There I was 19 years old and a father. I had a high school education and now 3 mouths to feed. I was poor. Let’s be honest though, I chose to be poor. You see at 19 these are the kinds of choices you make. You look in the mirror after rubbing one out and say, “Donviti, you want to be poor. Being poor are fun. Being poor are fine and dandy.” So to provide for my wife and child I decided to enter a life of servitude.
I joined the navy. The recruiters told me how much money I would be making. Holy shit! Are you kidding me? I thought to myself this is awesome! I am going to get paid almost $16k a year! Unreal! AWESOME. Don’t forget about 3 squares a day, great healthcare and a clothing allowance.
Then I went into the navy and as luck would have it had another child not long after my service of my country began. Luckily the insurance paid for the pregnancy and after care. It was rough, but I had to remember I chose to be poor and serve my country. Life was great really. I didn’t have a cell phone yet, but I had color TV and a washer and dryer.
Shortly after I got stationed on my boat the USS Minneapolis St. Paul I moved to Norfolk Va. You’d be surprised what $16k can afford down there! I had a palace. A 2 room apt that one night even provided for the most amazing view. What view Donviti, you ask? That would be the view of my neighbors pointing his AK-47 across the way to the guy in his window pointing his 9mm at him. After putting my wife and child in the tub, belly crawling to the phone, dialing 911 I moved out of that lap of luxury and into military housing.
My COB (chief of the boat) pulled some strings and got me into Sub Standard housing. That’s right; my navy had provided me with sub standard living. Living is so great that you practically get paid to live in a 4 room 800 sq foot house. AWESOME! The housing people even gave you free roach bombs and ant traps if you needed them. Can you imagine? Where else would you want to live? FREE FUCKING ROACH TRAPS, from the Navy!
Living poor was great. Hell IS great. After my wife plopped out our 2 child and I made E-3 I got nearly a $1200 raise! It was like hitting the lottery! Not for the $1200 raise though, for having another kid, we now qualified for Food Stamps and WIC. AWESOME! BEING POOR IS GREAT! I loved it, there was nothing like not being able to afford Enfamil, milk, cheese and stuff while signing up to die for my country.
I remember this one time my daughter was so sick we had to go to the hospital. Man how great was that to go to a Naval Hospital? Let me tell you it was awesome! My wife called me to tell me that my daughter couldn’t keep any food down and had a fever of like a 103. So off she went to get the best medical care my service could provide. I had her go to the hospital first and I met her there.
Man what a beautiful sight it was. As I walked into the hospital I couldn’t believe me own eyes! It was like walking into the hands of God. Now remember I was enlisted so we get the best treatment our service can buy. There was my wife holding my 8 month old daughter. Cradling her with an IV hanging out of her little arm. She was dehydrated and they were getting her all better. It was a beautiful image and one that I won’t easily forget. I won’t easily forget it because the “nurse” had to poke my daughter 8 times (before I got there) before she could find a vein. She was so dehydrated that her little veins were hard to find. She couldn’t get a good vein, but that was ok, because she used the sheet my daughter was wrapped in to wipe the blood off of her arm. The site of seeing my daughter in a diaper, no clothes because they took them off of her, wrapped in a bloody sheet was inspiring.
I was poor and being treated like a poor person. It was great! I loved it!
I choose to be poor after all, so I had to suck it up. Often times after standing in line at the local commissary I felt a swell of pride enter me as other Enlisted folk where reaching into their pockets for their food stamps. It was nice to have a brother in arms at checkout lane 15. With a subtle nod of the head, a click of the mouth we were brothers, we were poor and we LOVED it!
So after being on food stamps, wic and assisted living while serving my country I can honestly say that I would rather be poor any day over having money. It is so over rated.
After all the bible says the meek shall inherit the earth…