The Day I Worked for Food

So… I know what you’re thinking. How does THIS girl get herself in a situation where she has to work for food?

Well, first of all, let me ask YOU this:

How the heck do you think I EVER find myself in ANY of the whacky and zany situations I get myself into, PEOPLE?  Huh?!

Let me quickly remind you of a few here:

Hmmmm…  There’s the time I caught on fire in “I am on FIRE!

Then there was the time that my man M.C. Nugget (PS – you newbies should be informed here that I change everyone’s names in Ms. Cheevious-land to protect their innocence – or lack thereof – ha ha) and I had a bang up time at Super Bowl in Miami, and ended up having to sleep in the car because we were too “toasted” in “SAINTS Bitch!

Or, there is always that time I tried out for the Lingerie Football League, in “Lingerie… Football…That Is

And then there is one of my personal favorites, where I paid homage to none other than, The Rabbit, in “Long Live The Rabbit

Ahhh… memories.

But there is no time like the present!  And guess what?  I am a resourceful person.  When times are a little tough, or finances,  clients or  whatever seem to have DISAPPEARED… well, guess what?  I take care of business.  I suck it up, and I go and get help from whomever can help me through the rough patch — even if it means getting public assistance.  Hey, I pay my taxes, and then some – especially in the years of plenty!!  But also, I have no shame.  You, my readers of all people, should know this by now.

BUT… and there is always a BUT… for me, that particular situation has actually occurred more than once in my life.  First, when I was not yet nineteen, had just given birth to my first son, AND let go from my job at the same time.  I applied for and received welfare, food stamps and medical aid.

After that happened. I vowed I was never going to be in that situation again, and would work to become a successful, happy and fulfilled business woman — that I would have an impact on people, make my mark on society and provide a wonderful life for my kids.

Oy.  That was a LONG time ago.  Those goals and dreams (some already realized) are still true today, but believe it or not, I found myself in the very SAME tough situation again some years later — well, except for the newborn-baby-in-tow part…  But I was in business, had one gigantic client that monopolized all my time, and against my better judgment I relied heavily on the revenue they provided my business.  When that company downsized, they cut me from their budget.  This not only impacted me, but all that I employed.  It was a very difficult time. I went through the very slow painful adjustment process, while the rest of the country also underwent tremendous economic turmoil.

And by adjustment, I do NOT mean in finances, or in changes to my lifestyle (though that was inevitable).  I mean truly painful adjustments, MENTALLY.  I slowly was slammed into the mindset that I was NOT making the money I had been, or had planned for, nor could I spend like I wanted, but also I was forced to be WILLING to take work when and wherever I could create it.  I was forced into adjusting my expectations of what I could GET for the service my business provided, while I slowly and simultaneously exhausted all of my personal financial resources — my IRA, my savings, and as I maxed out every credit card I had  (and they had BIG limits, let me tell you).  I even came close to the point of ruin, when things started to turn around — I credit my attitude and my unwillingness to give up or stop trying despite the obvious circumstances for that, as well as a few very precious people in my life who were there to assist, cheer and support me along the way.

But toward the end of the grueling and long and painful process, I was forced once again to seek public financial aid.  In the last case, FOOD STAMPS.

When I got the approval, I learned that the rules had changed the second time around.  In order to keep receiving benefits, I was required to report to what they called Work Fare, and put in so many hours of work at various public facilities.  For me, it was the Veterans Administration Hospital.

So, though I dragged my feet to the last possible day to report for work, I went in.  Yup.  I showed up in my Uggs, yoga pants and sweatshirt, ready to pay my dues.  But you know what?  I worked with a few great guys who were so incredibly nice – and so happy to have me helping them, folding scrubs in the facility’s gigantic laundry plant.  These guys were so sweet, and happy.  Go figure.

I don’t know what I expected.  I guess I pictured some chop shop like out of the movie Oliver, where people were there slaving away, and unhappily taken advantage of.  But no.  These guys were some of the best people I’ve met in Los Angeles.  They’d go the extra mile for you without blinking an eye.  I was hot, because I didn’t know to bring a pony tale thingy… so they got a fan and put it on me…

Now — I know what you are thinking.  ‘Oh yeah… of course they gave you a FAN…’ with images of THIS in your head:

But come ON people.  Let’s get real.  Remember?  I was in my UGGS and yoga pants, a sweat shirt and my hair was curly – with the laundry environment causing it to get static electricity.  I looked more like Phyllis Diller in front of a fan… HA!


But really – honestly people.  I am trying to make a point here.  It’s that I was brought to a low place, having gone through the removal of several layers of ego and some pretty lofty levels of finances.  But I survived and am still here to kick some ass!  Aren’t I?

I suppose that is why I was able to walk into that laundry facility and sing R&B tunes and dance a little while I folded scrubs and finished my entire giant bin in my short time there. I felt so good after working two hours at the V.A. Hospital, it made me think about what we all do with our days trying to “enjoy” life.  How we spend so much of our VALUABLE energy and effort “trying” to make a “life” for ourselves — a life that we think is acceptable… and here, these guys were HAPPY, and kind, and TRULY did enjoy life.  It made me kinda jealous.

So for this holiday season – can we all take a minute and remember that we are NOT ALL THAT?  Not any one of us is beneath volunteering or putting our time in – especially when we’ve received public assistance!  And that brings up a point.  Not any one of us is beneath applying for and receiving public aid, or assistance from others.  Get real.  Get help if you need it.  And give back when you can.

Stay tuned next week – cuz I’ll be friggin FREEZING in a small town north of Boston for the holidays – and I’ll probably wanna’ kvetch!  YAY!

Love you people! Mmmmmphhhuuuuuhhhhh!!


Ms. Cheevious


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Blog content copyright 2009, LISA JEY DAVIS a.k.a. Ms. Cheevious

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