Wednesday, December 26, 2007

As seen at Chaser's
Directions: Now we can test our socioeconomic class by describing the things we had in high school and college (if in fact we attended these). You bold on this list the things you had, and you get a point for each bolded thing.

If your father went to college
If your father finished college
If your mother went to college
If your mother finished college
If you have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor
If you were the same or higher class than your high school teachers
If you had a computer at home
If you had your own computer at home
If you had more than 50 books at home
If you had more than 500 books at home
If you were read children’s books by a parent
If you ever had lessons of any kind
If you had more than two kinds of lessons
If the people in the media who dress and talk like you were portrayed positively
If you had a credit card with your name on it
If you have less than $5000 in student loans
If you have no student loans
If you went to a private high school
If you went to summer camp
If you had a private tutor
If you have been to Europe
If your family vacations involved staying at hotels
If all of your clothing has been new and bought at the mall
If your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them
If there was original art in your house
If you had a phone in your room
If you lived in a single family house
If your parent owned their own house or apartment
If you had your own room
If you participated in an SAT/ACT prep course
If you had your own cell phone in high school
If you had your own TV in your room in high school
If you opened a mutual fund or IRA in high school or college
If you have ever flown anywhere on a commercial airline
If you ever went on a cruise with your family
If your parents took you to museums and art galleries
If you were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family.

The extended list...
If your body does not bear long-term signs of malnutrition. (For example, my teeth are marked up from poor nutrition when they were forming.)

If you had orthodontia.

If you saw a doctor for anything other than emergencies or school-mandated shots.

If you heated your home with clean-burning fuels or had properly vented heating.

If you grew up in a house without vermin. (I think Chipmunks count...)

If you had running water. (usually, although the pipes froze and one summer the well was out all summer...)

If you had a basement or foundation under your house.

If you had an indoor toilet.

If your parents and immediate family were outside the criminal justice system.

If you yourself remained outside the criminal justice system.

If your parents had a new car. (only once... that I recall, I eventually totaled it...)

If you never went barefoot so that you could 'save your shoes for school.'

If your parents never argued in front of you about having enough money for food to last out the month.

If you ate hunted and fished meat because it was a recreational activity rather than as the major way to stock a freezer. (we didn't hunt and fish much, except when we needed it-- my grandparents also often brought vegetables from Iowa because we needed them...)

If your laundry was done at home in a washer rather than in a lavandaria. (laundrymat -- it depended on the year -- often the washer and/or dryer didn't work, so we'd go to the laundrymat...)

If your hair was cut by a professional barber or hair stylist instead of your parent.

It does seem to me that this list is a bit skewed, perhaps uniquely for me... -- for example, the commercial airline bit -- as well as the vacation bit -- my step-dad worked for United Airlines (but didn't really financially contribute as he supported his ex-wife and his first two kids...). The one thing we did do was fly to go on vacation because we could do so for little money-- and he got hotel discounts etc...

Having books read to you doesn't cost anything except a parent's time -- my mom was a nurse and still found time to do so... my father was a cop... we weren't wealthy by any count, but education was important to them and their reading to us reflected as much. Additionally, going to museums and art galleries can be free, if parents take the time to investigate the free days etc..

Where we lived there were very few single-family houses and very few rentals -- although I suppose my parents could have chosen to live in a more urban part of our metro area. We bought our house before the highway made it an easy commute to the city, so it was a really good deal.

On the other hand, when I was a kid, nobody had computers at home --(I graduated in 1987) -- and cell phones were non-existent... I thought it was wonderful when I was 21, moved in with hubby and he had a 286..... I suspect that we'd have had a computer at home if they'd been as common as they are now, although it wouldn't be a spiffy new iMac, like the one on my desk...

If you count the fact that it took me 8ish years to finish my BA, and that time included getting married to hubby, then the computer answers would change -- as we had several computers while I was 'in college'. Heck, I'm still technically a grad student, does that count as being "in college"?....

I don't remember the first time hubby and I got cell phones, but, it must have been after I started grad school and we realized that the cell phone would make it safer for me to take the old car on the 120 mile round trip from Omaha to Lincoln for classes... Since my mom was a nurse and worked odd hours, I have a feeling she would have given me and my sister cell-phones just so she could keep track of us..... that would have sucked :).

I'm not sure I can honestly answer the heating bill question, as for a lot of my childhood in MN we did most of our heating with wood. Wood that I stacked, brought in, fed into the stove etc... In one way I knew the cost of heating the house, as I did a lot of the work -- often in the cold and snow.... on the other hand, I didn't know how much the bill was, only that it was less expensive to burn wood than to run the furnace.


Lucy said...

I think having parents with the time and energy to read to a child and take them to free museums etc can be a sign of class, too. My house was full of original art and I'd be tempted to qualify that by saying it was all done by my mother or grandmother, but it still says something about what my family's situation was that they had the leisure and resources to paint.

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

I suppose you are correct -- and that occurred to me as I wrote it. Both in having the freedom and flexibility to have the time to do it, and having the transportation available to make the trip to the library or museum.

On the other hand, it seems as if the implication is that if you had those experiences as a child, you are wealthy. I grew up in a very wealthy area. Many of my friends' parents were work-a-holic CEOs, physicians and attorneys who didn't have time for their kids -- they had plenty of wealth but no time to spend with their kids --- the nanny or housekeeper would take them to museums and read to them... but their parents would not.

Anonymous said...

My family was really poor when I was young and then my mom married someone who was comparatively wealthy and yet....having more money didn't change the way my mom thought about things. She really doesn't value education. If you get a job that pays $10 or more an hour, you've made it. degrees are just not important. and you know, if what you're after is hourly pay in your hometown....maybe you don't need it. Liberal arts education starts looking like a huge waste of time. her parents were/are downright anti-education, they think it makes people think they're better than others blah blah whatever.

anyway, my point is, we had as much money or more than my high school friends and yet my mom would have let me drop out of high school. She refused to waste money on lessons of any kind. she didn't think SAT prep was important. college was like...yeah, can go. she just didn't get involved in my preparation.

the other thing is, I'm sure one of the reasons my mom never read to us when I was really small was that she was single and totally overwhelmed. and poor because she was single with two kids and no education.