Hand to Mouth: No Way To Live, Unless You Have No Other Choice

“I haven’t had it worse than anyone else, and actually, that’s kind of the point. This is just what life is for roughly a third of the country.” In her introduction to Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America (published in October from GP Putnam’s Sons), author Linda Tirado expands on the online essay that went viral, in which she tried to answer an anonymous poster’s question about why poor people make “self-destructive” decisions. Her arguments are funny and incisive, often summarizing big ideas into a single perfect sentence (“I have trouble understanding why taking a few grand a year in food stamps is somehow magically different than taking trillions as a bailout.”), and prodding readers to see the bigger picture about poverty. Many of those “bad” decisions represent the best option available at the time for people with limited resources. I emailed Tirado some questions about life before and after the book, dental drama and the daily grind that is life between paychecks.The Progressive Populist: Hand to Mouth has its roots in an essay you wrote online that went viral, in answer to a question about “why poor people make such bad decisions.” What were you feeling when you wrote that initial reply?Linda Tirado: That particular day I’d been due home at a reasonable hour, and I had a list of things to get done. Of course I wound up having to stay at work for hours, and by the time I got home, I was reflecting on the fact that you can’t vacuum the floors when everyone’s asleep. I felt like I was failing personally, and I was really angry about that. It’s pretty much the default state of any service worker, actually. Not quite ever able to get on top of everything.TPP: How has it been dealing with the media about the initial post and now the book?Read More.Source: The Progressive Populist/Heather Seggel