Deadbeat: (n) a person who deliberately avoids paying debts; a loafer and sponger
Having arrived at the cream of my milky years, I can truthfully tell you that the greatest advantage I possess in respect to my journey is that I’ve been called almost everything under the sun—and therefore have a living, breathing testimony in my soul as to what it feels like.
Occasionally it was praise.
More often, confusion.
And certainly on occasion, brutality, which was passed off as honesty, which apparently was meant “for my own good.”
But some of my more painful experiences were those times when I was called a deadbeat.
I arrived at this distinction simply by running out of money before I did bills.
Unfortunately, I was a father of children at the time and being a deadbeat served to make me an uncaring papa for my children.
It taught me something powerful.
Sometimes poverty is just a lack of money.
There are poor people who are grifters, criminals and con artists.
There are those without funds who find themselves in that condition because they refuse to work and use all of their initiative coming up with a variety of lies about why it is physically or emotionally impossible for them to do so.
In my situation, I had enough talent to perform a function—as long as I could convince others to allow me the opportunity to step forward and offer my wares.
When I was very young, I was considered too immature to trust.
As I got older, the competition became stiffer.
And then one day, without my knowing, the Earth moved an inch or two and I went from “no damn good” to “pretty damn good.”
Doesn’t sound as if that makes that big a difference.
But whooee—saints be praised!
It pays better.
As soon as I was able to match my talent with my bank account, which made my bill collectors more believing, I was no longer considered a dead beat.
Not much changed inside me during the whole process.
Except I will tell you—it’s a lot easier to come to town when the merchants greet you with a smile, instead of waving a paper over their heads, insisting you are debtor to one and all.