SNAP Judgements and why I'm not a fan. A Rant on Food Stamps.

Tomorrow’s breakfast and lunch are both put together. Birthday debauchery day is done, and thanks to BUREAUCRACY! I’m staring at a month sans Link assistance—meaning $35/10 days is the food budget until they fix it. (You don’t live on minimum wage—you scrape.) Luckily the problem is fixable in 2 weeks and I played Stockpile this month, so I have a nice little stash of frozen meat and meat-alikes packed for just such an emergency.

I hear people all the time griping about people gaming the system, and I will admit, the system does have a few huge, glaring flaws—but most of the complaining I hear is ‘Oh, this person bought a bag of chips and a peach soda, they don’t NEED that program’ and not on the real problems, which is the people you catch trafficking their benefits for an equivalent amount of things that aren’t eligible. While for some this can include drugs and alcohol, it just as often involves things like diapers and straight out cash.

I’ve seen it. People I know have been there. (I was always too paranoid to do it, even if it meant I was going without the meds that kept my foot from being one giant blister.) And while there needs to be some reform to the system, griping when a guy buys a Twinkie—wait, those don’t exist…OK, an apple pie—and a Red Bull instead of some celery and a bit of meat? That solves nothing.

What people do not seem to realize is that SNAP benefits—the formal name for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps—are not meant to be the sole source of food. They’re there as much needed assistance—as I said earlier, you don’t live on minimum wage you scrape.

“But Rai!” I hear you say. “Why would a single woman even need such things?”

I’ll tell you!


Congratulations! You’re me on payday! You skip into the building to pick up your paycheck (Let’s call it weird and say that you have the day off for some unknown reason). Timing couldn’t be better, since rent’s also due this week (we’ll assume the beginning of the month). You open the envelope to discover that you have—oh, generous hours—$360 to work with. Sounds nice, right? Keep in mind that this is an atypical check. Maybe the great Dogakittenspacewestern Con was in town.

Got the check still? Good. Let’s run along, shall we, to the bank/grocer. You deposit the whole damn thing, because you’re paranoid about losing cash. All transactions will be on a card now.

  • Your rent’s due! That’s $170. But there’s a $5 service fee for the secured money order. You’re down to $185 now—which hurts, and you try not to think about that as you put the rent money order in your wallet.
  • A text message pops off—your phone bill is due in four minutes (ok, maybe an exaggeration, but it IS due that day). You reply to the message and pay the bill—the dollar sign with wings flies off of your screen as $61 leaves your clutches. You’re down to $124, now.
  • Did you remember the bus pass? If not, now’s the only time you’ve got! For a month, that’s $72 bucks! You now have $52 to work with. Now the only thing left–
  • –is light bill—oh. Wait. You’re four bucks short, actually. If it wasn’t for the fact that you put that $5 from your tips in with the paycheck, you wouldn’t be able to pay that $58 bastard.

You begin the month on a loss, therefore, before you’ve bought so much as a bag of chips and a bottle of vitamin c-fortified punch to keep your blood sugar from dragging its busted-up legs across the ground just to beg you for a morsel.

…you’d be screwed if it wasn’t for that program now.

Next paycheck is more forgiving—you have paid off the biggest bills—but it would’ve been dicey.

Now keep in mind that there are people who want to discontinue this program. All because they got cheesed off that someone bought something that wasn’t leafy green with their benefits/assistance.

Go ahead. Discontinue. Opt out. But what the HELL am I supposed to do?

Don’t pass blanket judgements based on one person. You don’t know what they’re coming from, what they’re trying to do. The guy who just bought Doritos and Monster Zero-Cal Energy Drink on his card might’ve just spent the last of his cash on his meds.

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Letting old male fogies control my body: why it's bullshit.

I occasionally jump in on things that my friends on Facebook have weighed in on. Today, a person was lamenting that their now ex-girlfriend has apparently gone on birth control (referred to hereafter as BC) when she apparently wasn’t before. The original poster seemed to be, to put it bluntly, rather butthurt about the whole deal: he bought into the conservative fallacy of being on BC = promiscuity.

In all likelihood, the odds are she was on it in the first place, so I took a devil’s advocate position on the whole thing, explaining that hormonal contraception is used not only for contraception, but also a form of HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) for reproductive issues.

I for one went on birth control around the time right after seeing my now on-again first boyfriend: mostly because it would give me relief from the migraines. (What they don’t tell you about it? YOU GET MOAR BEWBS.) The fact that it gave me free license to jump his bones (didn’t happen, I kept getting cockblocked) was a bonus.

The point is, there’s more than one reason to go on BC. And that decision should be up to the woman in question. NOT a bunch of white-haired old men who think that the body has ways to shut down unwanted pregnancies as in the case of incest and [trigger word redacted]. The fact is, most of the government trying to regulate what we do to our bodies are men—who therefore have a barely-working knowledge of how making babies work in the first place—Todd Akin, anybody?—and don’t seem to bother with science at all. Look at the conservatives’ positions on the subject, and you see a lot of DIVINE VIRTUE and GOD’S WILL and ABOMINATION AGAINST NATURE and AGAINST THE HOLY WORD!

You don’t see…what’s it called—oh, right. SCIENCE. You don’t see the medical experts’ views. You don’t see doctors. You don’t see internists. YOU DON’T SEE WOMEN. Or at least, you don’t see women when you’re not looking inside of Mitt Romney’s infamous binders. Pretty much, the one segment of the population that has anything to do with this whole thing is being silenced. The right to do to our bodies what we want to do, even in cases of improvement of our own health, we’re stuck under the thumb of conservative pols and the damn Church.

And I’m not comfortable with a bunch of old men who won’t let girls join their club trying to tell me what to do with my own huevos internales at every chance they get.

An ancient institution should not be taking the place of a trained medical professional. Church, I don’t turn around and tell you how to massage your prostates. Don’t tell me how to make my ovaries behave, and DON’T go around sticking lighted wands all up in the Promised Land just because you think that a cluster of cells that has not yet even developed a rudimentary nervous system should have sole control over what I do.

That isn’t pro-life. That’s pro-birth. After the birth, where are these people? “Oh, we’re not going to provide assistance to you, you should have known better than to get pregnant in the first place. Oh, and spermicides and condoms and stuff like that is also the devil so no you can’t have it unless you want to go to hell and you don’t want that now do you, silly woman?”

We’re not baby machines. Stop treating us like baby machines. Get out of our laws. For fuck’s sake, start treating women like PEOPLE, you old dustbags. Until then, I’ll just travel about until I can get the medical help I need for my hormonal issue.

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As if I needed another reason to despise people.

So the new year begins and it’s going to be better than the first, right?

FUCKING. WRONG.

I began the year with a fucking misdemeanor.


I get on the bus and get a ticket—as ill luck would have it I don’t have a pass yet. So that’s $3 bucks spent right there to get home. To give you an idea how bad that is, it’s $6 a day to get to and from work. Assuming I work five days a week, that’s $120 a month if I don’t drop $72 on a bus pass. And this is saying ‘fuck-all’ to grocery runs and freelancing, or getting out of the house at all really.

So I’m on the bus and trying to get off when I get bumped once. I freeze up—it’s men who’ve bumped into me—and try to phase out of awareness of the situation, because it’d be bad to have a flare on the bus. I eventually get up the bus platform, flash my transfer, stand under the heat. Train’s running late.

I get bumped again. Again I try to zone out of it. The train shows up.

I

notice this guy, reflected in the glass. He’s looking WAY too hard at me. Young guy, obvious jailbait, wearing aluminum foil on his teeth in the imitation of a grill. I don’t like how much attention he’s paying to me, and my mind runs through a string of expletives. Bunch of other jailbait guys talking to him, his attention never seems to switch off of me. Bored and trying to get my mind off of the fact that there are TOO MANY DUDES on this car, I do a little earhustling. I overhear him mentioning he isn’t sure where his ticket came from, that he got it from ‘some girl.’

I remember being bumped.

I slide my hand into my pocket in search of my ticket.
Half of it is missing.
I look up the reflection and I see the missing piece.

He has it.

Fuck, I think.

Security picks NOW to patrol. As they catch the kid I demonstrate what the bottom half of a ticket is supposed to look like—with the other half of said ticket. Of course the halves match up.

“So, ‘some girl’ at the mall, huh?”

“WE DO NOT KNOW EACH OTHER,” both the kid who got hustled by my pickpocket and I say.

“Do I look like I associate with someone his age?” I add.

However by this point it’s too late to do much defending—the fact that he happens to have the back side of my ticket works against me. No amount of convincing is going to do anything, now that the ticket isn’t in one piece.

Insisting that we don’t know each other we get herded into the next stop’s security station.
The station is uncomfortably tiny. Every officer is male. Every officer is big. Every officer is also being a condescending ass when Jailbait and I insist that we don’t know each other from Adam.

The panic attack, luckily (or not) gets knocked off the rails right away when one of the officers calls me a liar outright.

There aren’t a lot of things that will knock me right out of a flare—but being called a fucking liar is one of them. Of course I object. Vociferously. I stop short of detailing the assorted parentage of the rent-a-cops in the room, but by the time I’m cut off—by an officer who DISREGARDS my request that he not approach at that angle—we’ve got our points across.

…and two tickets.

In retrospect Kid Jailbait got as screwed as I did—like I said, we’ve never fucking met, he’s jailbait, he ADMITTED that the two halves did in fact form a perfect match and he wasn’t sure where the person he got that half from got it, and neither of us has anything to gain from such a STUPID hustle.

But I still have thirty—wait, twenty-nine—days to pay off a fucking ticket now.

All because some DICK boosted two-thirds of my bus ticket.

*sigh*

2013, you suck.

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