Tag Archive | "chamber pot"

The Levels of Poverty: How Poor is Poor?

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From time immemorial, many, many people have fallen upon hard times. Society has named these people, “the poor.”  Webster’s Dictionary defines the word poor as, “lacking possessions or wealth,” among other things.


In the process of living, people have been known to experience poor health, poor eyesight, poor judgment, and other things to describe the nature of what it is they lack.  However, other terms have infiltrated our language to describe dire financial situations.  With your indulgence, I will explain the origins of one of them and illustrate how we in the 21st century may yet benefit from the wisdom of the ages.


When America was in its infancy, animal skins were cured to make leather, and the process was called tanning.  It was discovered that the cheapest way to tan leather was to use human urine.  Many poor people found that they could earn a bit of money by selling their urine for tanning.  Hence, these folks came to be known as the “piss poor.”  This led to entire families contributing their resources into pots that came to be known as “piss pots.”


When a family was so poor that it did not own a pot, it was said that they didn’t have ‘a pot to piss in’ — thus demonstrating the depths of their poverty.  In an effort to inject a bit of levity into such dismal situations, some enterprising soul constructed a now very old riddle.  The riddle asked, “If a nut on the wall is a walnut and a nut on a chest is a chestnut, what is a nut under the bed?”  The answer was, “It’s a pee-can.”


Since then the leather industry evolved to adopt other methods of tanning leather.  As a result, many poor souls found themselves penniless and shit out of luck.


So, how do we help the needy in America today?  Maybe it’s time to consider the selling of urine again.  Yes, you read that right: SELL IT. Because the average American in search of good health consumes great quantities of vitamins and minerals along with medicinal pills, American urine is the finest in the world!


This approach could revolutionize the healthcare industry and possibly solve the national debt.  Once again, struggling seniors can reap rich rewards as a backup to Social Security, in lieu of the cost of living adjustments ripped off by their government.


Entrepreneurs such as Donald Trump can get the ball rolling by marketing “The Elixir of Life,” to be sold to malnourished peoples across the globe.  The marketing mavens can expand and enhance their campaign to purveying the liquid gold from specific parts of our country, or by capitalizing upon stand-bys in our Gross National Product.  Thus, bottles from the Deep South could be termed, “Old Yeller,” bottles from the Southwest could be labeled “Old Faithful,” and others, whose content may be somewhat suspect, unless the FDA steps in, can be called “Half & Half.”


The offshoots of this new industry could be enormous.  Just image the returns on a new, enhanced pee pot retailed for the low, low price of $19.98 with zero water filters included.  All it takes is imagination!


To the Americans struggling to survive in today’s economy, this new industry can easily prove to be more than just pissing in the wind.  If nothing else, it should abolish the old saying that they don’t have a pot to piss in, to describe their level of poverty. 


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