As We Live and Breathe: Broke-Ass Makes the Cover of the NYT Sunday Review

When Broke-Ass wrote the first entry of this ongoing eye-wateringly scatological rant almost a year ago, she had all but bubkes. Sure enough, she had her sparkly-minded schmushkies and Big Daddy, plenty to supply gratitude for a lifetimes. But other than that, she had a bilious humor and all but bubkes. Now, she’s written a memoir (In Spite of Everything–Lord, please buy it and feed the children), growing a lot of her own damn food, raising 20 odd chickens, working on three kinds of stress-related illnesses, and is moving to Philly, where it is possible far, far from guaranteed that she might be able to wring out a living.

But today, in particular, she’s on the cover of The New York Times Sunday Review. Were it not for the encouragement of you beloveds and Thomas Merton, she’d never have heaved herself out of the compost to even pitch the story.

So, Broke-Ass would like to thank you. Even the few who have sent her mean messages (though maybe not quite as much–they really did sting). When you’re scatological and grouchy, people can assume that you’re really doing just fine. But you’re not.

When you live on the edge as Broke-Ass and the schmushkies do, the most punishing consequence is the loss of faith and heart. You wonder how, and if, you can keep on keeping on. There seems to be no evidence that any of one’s work comes to anything but more bubkes. One feels, simply, like giving up. Sometimes, one does.

But the vitality rendered from the kindness of strangers ends up being more than a hackneyed line from a storied fallen aristocrat. It ends up being for real.

Broke-Ass is finally feeling as though she may be able to peel herself off of the floor of the crap-layered chicken coop and do something actual.

Thank you for your help. Thank you so much.


About brokeassgrouch

I'm goddamned broke and grouchy. I live in the middle of the damned ghetto and raise chickens for eggs; grow all my own vegetables and fruit; bake the bread and make the cleaning products. Why? Because I fucking have to, that's why! That's what you do when you're fucking poor! You have to make the shit yourself, dumb-ass! Broke-Ass Grouch is sick of all you Bennington and RISD trustafarians yapping about your "urban farming co-ops" and your "carbon conscious lifestyle" and your "green choices" in the Times Styles section and every alternapress periodical that you can pick up for free in every eye-wateringly expensive, edgy bakery or green-market. Maybe when you have a trust fund, you can make "choices" or have a "lifestyle" or "decide" how to "spend" your "money." Excuse me, but Mama is just trying to feed her kids over here, you little shits. And stop spraying your art-school graffiti on the fence of the vacant lot across the street from my house. I know who you are, and I'm telling my friend Keith (who lives in the projects) that it was you who painted that cartoon of the African mask. So what can I tell you? I don't fucking know. I know a lot about being broke, sure as Bob's your fucking uncle. I know about how useless an Ivy League degree is when you're flat-ass broke. I know how to unclog a drain with baking soda and vinegar, and I know how to make my own CHEESE, for fuck's sake. You tell me.
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11 Responses to As We Live and Breathe: Broke-Ass Makes the Cover of the NYT Sunday Review

  1. Maryanne says:

    Congratulations. Great story, awesome blog. Keep it comin’!

  2. Alice MacDonald says:

    Hi there – congratulations and Ioved your article. Good luck to you! I make a lot from scratch, and I was curious about the cheese/yogurt making you described. I’ve looked at doing it as a hobby sort of thing, but I can’t really see it as money saving. From what I’ve read a ball of mozzarella takes a gallon of milk, and you could buy it for as much or less depending on the type of milk. Most store organic milk is ultra-pasteurized and can’t make cheese, then the farm fresh stuff is wonderful but around $12/gallon plus by me (in westchester), and if you’re buying the plain grocery milk are there any real cost savings or health advantages to making cheese from it?

  3. GiRRL_Earth says:

    Great article. Congrats! Do I see a Broke-Ass cookbook deal in your future? Please keep the recipes coming. I am a recently divorced vegan who’s going broke spending my hard earned secretary salary at Whole Paycheck, I mean Foods. Loved your baking soda/white vinegar ideas. It is all I use now to clean my house. Love it and so cheap! Keep sharing your great ideas.

  4. the lupines says:

    broke-ass, thanks for your lovely article in NYT Sunday Review. keep on keepin’ on, sister. one comment: honestly, the negative online comments are mystifying….i’ve noticed this more often of late. never do you say, “i’m the first person ever to save $ growing veggies and cleaning w/ baking soda!” yet ppl feel compelled to correct, criticize, to be snide and mean. what is this anger all about? i commend you, and all authors, for being vulnerable enough to put anything out there at all ever. thanks again.

  5. You may be broke-ass when it comes to having money, but you are not broke-ass when it comes having brains, beauty, and soul, so there. It is also clear to all your grateful readers that you love your children fiercely. I suppose that you will actually be criticized for that as well; specifically, by certain NYT armchair warriors who were too lazy to even read one more article you had written and find out what kind of a person you actually are.
    Fuck ’em, fuck ’em, fuck ’em.
    Please allow me to offer belated thanks for all your delightful help on “Digital Duo” as well. You and Steve Manes were always a delight, and you really helped us figure out what the hell to make of all this weirdo and poor-quality tech when we had no choice but to plunge into it.
    Yours Brokeassedly,

  6. Elizabeth Beckman says:

    broke-ass, I apologize for the negative comments about negative comments above…you are wise and above-it to just not read. instead of commenting about commenting, I wish I’d said more about the awesomeness of your urban farm and the plainspoken, inspiring way you talk about it. Also about the absolute cuteness of those knit thigh-hose-legwarmers thingys you’re wearing in the photo. thanks again for all.

  7. KT says:

    I enjoyed your NYT’s article–and it’s what led me to your blog. The internet, unfortunately, allows people to rant and rave without considering the person on the receiving end of those thoughtless comments.
    My family experienced hard times when I was in 8th grade through college (beyond, really) when my dad was unemployed for very long stretches of time. It was rough. We lived in a middle class/upper middle class town, so I felt this sense of shame and isolation with what we were going through at home. My parents were resourceful–we didn’t grow our own food, but my dad (who did the cooking) cooked everything from scratch and stretched dishes–beans, many many pots of beans–to get the most out of them. Nothing was thrown out: we froze bones for stock, scraps of food were wrapped in foil and eaten later. Meager times–but as my mom recently told me when we talked about that period, she just knew we would get through it. So enduring faith, hope, and frugality got us through.
    Best of luck to you. And thank you for sharing your story.

    • KT says:

      I just want to clarify, by the people ranting and raving without consideration of how their comments impact others, I am referring to some of the mean-spirited comments on the NYTimes site.

  8. Mary Gilbert says:

    Dear Broke Ass. I read your NYT article, was an instant fan, and posted it on Facebook. Then another Broke Ass Bitch (but clearly not THE Broke Ass Bitch) shared your blog. You’re awesome! I think your “can do” approach is amazing and you are a brave and valiant mommy! I love the attitude as well. So, keep up the good work. Keep writing because it’s damn funny, and send us your recipes. Love, a co-earth mother looking to do my bit.

  9. Kirstin says:

    Bought the book! I adore you, your writing, and your whip-smart brain and spirit. Hope Philly is good to you and keep on writing!

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