9.05.2011

what happens to a child who is hungry?

What happens to a child who is hungry?
And here's what I learned: being hungry makes me slow, stupid, and clumsy.

It took me about four or five days of not being able to get enough solid food down my throat to come up with the glaringly obvious idea of getting some liquid meal replacements. I read more slowly than usual, made more typos than usual, and often lost my place when proofreading. I spilled things on myself about three times as frequently, so that at any given time I'd have a wet spot or a stain on my shirt. I walked more slowly than usual. I got more easily distracted and frustrated by co-workers in other cubicles having ordinary conversations. I'd sometimes forget myself and scratch or pick my nose while in my cube or walking down the street where other people could see me.

Basically, I turned into one of the dumb kids in school. Not just the ones who got bad marks, but the ones who were slow and loud and messy and didn't follow instructions well and didn't listen to the teacher and did things like fall out of their chairs. The ones that my classmates, in the ignorance and cruelty of childhood and the language of the 80s, would have called "retards".
Impudent Strumpet: On Being Hungry.

Every so often a study comes out showing that hungry or homeless children don't perform as well in school as children who are properly sheltered and nourished. One might be tempted to complain: we have money for studies of the obviously obvious, but not enough money to feed every hungry child.

But of course it's not so. There's enough money and enough food so that no child - or their parent - should ever be malnourished. We're a radical shift of priorities and a redistribution of wealth away from that future.

2 comments:

John F said...

A very powerful essay from Imp Strump!

I am reminded of SF writer John Scalzi's Being Poor.

impudent strumpet said...

Oh wow, I am so massively flattered at the comparison!