Tuesday, 21 June 2016


I looked at my bank balance this morning; $7.52. That's right, there is a decimal point in there. Then I looked at the cash in my wallet; $185 thanks to a gift from my Mom. And I have a $500 cheque in my wallet as payment for a writing assignment. So I can cover the next mortgage payment, buy some groceries, and pay my electrical and cell phone bills. After all that, my bank balance will once again be in the single figures.

This is not a complaint about money. In fact I consider myself to be doing reasonably well, thanks to the generosity of others along with my disability pension. Yet each month, at about this time of the month, I look at that bank balance and it says much the same thing. It's just what happens when you lose your ability to work and are compelled to live on handouts. Life is precarious.

Whenever anyone says "it's not about the money", you can bet your ass it's about the money. Money is not everything in life, but without it you are pretty much nothing. Look around you. Look at the homeless on the street. We view them with disdain, thinking they must have done something to get there. In many cases you would be right. They too live precarious lives, riven by alcohol and drugs, destroyed by mental illness. I feel like I am right there with them.

I know that I will receive my pension in a week. I know that AISH will come in at about the same time. And I know that I will be broke once again a few weeks later. It is a depressing cycle. But at least this cycle is relatively stable. And every once in a while thanks to the generosity around me, I get to do something special, like buy a wine kit or go to see my Mom.

Make no mistake. This is purely as a result of ALS. Were I well, I would not be in this place; at least I hope not. Were I well, I would still be working, still be earning, still have a bank balance to speak of. Yet here I am; living on the margins of life, with $7.52 in my bank account.

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