What Poor People Know

Screw the Jones family. Don’t even try to keep up with them

Michelle Teheux
4 min readAug 21, 2022
Photo by Alexander Grey on Unsplash

I was fortunate to have spent most of my childhood living in a trailer in a small town.

Yes. Fortunate.

When I see Hollywood depictions of spoiled rich high school kids, I feel like I’m watching science fiction: That’s a world I just can’t imagine.

I’m happy about that.

I never had to feel bad about not being able to keep up with anybody else. Sure, some families had more and some had less, but there were only 39 kids in my graduating class, so we couldn’t scrape together enough kids to form separate cliques.

Everybody knew everybody, had known many of them from kindergarten, and if anybody tried to be too fancy, the rest of us would have seen right through them.

There was never a lot of “keeping up with the Joneses” for me. I always understood that was a game I’d lose.

I’ve found ways to live a good life without the benefit of a lot of money, and I’m justifiably proud of that.

It’s also taught me resilience and to find smart and creative ways to live better than you’d think possible.

Maybe you’ve never had to worry.

Maybe you’re so wealthy that there’s little chance of you ever having to worry about your finances.

But history is replete with people who have gone from riches to rags, and there are times when all the wealth in the world won’t save you from hardship.

War, famine, political upheaval — these things often come at you without warning. I like knowing that I can shift for myself if I have to.

I’ve never been homeless, but I’ve been impressed by the stories of several people who have. They’ve said going through that experience gave them the invaluable gift of knowing that no matter what happens, they can make it.

That’s more inspiring than any rags-to-riches story.

What a gift — to have that kind of absolute trust in your ability to deal with anything the world throws at you.



Michelle Teheux

Lover of literature. Editor of Minds Without Borders. Former newspaper editor. Fascinated by everything. Contact at