I think I’m the only blogger on the planet who hasn’t posted about the Occupy Wall Street movement. Mostly, that’s because (1) I don’t think most of you care about politics and (2) I don’t want to stir up a shitstorm. But I will say I’ve been intrigued by the handwritten stories popping up all over the internet – the ones that say things like “I’ve been unemployed for five years. I live in my parents’ basement and eat cat hair. I am the 99%.”
I really wanted to make a sign of my own, but I couldn’t figure out which percentage to identify with. Obviously I don’t belong to the 1%, but there are lots of ways I could describe myself other than “not wealthy.” The 99% thing just doesn’t seem specific enough.
I pay taxes. I am the 53%.
Even though I’m broke right now, I generally make enough money to owe income taxes. I have enough deductions to get a small tax return each year (I think I got $800 this year) but that’s not much compared to the amount I pay in. Personally, I don’t get too upset about taxes, especially since I have always worked for agencies who are at least partially funded by tax dollars.
I’m a divorced single mother. I am the 38%.
38% of single-parent homes exist because of divorce (as opposed to death of a spouse or parents who were never married). The statistics say I’m supposed to be living below the poverty line in an inner city somewhere, working multiple jobs to make ends meet. Luckily none of those things are true for me, but I know lots of single moms living that way.
I have a graduate degree. I am the 9%.
This one was kind of surprising. I had no idea so few people had
suffered through completed grad school. I’d like to think that this makes me special, but it’s just another expensive piece of paper. I haven’t achieved all the great things I thought I would with my degrees. Which brings me to my next point…..
I borrowed more than $50,000 to attend college. I am the 12%.
The OWS crowd is on a kick about student loan forgiveness. For everyone. And as someone with a ton of educational debt, I have to say I think they’re nuts. Don’t misunderstand – I’m mad about my student debt. I don’t think I understood the implications of borrowing the money when I was 18 years old. I think schools owe it to college students to explain EXACTLY how loans will affect them in the long run. But I took out the loans, and now I keep deferring them because the payments are ridiculous, and I’ll be leaving the balance to my grandchildren when I die. Is that anyone else’s fault? Nope. It sucks, but I can’t blame anyone else.
I am a dog owner. I am the 44%.
I have three wonderful dogs – Bentley (a Pekingese/Shih Tzu mix) and Apollo and Bella (both Shih Tzus). They are like my furry children. I love them to pieces and I’ll be devastated when they’re gone. I’ve always loved dogs, and I will probably always have at least two.
I prefer crunchy peanut butter. I am the 40%.
This is kind of arbitrary, but so is all the other stuff people are raising such a fuss about. Jayden only eats creamy peanut butter, so I’m forced to buy both kinds. It hurts my soul that I’ve raised a child who likes weird incomplete peanut butter with nothing to break up the texture.
What Percentage Do I Choose?
I still feel kind of left out because I haven’t made a cool sign with my percentage on it. I could come up with percentages all day long, but none of them really grasped who I am (or who I think I am). Finally, as I was typing this post, I figured it out. I worried that the 99% wasn’t specific enough, but I think it was actually TOO specific. Here’s what I came up with: