I took in $3.00. With the change in my pocket that bought my meal for the day.
In order to be online today, I still needed to go to a cafe. I spent four hours trying to sell something to pay for coffee. I found $0.01 lying in the road.
In between times, I learned something new about friendship in the civilized world.
Christians of a certain age may remember Don Richardson's book, "Peace Child," in which he reminisced about being a missionary. In one place he visited, he said, he worked hard to learn enough of the local language to tell people a simplified version of the story of Jesus, and when he got to the part where Judas betrayed Jesus, his audience laughed and applauded. "That was really fattening with friendship for the slaughter! Good job Judas!"
Apparently these people had raised violence and treachery to an art form; they didn't trust anybody to be a real friend, and admired the person who was sneaky enough to convince someone that s/he was a friend in order to get a chance to harm the person who'd been foolish enough to believe in friendship.
I remember reading that story in middle school. I remember that although the name of the local language didn't stick in my mind, the phrase Richardson spelled tuwi assonai man did. It did not mean something terribly exotic. It was just a grown-up version of something that's actually pretty common in middle school.
In adult life, I was glad to learn, "fattening with friendship for the slaughter" is less common.
One reason is that a rising tide really does lift all boats; healthy competition is good for everybody, but unethical competition is not.
Another reason is that adults do not, among themselves, believe the sort of thing they tell children about friends and friendship. We know that although a polite, cordial manner is useful and may lead to real friendship, most people do not have time or any reason to become real friends to most other people. Most adults don't think they need to try or pretend to be friends. Most adults are comfortable just being casual acquaintances.
If someone rushes up to me gushing "Oh, I want to be your friend," right away I think...best-case scenario, in my experience, was that the person was very young, a bit socially backward, an addict in early-stage recovery trying very very hard to become a member of a church. She may have been a sincere friend; she certainly was not a very good one. Guys who "liiike" women aren't usually worth the trouble of talking to, either.
People who do become real friends quietly pursue common interests and, over time, come to realize that they've been helpful to one another.
I've had friends in my lifetime. I've outlived some of them; more simply bailed out when I became a penniless widow. I've known for a very long time that friendship is optional, and that's a good thing, because it's a very rare commodity in this world.
It's not news to me, either, that the Welfare State has so badly eroded what passes for adult society in my home town that we do indeed find adults who practice "fattening with friendship for the slaughter," along with parents, children, spouses, and siblings who fabricate quarrels out of nothing and ban each other from their homes purely for welfare purposes.
Those tax-funded handouts were supposed to be reserved for people who weren't receiving any help from their families, so when, for example, grandparents would like very much to pay their children and grandchildren to help them with chores they're no longer able to do, the welfare system tells them "No, we have to pay that money to a stranger." And I've personally heard couples who loved each other and their children discussing how often the father would be able to visit his children if he left so the mother could get those handouts...
I don't want to be part of this crime against humanity in any way; that's why, long ago, I took a vow that if I became unable to support myself by honest work, I would stop eating rather than go on any form of welfare.
But this winter I've seen a first: an adult, who was a competent employee for forty years, practicing "fattening with friendship for the slaughter." Well, the adult in question has been using a lot of pills and alcohol lately. So this person went so far as to pay me for a day's work, then offer other jobs, and then weasel out of them...just the way he undoubtedly told younger kids "I'll take you along some day," and didn't, or asked girls for dates and didn't show up, at a more larval stage of his life, just to see whether they'd cry, swear, or amuse his buddies by hitting and kicking his legs.
He wouldn't have admitted that if he hadn't been drunk yesterday, and I have to admit I taunted him, early this morning, with the message "Who's laughing now?" And then I thought...oh, dear, I never wanted to mature into the sort of person who taunts people when they're punishing themselves so much more painfully than I'd be likely to have punished them if I'd been a Spanish Inquisitor. So maybe the time really has come to stop eating.
If I'd sold anything this morning, even for $5, I would have taken that as a message that I needed to keep up the good work I've already done, spend some more time publicizing the Portal in the real world, post some pictures online, put more book reviews on the Blogspot...all of which I was prepared to do, as of, oh, ten o'clock this morning. If I'd come online, without even buying coffee as I sat down in a cafe--a rude behavior I don't plan to repeat--and found a payment, I would have taken that the same way. But I'm tired, literally tired to death, of being surrounded by haters who feel free to spew their poison and by people who want to claim that they've always "liked" me, through it all, but they're not actually thanking me and paying me for anything I'm doing.
That would be you, e-friends, along with various "chicken characters" I know in real life. Tra-la-la, we all love love love each other....oh sure you do. You're eating your junkfood and driving your cars and watching your pay-per-view TV/movies/games and so on, while I'm literally starving. That's not what I call friendship. When I've been following someone online long enough to know that it is one consistent person, even though I know I may be mistaken about the person's age, gender, etc., if that person has posted that s/he has had trouble meeting any kind of "survival needs," I've at least offered to do what I've been able to do. If I didn't do that, then claiming the person as a friend, or even an e-friend, would be pretty presumptuous of me.
Frankly, I don't want to continue blogging the way I've been doing...selflessly sharing other people's content, free of charge. If I do continue blogging, I'll have to make it a rule, just to avoid encouraging ingratitude and exploitation: No links will be visible before the payment goes through.
As a widow, I've had everything I could possibly want in life, given bereavement, except money...which has really burned into my mind how important money is, how wrong it is to blather about any non-material satisfactions in life to people who don't have money. I've become very tired...not just of the discomfort of "food withdrawal" when I've been able to eat only every second or third day, but of the even greater discomfort of readjustment to eating after my body had made its physical adjustment to starvation. I promised myself that, if on one day in 2017 I wasn't able to eat solid food, I'd take that as the sign that I was meant to go home and give up eating.
In one sense I should probably have stopped eating several weeks before this, as much of what I've been able to eat, so far this year, has not done me any good; there've already been several days when I just didn't feel like eating any more, because whatever cheap, glyphosate-contaminated food I'd eaten was lacerating my digestive system and the only benefit of eating more food while that poison was in my body would be--best-case scenario--to push the poison through a little faster.
Anyway...what I ate yesterday didn't do me any good either, and I'm not feeling nearly as good as I know I'd feel if I just stayed home and stopped eating.
So I think the time has come.
I don't particularly want to starve to death, completely; I enjoy being alive. And I expect to enjoy the most pleasant part of the year in the most pleasant place on Earth, while waiting to see whether YOU really believe that I'm not earning my keep in this world, or YOU come to YOUR senses and get those long overdue payments to me NOW.
If you've been programmed by the Welfare State to say "There has to be some sort of program that could help you..." BITE YOUR TONGUE, HARD. That is a temptation for me, a truly satanic temptation. For an able-bodied person to take welfare handouts is evil. If I do one evil thing, why not do a few more that would absolutely guarantee that I'd be promptly classified as having a genuine disability? I am not, in fact, insane, but if I did decide to destroy my life, my self, for a few more lungfuls of oxygen, I'm not sure how much difference that would make...and I do genuinely love outliving obnoxious people. So you need to be very, very sure that you don't start channelling the Evil Principle in my presence. Nothing and nobody can "help" me (in the way welfare "helps" people); if you want me to live longer, you need my help.
You can say that as often as you want to. The more, the better.
You may say, "Please, Ma'am, I've enjoyed your writing and I want you to continue writing. I'm very sorry I didn't pay you sooner. Please let me offer this pitiful, inadequate, belated $100 for something you wrote that has helped me at a time when I was too sorry an excuse for a human being to send $5. Please let me sponsor many, many more...at least one before I eat breakfast, henceforward."
You may say, "Thank you, Ma'am, for living according to your ethical principles. Please, please, please help inspire our younger generation by celebrating a few more welfare cheats' funerals with us."
You may say, "I'm very sorry, Ma'am, and please allow me to beg your pardon so that I can ask for God's forgiveness, that I was too stubborn, too conceited, too stupid, too cowardly, and too unimaginative to admit that I've been needing your help for years. Please, I understand that I'm not speaking to an ordinary human being who could not possibly have any reason to help me at this time in our lives, but I am begging for a miracle of God's forgiving Love to be channelled through His Saint at whose feet I am now grovelling." Then present your $100, and state your need...for prayer, for pardon, for guidance, or whatever it may be.
If you think you want to say anything else, I recommend Duct Tape Therapy: Apply some duct tape to your mouth, and leave it on until the sensation has distracted you from the feeling of wanting-to-say-something-you-would-have-regretted.
If I do in fact need to go on living and contributing what I was meant to contribute to this world, I will, thanks no doubt to YOUR appreciation of my work. That will need to add up, all at once within the next month or so, to $12,000. If I know for sure I'll be able to eat things that don't make me sick for another year, then I'll end the hunger strike and reopen the Portal.
If I don't, well...I intend to spend the next few weeks in a place that already looks like the best visions anybody has ever managed to imagine in the afterlife; I'd like to lie down for a nap and wake up in something similar, or a bit better, in the company of my husband and other people who used to appreciate what I did.
Remember me as the poster girl for the cause of ending the handouts and paying people for their work.
DON'T REWARD "NEEDS."
ALWAYS REWARD DEEDS.