Episode 28 Vac & Danny: A Show on The Vomit of Poverty & The Elegance of Survival

We live in a time which is the most blessed era in history. There are less wars than ever before, less sickness and lets hunger.

Bob Smith, just a guy on Quora.com answered the question: What is the greatest time in history? saying “Right now, and it isn’t even close”.

President Barack Obama said in an address to the United Nations: Around the globe, there are signposts of progress… I often tell young people in the United States this is the best time in human history to be born, for you are more likely than ever before to be literate, to be healthy, and to be free to pursue your dreams.”

John Haltiwanger, a journalist with elitedaily.com wrote (October 2, 2014), “disease is in decline; a century ago you wouldn’t have lived to see 50. In 1950, global life expectancy was 47. Today, it’s closer to 70. Simply put, humans are winning the war against death. We are living longer and more fulfilling lives.”

He continued, “People are suffering less and able to spend more time with their loved ones towards the end of their lives.” John argues all of this is a direct product of “human innovation….the industry revolution….the development of vaccines”. He said, “other medical advancements have helped quell both the onset and spread of life-threatening diseases.”

About poverty, John said, “fewer people are suffering from poverty today (although poverty is still an enormous problem as, “2.7 billion people live on less than two dollars a day). At the same time, despite a huge increase in the world’s population, global poverty has declined dramatically over the past 30 years. Since 1981, the number of people living on less than $1.25 a day has declined by over 700 million — more than twice the population of the United States.”

Steven Pinker, a pundit having to do with war and violence throughout human history writes, “Believe it or not, the world of the past was much worse. Violence has been in decline for thousands of years, and today we may be living in the most peaceable era in the existence of our species. Democracy arguably makes the international system more peaceful, as it gives more people a voice.”
These are truly positive statements giving hope to humankind and a belief we can better when we try. So, what does all this have to do with Episode 28 of Hatradio! with Vac and Danny, two guys who live in housing which is geared to income and have little resources to their name.

It’s true, Vac and Danny have it tough. They live in downtown Toronto in very diminutive rooms crammed with stuff. There is no easy way for them to grow out of their situation as they are both in their sixties with serious physical ailments. Most of their time is spent tending to their troubles which prevents them from getting around. On top of that they live on little bits of money provided to them by social assistance and pension.

Vac and Danny suffer, a lot!!! But here’s the thing. In 2019, the two friends live in Toronto where the standard of living is incredibly high. If you investigate the world in the 1800s, poverty was the standard. At that time, the rural and urban poor had much in common: unsanitary and overcrowded housing, low wages, poor diet, insecure employment and the awful stuff that came along with sickness and old age.

While I do not envy Vac’s or Danny’s life, and God willing things should get better for them, I do believe they have a bit more opportunity to self-actualize themselves because of where and when they live. They have the chance to grow, unlike the impoverished of the past. In essence, they are lucky to be inside, in Toronto, Ontario Canada in 2019. (Important to note not every individual or family is lucky to live in our era, even in Toronto. There are people who have awful lives because of poverty and that is a given. My thesis in this article, however, is that many people who are poor today in many places in the world, have it much better than in times past).

In episode 28, Vac stated he lives on the sixth floor of his building, one louder than Danny’s floor – the second. But yet, they learn, they grow, and they are articulate and express their narrative in a cogent fashion. These guys are bright and aware of what is going on around them. Again, their poverty sucks but thank God there is a safety net built into our system, called social assistance which catches these guys when and if they fall. To be part of the system can really suck, but it exists and that is a far cry from centuries past.

Further, episode 28 of Hatradio! teaches us we need to be conscious and aware, that the person we walk by lying bare foot and shirtless on the pavement at Bloor and Yonge, could be a PhD, and/or someone who lost his spouse. That woman we see who inebriated living in an alley way at Sherbourne and Dundas is may have been a kick-ass mom who lost her job thereby her ability to take care of her children.

Episode 28 tells us don’t judge a homeless or impoverished person by the dirt under their fingernails and the rips in their pants. While Vac and Danny are not on the streets (Danny was), they were formidable guests on Hatradio! able to hold their own in our dialogue and at times, take over the show and wax on about various issues affecting them.

They spoke intelligent. They were funny as hell — a raw sort of funny which makes me laugh my head off. When I asked Danny why he loves the horse races so much he said, ‘I love everything about it.’ And then went on to say, ‘the smell of horse shit, the leather….’. He was tremendously real. I love the smell of horse shit too.

Episode 28 of Hatradio! is an enormously important show. It teaches us about what many people call ‘the other’ or what the Bible refers to as the ‘stranger’. The lesson we can take out of this episode is how crucial it is for us to take those folks, the most vulnerable, ‘inside’ and recognize them as human beings not invisible wretches.

“Love thy neighbor as you love yourself”. That’s in the old and new testament. And it’s in this episode of Hatradio! What we can take away from this show is, we are all members of the world’s community, equal, sharing this planet in the best time in history. With that knowledge the impoverished can help the rich, and the wealthy can pick up the poor. And those in the middle, can share bigheartedly and care for all with a generosity of spirit and a true and authentic love of personkind.

Hatradio! The show that schmoozes.

“Life is like water in a cupped hand. Inevitably it escapes through your fingers and soon your hand is empty. Every second you lose a valuable pearl of life, and you do not know how long the string of pearls of your life is.” Kabirdas (15th-century Indian mystic poet and saint)