We lived in some pretty shady places growing up, the cheapest housing always brings the poor, the addicted, the desperate and the hoards of children together. Not a great combination when you’re a kid. We subdivide our kids in standardized testing by race and talk about why the black kids are failing with little discussion about the socioeconomics of the situation. Kids don’t fail in school because of the color of their skin, kids fail in school because they are poor and they have to deal with ongoing bullshit in their lives that the more affluent don’t have to worry about. You would be surprised at the ridiculous list of things that affects poor kids that you would never even consider.
Food in our cupboards was not the default, emptiness was. The funniest story was when my best friend, Kevin, visited my house in 7th grade. I told him I’d make him lunch but the only thing we had in the house, besides the few condiments in the side door of the refrigerator was a can of creamed corn and a package of chicken gizzards. Yeah, chicken gizzards (don’t ask me why the hell we had chicken gizzards?) I floured and seasoned the gizzards perfectly and fried them southern style in a pan of spattering oil. With the warmed cream on the side, we had ourselves a nice little meal. He laughed at me, in a best friend sort of way, and although he lived in a nice house in the suburbs, loved me and saw the hilarity in the ridiculous situation.