A few weeks ago, when I got home from the office, my wife mentioned that Morgan was feeling 'bummed out'. In the place and at the time I was a kid that exact phrase had certain overtones I felt were inapplicable so I requested enlightenment as to what feeling 'bummed out' meant.
It seems the little princess had spent three and a half hours that day at some social welfare agency filing paperwork and being interviewed for benefits available to the unwed mother.
In return for her time the state will give her approx $150 a month in cash, approx $250 a month in food stamps and pays the entire cost of health insurance for her infant.
In the scheme of things this isn't an enormous amount of financial assistance. I'd be guessing at the cost of health insurance given that I let Sonya worry about those details. That's pure laziness on my side of course but I do hide behind the flimsy excuse of being a newcomer to this society and of course 'we do things differently in Australia'. But at a rough guess we're talking maybe $7000 a year which is hardly a living income.
As I say, not an enormous amount, but I couldn't help feeling bemused at the thought of the little princess being 'bummed out'. As I put it to Sonya, 'Strewth, I'd put in three and a half hours work for seven grand.' On the other hand, I haven't spent my entire life imagining the world owed me a living.