"Hard Knock Life"

Essay by mattheffCollege, UndergraduateB, June 2005

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Within the society that we live in today, many have a difficult time truly understanding the paralyzing effects of poverty and the underachievement that all too often accompanies severe economic hardship.

I live in a situation very similar to the one above. I live in a large African American family, in which my father boasts about his eating meat once a week. My family is full of pride and determination to get ahead, yet we are plagued by all the bad luck, ignorance, and misfortune that seem to attack those who are poorly prepared to compete in today's high-speed world.

The rural section of the country in which I grow up in can hardly afford any economic opportunity for disadvantaged youth except seasonal farm work. I tried finding employment in the grocery stores and fast-food shops in the nearby city, but how was I to manage the 12 mile commute from my house in the country, to the store or fast-food shop? The only form of transportation my family owned was a broken down car that we could hardly ever get up and running.

As an early aged teen, I found myself involved in smoking pot. The pleasure quickly lost its simplicity when I couldn't go one day without a joint. My problem intensified to the question of getting money for this horrible habit instead of my every day life.

Some of my friends; similarly caught in the same position of poverty and drug dependency, proposed a solution - take what "really" belonged to me anyway. So I joined a group that made a practice of "breaking and entering."

In an odd way, the very act and adrenaline of breaking and entering also became addictive though often not as beneficial financially. Often the gang hardly got enough money or goods...