Wow! What an honor! Albany has been named one of the ten poorest places to live in the entire country! If you’re bring home is under $20,000 a year, you can take a little pride in knowing that you personally helped make this possible. Hey, if the saga of Balloon Boy is any measure, this new culture of ours is all about getting attention, good or bad. Making this list surely does that. Now the pondering begins; just exactly what do we do with such a label?
From Forbes Magazine, Albany is ranked in the top 10 poorest cities. Read full article: America’s Most Impoverished Cities.
How about bus tours through the poorest section of our very poor town? We would target market this to the nation’s richest communities. We appeal to their voyeuristic desire to see what life is like without trust funds, a call to their do-gooder nature, and their need to show they “care”. We make every effort touch their big hearts by way of their big wallets. No? Too crass? Maybe. Besides, that would only bring in more money, which could very well threaten our ranking. Nevermind; bad idea.
We could hold ourselves up as a shining example of just how little you actually need to get by. With the right branding, we could take the lead in the current social rush to make being wealthy a bad thing. Greed is out. Frugality is in. We could become the Mecca of the new “simplicity”. If they can swing gas money, we would most certainly be overrun with poor people from across the nation, across the world! Throngs would gather downtown under the eternal blind stare of Ray Charles, chanting, “We poor! We proud! We use to it!” Then it’s off to the soup line for … soup.
Once we have snatched the poverty crown away from those other nine bum-wannabe towns and made it exclusively our own, we would have to quickly put policies in place that maintained our standing. Lucky for us, many of those that now “serve” the citizens of Albany, are way ahead of us on this one, so we can sleep easy. It would take a lot of hard work for someone to wrestle our broke badge away from us, and it doesn’t appear anyone is really trying to do that, except for maybe that young upstart, Chris Pike.
Just who does he think he is? A young black man, in Albany, Georgia, running around telling folks that the old ways of Albany are history and not the future! He actually thinks that private enterprise, aided with a compassionate, common sense, business friendly local government is the way to go. Yeah, right!
That sounds hard. We would have to get up and go do something to earn more money tomorrow than we did today. Why in the world would we want to do that? We would surely lose our Po’-trophy, and have to start paying some serious taxes. Does Pike have any idea just how long we have suffered to get on the 10 poorest list? And now, just as our sinking ship sails in, he’s all about responsibility and hard work! Somebody needs to point out to him all the perks that come with being so poor. For starters, look at all the free time many of us have. If time is money, then we’re doing real good, because we have plenty of it, and tax free, thank you very much!
Nope, I say we take this special ranking in America and milk it for every bit of attention we can get. And we’re not done yet, are we fellow Albanians? No way! All we need a little time to reeducate all the optimistic, upbeat folks like Pike and a few others. The nation thinks we’re poor now? Ha! They ain’t seen nothing, YET.
Written by Lon McNeil. Mr. McNeil is an Albany independent marketing consultant. Find him online at AlbanyOnPoint.