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On The Scrounge: Winnie-the-Pooh's Guide to Life in Low Income America
Far from being simple children's tales, A.A. Milne's brief accounts of small town life offer the astute reader a veritable HowTo remain alive despite having:
- no visible source of income
- no access to local amenities such as grocery stores, recreation centers or community gardens
- an overbearing landowner who is always checking up on you
- no personal identification
- no special skills or training
- no health or home insurance.
The World of Pooh is, on second glance, a collection of bums. Nothing could be clearer. Its inhabitants and are completely unengaged in meaningful work until those rare occasions when the landowner undertakes a visitation to ensure the continued survival of one of its flagging members.
Christopher Robin, as most persons in authority, is frequently depicted as being unsure and uncaring, in fact being quoted as "carelessly" dispensing quips, comments and advice no less than 97 times during the complete text. He lacks Christian faith, good moral qualities (encouraging the wood's losers to indulge in gameplaying rather than worthwhile duties) and is an indecisive leader. Yet he has resources and can be counted on as soft-hearted and will intervene to save the hide of someone in truly desperate straits. As one on the scrounge, this is a not so bad landowner to deal with.
edit Sourcing Shelter
No, you won't be consulting a real estate agent or a mortgage broker on this one. You're a squatter, plain and simple. You've got to find a roof for over your head, and you've got to do it in a hurry. But you want a home, too. There are rules here. Others have gone before you. Just remember: down by the river is nice...right up to the moment it's lapping in your front hall.
edit Home Selection
I am a bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me. Owl may be able to spell TEUSDAY and INTRESTATE, but not me. When I came to the wood I was whistling and humming and watching the butterflies, and I thought, wow, here would be a nice place to squat. So I looked around. And I walked some more. A cave passed by, but it was too dark. A burrow was available but it was too small. Then a tree with a door in it was there, and I looked inside, and it was juuuust right.
Rabbit eventually pointed out to me that there was a sign above the door. He told me it said "Sanders" and I thought, this is Very Useful. For a home with a door with a sign above it that had a name upon it could tell others that I was Mr. Sanders, because I lived there. And no one would Bother Me.
edit Inventing a New Identity
Owl has brain. Rabbit has brain. But if an Assessor ever came luh-luh-looking for them, they'd be in trouble. They have no background to their identities. They could be seen through in a minute flat. That's why I've taken care to be able to say, "Oh yes, I've been here for some time, Mr. Authority Figure. My grandfather, Trespassers William, rooted himself in these parts many years ago. My family is well-known around here."
Then you can go to a bank. You can Cash Cheques. It won't matter that you don't have ID: the teller will be too embarassed to check up on your story. "Oh yes, Trespassers William. He was a great customer of the bank for many years. Of course. I knew him well. Here you are." And after that first time, you've got no problem.
This is very helpful when Sourcing Shelter. You'll be squatting and you won't be able to pay rent, but you just might have to provide somebody a reference. Heffalumps have been known to ask for references. Heffalumps are somebodies.
TRESPASSERS W. On a signpost. What do you think, I'm stupid? I'm the only one who wears pants.
edit Finding a Home
Written by Eeyore
I recently found out that education isn't everything. Owl told me yeah, but it helps. Helps what? I asked, but he didn't answer, he just fluffed his feathers at me and went back to counting his pellets. Eventually I left, not that he noticed.
Finding a Home is different from Selecting a Home. Selection involves choice, if you know what I mean. Finding means you just walked around a corner and whoops, there it was. I made a home once. Admittedly it was pretty lousy. Leaky and four drafts. Well I was out one day and when I came back, it was gone. Typical. Worthless people in this worthless forest would steal a worthless house. Pathetic. After telling some folks about it--not that they cared, being involved in their own private hells--I wandered around another corner and would you believe, there my house was. Minus two drafts. Still leaky, though. That Pooh and That Piglet were loitering around it. You can't trust those two. Always buddied up together, Pooh saying "Oh, Piglet, lick some honey from my paw" or somesuch. So anyway I had found my house.
Once after that house disappeared again someone found me another one. It was fully furnished and much nicer than my last one, though again That Piglet was hanging about it. The fellow who found me the home didn't even charge me commission. He must have forgot.
edit Dealing with Disaster
On occasion when squatting, more often than you might suppose or enjoy, you will have to deal with Total and Unremitting Disaster. As you are not high up on the food chain to begin with, it is not far to fall; yet it still hurts. Again, The World of Pooh offers some advice for beginning squatters:
- Blubber. "But I luh-luh-love my home!"
Let us, by way of introduction, turn our attention to that first moment at which one realizes that one is, in fact, upside down. Comforted by the knowledge that one is still inside one's home, one can therefore begin to assess the damage. The first thing to do is to discover if any personal injuries have been sustained. These, if present, must be dealt with immediately as continued survival is the only item making shelter important. Secondly, reorientation to the new arrangements of walls, floor and ceiling must be confronted. At this point one needs to ask: a) can I live with this new arrangement, and b) is a bulldozer coming through one of the walls?
Intellect, should you be so blessed, may verify that fleeing is rapidly required. Still, dignity ought to be maintained if at all possible, and so a gentle stride out of one's former abode is recommended. Do not wait for darkness: at once begin the search for your new place of lodging.
edit Falling Into Rivers
It happened again. One minute I was standing by the river, contemplating its rushing and shushing, and the next I was BOUNCED. Finding onself in the disturbing and low-temperature condition of Waterborne is not pleasant. Assuming you avoid drowning, the very next thing to do--and I speak from experience--is to figure out what you would like to accomplish now. This can take some time. While you are working on this you may indulge in lazily turning in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction, or perhaps noting certain passers-by on the banks of the river who will hop up and down with the mental incapacity of a dozen village idiots as you pass. You are in no special danger as long as you do not struggle against the river, but to get out you will have to wait for unnatural intervention.
edit Appealing to Authority
While it is more fun to decieve the landlord and/or welfare case workers by making home brew in a makeshift still out back of your hole-in-the-tree abode, it is nonetheless to your assistance from time to time to Appeal to Authority. Authority, if a definition may be permitted, is that Higher Power in your neighbourhood which can and does intervene in your comings and goings. You may direct some of its activities, or you may remain at its whim.
Take the example of Piglet, for...er...example. In this instance his home was overwhelmed by trajic flooding. He sent a distress note via bottle, which was received by Pooh and taken thereupon to the Authority in this area: Christopher Robin. Discussion followed and as the Authority is indeed soft of heart, a Rescue was induced. Piglet was saved and his housing visited by restoration experts on the tab of Christopher Robin. This we term Divine Intervention. Take note.
edit Sourcing Food
Written by Roo
"Well, it looks clean to me" and other famous last words
edit Edibles Selection
Written by Kanga
malt sandwiches for Tigger
edit Dealing with Abandonment Issues
edit Proper Attitude
Written by Rabbit
edit Community Counselling
Written by Pooh