYZ years…..”
“I wish I could have that kind of vacation. I haven’t had a day off since …..”
“I wish I could have that kind of car. I can’t even drive a working car because ….”
“I wish that was my life. Must be nice.
“I wish I could have retirement savings – boy I wish I could even think about retiring someday, I will never get to retire because all I make is less than [wait for it] minimum wage and I will never get out of this rut and life.”

Sunny, hm? And the second anyone made the slightest move toward asking after what MW did or made in the hopes of offering any sort of suggestions that MW might use to lessen the plight, WELL.  You might well have spit in MW’s face.

Eventually MW faded off the scene in some way, but today I discovered that one of our fellow PF bloggers has a rather pestilent commenter who is persistent in crapping all over his blog and while I’d noted the name once or twice before, I didn’t realize ze had a blog of zir own.  Curious whether there was something more behind this person, I tarried for a moment and found that actually, this person was only a couple years younger than me and my.. my oh my oh my oh my.  This was rather a prime example of the sort of personality that the older generations tut tut at and say: we’re screwed.  As a dear friend said: FAIL.

So very much of the blogger’s posts were just for lack of a less kind word: whining. The blog seethed with entitlement.

For example: A very small debt had blossomed some multiples beyond the original principal because ze hadn’t paid and eventually ended up going to court and settled against zir.  Ze has decided that there’s no gain to be had in paying it. So ze refuses.

Ze also refuses to work a full work week because ze “hates zir job”. Ze won’t find a better job (“can’t”), so instead presumably mopes about but defines the remaining time in the week as time for doing stuff like chores or exercise or blogging. Anything but working or going to school. Those latter two are definitely not on the list. And so ze declares zir job and loathesome bloggers who are successful in life and making any better salaries in any way, those despicable people who have found a way and means, anathema.  They and the people who patronize zir job are brats.  Ze cannot be one, of course, because ze has no means, the lack thereof clearly demonstrated by the poorness of which ze is plagued.

At this point, I lost my mind a little.  I very nearly left a comment.  Really? Ze is not a brat?  REALLY??  Ze works hours that wouldn’t qualify as half a job’s time, can’t be bothered to plaster a fake smile on zir face, and openly scorns doing that much and the rest of the world that shuts up and puts up??  And has the nerve to hide behind the lesbian card? The people of color card? The woman card?

Throw ’em on the table. Throw them all on the table. Anything else you got?  Oh, “lives with your parent” was the concession. Well that’s neither here nor there in the game of brattiness.

Well, here’s a little PSA. Brats come in all genders, drive all kinds of vehicles, are present in every economic band. It’s all in the attitude toward others and willingness to put everyone else down as “Other” and say that they’re just not going to put up with any kind of anything from anyone because they will be treated precisely one kind of way from only THIS sort of people.

Brats certainly are the people that you don’t like here but they are, alas, not so far away as all that from the picture you have painted of yourself. And being abusive is only half a step away from inviting and creating an abusive environment.

It’s a shame that you heap such vitriol on bootstrappers when that’s actually the way that most poor people find their way out of poverty. It may be hard to see from their positions now just because they “have so much” and maybe some of their advice rings hollow just because they have anything more than you.

I’m not going to give any advice. I’m just going to say it’s shortsighted, intentionally or not, that you’re dismissing and in fact attacking a group of people who by definition were once much like you.

I worked myself out of relative poverty working 80 and 100 hour weeks for umpteen years, and my parents took more than 20 years before me because they were strangers in a foreign land to start over. That was on top of the 15 years they’d already spent working out a living in their native land. But without fail, 365 days a year, year after year, they put a smile on their faces and went to do whatever jobs they had at the time whether it was picking up after someone else’s animals or children or land or mopping the floors or building a fence or laboring in the sun or rain.

Did they like it? Of course not. Did they want to do it? Of course not. They did it anyway.

Did I like my ridiculous hours? Heck no. Did I want to work 14 hour days? Of course not. But to make sure that the bills were paid and we didn’t carry debt forever, I did it.

And were my clients and shoppers nice to me? [Hysterical Laughter] How many diatribes did I listen to? How many insane people did I encounter? I can’t even begin to remember anymore. (I do remember having the same flipping conversation with the same old man every two weeks for five years straight because he could not remember a thing. We smiled every two weeks.) Does it matter now? No. Because it doesn’t matter in the end. What mattered was that I always did a good job, kept my eye on the important things, got through the days good or bad, and took care of my family so that my physically sick and mentally ill mother did not have to keep working with and listening to the abuse of the bullying crappy coworkers who always had poor attitudes and felt like they were always having a bad day and could take it out on the poor weakest one in the shop.

Not everything goes your way. In fact, very very little ever does without an immense amount of effort. But there is a bigger picture. Whether you can or will or want or don’t see it – that’s your call. I’m a bootstrapper whose family was poorer than dirt and we fought long and hard each and every d*mn day to win against the grind and still fight it every day because life is just not that easy.

The real lesson here isn’t who can make it in life because they worked harder or who can shout “lazy” louder or who has more money. It’s about who has the gumption to try and find the way to be happy because I’ll be darned if there’s a one of us PF bloggers trying as hard as this one to beat Minimum Wage at zir game of Misery.

26 Responses to “I’ll take Bootstrapping for $400 please, Alex”

  1. I remember Minimum Wage! I agree with everything you said here. Some people are born with more privilege than others, some have more resources, and some just got a crummy deal. But in this card game called life, all you can do is to try to play the best you can with the hand you are dealt with. Complaining about your 2’s and 4’s won’t turn them into Queens and Kings. As a society, though, I think we should understand the impact of getting “these low cards.”

    But, understanding the consequences of the impact of where you come from and understanding that there are things you can do to make the best of your situation aren’t mutually exclusive.

  2. Sense says:

    OMG, Yes! I do remember…him? I think it was a very bitter dude (there may have been something about an ex-wife…?). I actually think about MW from time to time and wonder what happened.

    It takes some people some time to get over being a brat and complaining about their situations. I know I’ve come a long, long way, with still a lot more to go. I hope that the person you are referring to learns their lesson eventually, otherwise they will turn into MW for sure. It is true, in the end there are only two choices: buck up and deal with it as best you can, or wallow and stay stuck.

    I’m super inspired by your bootstrappin’ ways, lady!

  3. Fig says:

    I’m glad other people remember Minimum Wage too! I used to hate seeing his comments (I always thought he was an older dude).

    And the new person you are speaking of is just as bad. I read her blog and couldn’t believe how entitled she felt. She thought she deserves all these things without putting forth any effort. I admit to feeling entitled and privileged sometimes but I at least work hard to make things happen for myself. I just can’t understand her desire to have more yet at the same time complaining about how poor she is (and therefore can’t better herself). It’s literally insane.

    I’m inspired by anyone who is bootstrapping their way to a better life like you or the people I know in my own life.

    Great post!

  4. Shelley says:

    I’m grateful to say I’ve not come across either of these people’s comments. There is something particularly ugly about a whinging attitude of entitlement, isn’t there? Imagine being stuck with that stinking pot of resentment whirling around in one’s head! Sort of like drinking vinegar in one’s coffee every morning. And looking at things that way surely creates an almost insurmountable obstacle that wouldn’t otherwise exist. Resentment and anger take a lot of energy that could be so much better used in ways you’ve mentioned. I feel sorry for her ignorance, but I don’t think I would let her pollute my blog; I think I’d delete her comments rather than put up with the stink.

  5. Well said – it’s nice to see someone taking a stand against entitlement

  6. Here’s our recent rant on the subject:

    Though it also irritates me when politicians and reporters blame poor people for being poor, especially kids. If only they’d used the internet more etc. Disadvantaged kids do have to work harder than middle class and 1% kids, and sometimes they don’t have the tools to do that or to even know there’s something better out there in reach. Which is not what you’re describing, but there’s a continuum. It’s the entitled folks who have had some advantages who are the most annoying.

  7. Tom says:

    Wow… that blogger is making the rounds. Unbelievable. I was reading her blog last night and just astounded by her posts. Many commenters offered some harsh criticism but also offered to help. She blew them off of course.

  8. Nicole says:

    Thanks for this post. As a “bootstrapper” myself, it’s a nice reminder to stay positive even when things get me down. The beauty of the PF community for me throughout the years has been that so many offer suggestions and support, and help me to reframe every situation into a challenge instead of a hopeless crush. I’ve dealt with plenty of entitled folks, you just have to brush them off and focus on your own thing because nothing you can tell them will make a difference in their outlook. Thanks for this post – glad I don’t know who you’re talking about!

  9. Revanche says:

    @WH: absolutely we should understand the impact of getting the impact of getting low cards. We should also understand when they really are “low” card and when it’s just BS.

    Not a single one of those cards ze’s crying wolf about are actually insurmountable cdds cards.

    Being a woman isn’t necessarily easy but it doesn’t mean you’d unemployable. Being a person of color in 2012, being homosexual in 2012, heck living at home in 2012, all things that are just obstacles in some ways for some people some times. For other people? It’s actually a banner and a Boon.

    If ze can’t make it work for her, that’s a problem. But it’s not the truly disadvantaged low impact card ze’s making it out to be like never having been aware a basic education could have been obtained, like dental health care makes a difference, like knowing how to read and write are important. Ze claims to have a college degree for crying out loud, but ze’s “too good” (I think the quote might be, I can’t recall) for food service.

    @Sense: I am very surprised more than a couple people remember MW 🙂

    And really I just wrote this to vent my wrath over hearing someone who was really sad, bitter and just mean, then turn around and call people I really identify with some really nasty things because as ze said: they have never been poor, what do they know?

    I came to my senses in time to realize there was no point in my adding my two cent to the fire, better people than me have tried talking to zir.

    @Fig: yeah…

    @Shelley: I was dumbstruck when I read the posts. I am really glad I stopped in time before I commented even though at the time I had good intentions.

    I have no problems with signing anything I wrote but I’m in agreement with you. I would not welcome such a commenter on this site in that state of negativity,

    @traineeinvestor: thanks.

    @nicoleandmaggie: my word verification says I agree with you “harmepho” 🙂

    Ze claims to have higher education but clearly something was missing.

    In any case, lots of entitlement and no self awareness. Train wreck. I won’t be going back or linking of course.

    @Tom: ooph that’s a shame, I thought ze only took up time on the one site was aware of.

  10. RachH says:

    I literally JUST came here after leaving her blog page in disgust. I knew immediately when I saw your entry title what this would be about and my jaw dropped open. Yes. This.

  11. Karen says:

    I remember MW and I am pretty sure I know this one. I get tired of hearing people always make excuses (for any reason).

  12. StackingCash says:

    LOL, it’s been a while since I’ve read your blog. Of course “bootstrapping” caught my eye immediately and I was like uh oh. I think I was on of the first to talk to “ze” on one of my favorite PF bloggers website. I told her to “bootstrap” but in a nicer way. I totally understand where everyone is coming from regarding her fierce comments. I see it in another way that I can relate to. Frustration. Pure and simple, it can bring out the worst in all of us. Even I’m guilty of it. That is why I think I have an easier time understanding “ze” than most others, especially in the PF blogosphere. I disregard her vitriole and try to help in more subtle ways. I’m nice like that 🙂

  13. Wait, is it me?
    This post made me laugh out loud. Seriously. I love it. It also made me think of people on Facebook who do this same type of crap, and I can’t defriend them because they’re my husband’s cousins.
    Anyway, would someone be so kind as to email me the blog being referenced? Because I’m in need of some jaw-dropping today.
    Of course, this girl’s views are going to go through the roof today. Oh well.

  14. SP says:

    I remember MW! I always thought he was a bit of a troll – like, could he REALLY be serious? All the time? Sometimes he pointed out realities that the blogger glossed over (i’m mostly familiar with his comments on simple dollar), but mostly, just seemed to be trying to stir up trouble!

    And the rest of this… yes. Things are unfair, and maybe life is a little hard (still beats the alternative), but trying to improve and make the best of everything is all you can do. I didn’t come from poverty, but I definitely knew how to work from a young age and never thought that I was ringing up people’s groceries for FUN. Work – it’s just what you do. Seriously.

  15. spiffi says:

    I noticed on their recent comment at the other PF site that they said something about having their own blog, but didn’t follow up on it.

    I haven’t figured out why this person read PF blogs – it’s clearly not to get ideas on how to solve their situation – I guess the point is to make comments try to get sympathy?

    I have to keep stopping myself from responding to their comments – I did it once, and basically got insults hurled at me – no point in feeding the troll 😀

  16. Jenn says:

    Please tell me who it is too! (i think it may be a family member)

  17. oilandgarlic says:

    I remember MW, too! I remember him as someone who instinctively brought everyone down with his woe is me attitude.

    I do think that some “bootstrappers” who make it can be very tough on those who don’t, including me! However, I have come to realize that people are just not as gung-ho or talented or lucky. However, it’s really the attitude that bothers me most. I guess what I’m saying is that if even you’re not a natural hustler, you shouldn’t be negative against those who do make it.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I liked and agreed with this post, but find your coyness maddening. Just post the damn blog url. Apparently half your commentators know who it is and others don’t. I is very annoying to read this with no way of finding out for myself what ‘ze’ is all about.


  19. I’m dying to know who this is! Someone please tell me?!

  20. Me too. Who is it? I need to know!!!

  21. OMG! I forgot about pore ole Minimum Wage! Got bored with that particular troll, I guess, and went away.

    And yeah, I always thought s/he was a guy, too. Didn’t s/he say somewhere that s/he was middle-aged, or am I imagining that?

    Welp, it’s a measure of how lazy I’ve been about blogging that I don’t recognize Son of MW. But dang! If you don’t wanna work, SoMW, for hevvinsake find a way to make a living without working. And as soon as you figure it out, tell the rest of us about it.


  22. Revanche says:

    @Nicole: Good to see you again! And you’re too kind but I do feel the same way about the PF community. We’re people of action 🙂

    @RachH: I didn’t realize you were a reader here 🙂 Good timing?

    @Karen: Funny that you do recall, I’m glad the comparison was useful. 🙂

    @StackingCash: Welcome back 🙂 If only she didn’t start namecalling 😉 Or whatever it was, being insulting, I think. We’re not that bad!!

    @Kris: You’re just mean, you are! 🙂 And your comment? This is why I can’t have Facebook 😀

    @SP: Yes, a reality check is useful but the ALL BAD ALL THE TIMEness was … well. Yeah.

    New tagline, anyone?

    @spiffi: One of the two reasons I didn’t actually post the comment.

    @oilandgarlic: Yes, I have mellowed over the years myself because I know that not everyone can make it, with or without help. I used to be harder on people because I was willing to help them in any way they needed but realized that they weren’t willing to do the work, go the distance and make it to the end, they just wanted the help and no more.

    Now I’m only moral help and nothing more for those sorts of people, and I will only extend any more help (and therefore expectations) to those people who extend more effort.

    @jesinalbuquerque: I explain in my post today why I wouldn’t link to the blogger in question but I also had no idea that this many people would know (or CARE) who it was. If you want to know, I’m happy to tell you by email. Just email me.

    @FaM: I <3 you.

  23. Monique says:

    You said exactly what I tried to say on “ze’s” post…but a lot nicer!

  24. Now I’m starting to wonder if she’s a troll that’s out to fluster all of us. Seems almost staged to frustrate. I won’t be reading her again.

  25. I had forgotten about MW as well. He had taken to my blog quite a bit. I didn’t mind his comments too much. For some reason, I don’t remember him being as bad on my site than other sites.

    Fortunately, I seem to have escaped this new person.

  26. […] to be the hardest working. With that kind of heritage, that kind of cultural past, I could hardly cop out by making excuses, could […]

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