Have you ever stopped to think about how much people take advantage of their lifestyle? I can I honestly say it wasn't really something I had thought about, except on Thanksgiving and watching those t. vs. commercials about starving children in third world countries. It was when I read "Shame" by Dick Gregory and "On the Meaning of Plumbing and Poverty" by Melanie Sheller. These two selections are stories about what life is like growing up in poverty in a country that was mostly wealthy. Despite the fact that both these writers shared the same pain of living their lives in shame and embarrassment, there were three distinctive problems that they didn't share and they are housing, plumbing, and food.

In the story "On the Meaning of Plumbing and Poverty". By Melanie Scheller, the most talked about problem was the fact that it was extremely difficult for her and her family to keep a house. Scheller describes to us that she and her family were always moving from one dilapidated house to another for a number of reasons. One reason being the increased cost of the rent. A second reason being that the house just burnt down. And the last reason is that they were evicted without warning.

As described in Scheller's passage, she and her family lived on farmland, which gave them easy access to some foods such as tomatoes, string beans, and some fruits. But unfortunately, Gregory didn't have the advantage of living on farmland. Gregory was in such poverty, that sometimes, because of such strong hunger pains, he would eat the paste that sat in the back of his classroom just so he could have something in his stomach. The third difference was the plumbing situation. Although Gregory had plumbing, the pipes often froze over in the winter leaving him no choice but to go to the local grocery store to get ice and let it melt down to water. And as for Scheller, she and her family had no plumbing at all; therefore, bathing was a tedious task.

Scheller explains how she would have to first pin a sheet to a piece of twine that strung across the kitchen to give herself some privacy from the other six people in the room. She would then fill pots with water from cold -water faucets that ran through the house, and boil the water. When the water was finished boiling, she would pour the pots of boiling water into the metal washtub. Fortunately for her, she was able to be the first to bathe, leaving the others to use the water she had already used.

Although the two authors had different problems, the were somewhat one in the same in the respect that they both had to live their lives with their heads hanging down in shame and embarrassment. Growing up in a society like ours is pretty easy when you think about it. We have a lot to be thankful for and we should all stop once in a while and thank God for what he has given us. And hey, why not even help out someone that isn't as fortunate as you.

Not only will it give light to a person that doesn't have the same luxuries as you, but you can live the rest of your life knowing that you helped someone that is less fortunate than you..