Let’s say I’m down to my last dime? Let’s also say that I have to make that dime go as far as I can seeing as it represents the totality of my remaining financial resources. What would I buy? Not much probably, seeing as a dime doesn’t go as far as it used to. I’m not even sure I could buy a gumball with a dime today. So here I am down to my last dime. Let’s also say that you too are down to your last dime. Are you anxious? Scared? Or are you exhilarated, confident, sure that you can turn that dime into a fortune? If you’re the latter, I’ll be wanting some of the magic dust you’ve been huffing. I’d also be curious to know how, with such confidence and aplomb, you came to have a total net worth of ten cents. But I digress.
Back to our predicament, or at least to me, it would undoubtedly feel predicament-ish. Do you have a safety net…family with means, friends, standing by to catch you if you fall, people who care? If so perhaps being down to your last dime is difficult for your pride or ego, but not a threat to your health or safety. If that is the case then ‘lucky you.’ Let’s say for the sake of argument that I have a safety net too, puts us on an even footing as we walk this road of destitution. But if we both have a safety net, I submit that we’re not truly down to our last dime. We have the social circumstance of connectedness which we may very likely take for granted day to day. However, that to which we may give little thought, that which seems ‘normal’ to us… is not normal for everyone. If you don’t believe me spend a few minutes researching “poverty” on the internet…wow!
How does one determine the value of a safety net? Unless one actually ‘falls’ the net may as well not exist. Without a slip, a stumble, mistake, calamity, wrong turn, poor choice, bad luck… you get the picture, a safety net is conceptual,. It’s an idea. Does having it help you sleep better at night? I never thought about mine until now…now that I’m down to my last dime… suddenly it’s all I can think about. How grateful I am that people care enough about me to reach out to catch me should I fall.
Back to the notion of “normal.” What if our ‘normal’ was “safety-net-free”? What if this was indeed the last dime. What if by some twist of fate we were falling through the cracks, and no one noticed? How would that last dime feel between your fingers? How would the world around you look as you held it? How would you spend that last dime? Would you find yourself entering a shop meekly asking the clerk to change your dime for ten pennies? Would you find a wishing well? Would you stand there and earnestly make ten consecutive wishes that somehow you would be saved from this fate before you walked away to sleep under a bridge that night? I might!