When we was younger we didn’t have no fancy spoons. That stuff was for rich folk. We had to use our hands mostly. Course, since we didn’t have forks either we had to handle all our hot BBQ and we mostly had burnt up hands all the time. Sometimes if somebody got enough BBQ sauce on their hands we’d all just pass their hands around the table and eat ‘em up to the wrists ‘til either we or them caught on that we were splintering ulna and radius between our not-so-pearly-whites. Having no spoons of course when we made soup we’d pour it from mouth to mouth, the cook to the oldest kid and them to the next oldest all the way down to me, the youngest of our litter. Course, my older brothers were hungry something awful all the time and they’d have ate up all that soup long before it every got to me and all I’d get was a mouthful of acid reflux, gingivitis, and belched air. Yeah, we was poor and there wasn’t no shame in it because we was pretty stupid to boot. We just figured everybody burned their outhouse gleanings for warmth and showered in the nearby bakery’s air exchange fan. We weren’t the warmest or cleanest kids on the street but on the good side we smelled heavily of rye bread–and what kid doesn’t love the smell of rye bread? Course on the bad side, we’d all get giant cysts on our faces and legs that burst forth yeast and frosting. We was poor! And we’d all look for extra work to help out the family. Even as young kids we’d be doing our share. That’s the way it was back then–everybody lending a helping hand. If you couldn’t or wouldn’t get a job or steal your fair share we’d tap your arm in your sleep and sell your blood to the Satanist church. A pint could get ‘ya four dollars! That sounds like good money but most of it would go straight into the monthly costs of exorcisms and crucifix tattoos. We was poor alright. I once got hired on by our neighbors the Bjornson’s to dig a hole to bury their horse in. Being poor of course I didn’t have a shovel but I had always been raised to believe that a little elbow grease and a lot of sebum will get any job done and so I said to myself this here hole will be dug come hell or high water! As it turned out, that was the summer of the Great Moose Flood, when a fast moving moose rammed into the dam above town. But sure enough as soon as that water was drank up by the Jorgensenson family dairy cows and the ground came back I got to that hole. To get to the Bjornson’s place, it was a fifty odd mile trek up Shit Creek and of course I hadn’t got no paddle so it took me near until breakfast to get there each morning which is why I would leave at sundown two days early but that wasn’t all too often I had to do that because for the most part I just slept there in a deer bed I found in a stand of pine trees. Anaway with no shovel to my name I just ate my way into that hole but of course as you can imagine by the time I got the hole finished my soil-bloated body filled the hole completely. When winter came around the Bjornsons poured tar over me and sealed me in pitch and all-weather wood sealant. This kept me warm for the most part though I had to put up with animals stumbling into my tar pits and then the wolves coming in and getting stuck when they’d come checkin’ on all death screams of dairy cows going on. When spring came along and then the next couple years’ worth of freezing and thawing I got loose enough to get dug up with a skid loader. By the time I’d wriggled loose that ol’ horse had been given to the elementary school’s Stew Night Fund Raiser and I never did see any money as a payment for my troubles but that was the best job I ever did have. Like they say, its all about the people you work with and I find my company well suitable to my liking. I haven’t got much work since then save the few times I’ve been hired on as a fishing guide. In the winter I’ll drive ‘em out to a flat field where I’ve got a retrofitted outhouse I tell ‘em is an ice fishing shed and tell ‘em they’re on Eagle Lake and I leave ‘em there for a weekend. I don’t get much money to speak of since I work for tips and the bottom of my tip jar’s rusted out and most my clients are too frostbit to reach for change but heck I don’t mind being poor ‘cuz as a Minnesotan I was raised to value the simple things in life: perennial drunkenness and the ability to equally distrust and envy the middle class.