I'm not sure if Scalzi came up with this list, or collected it from somewhere, but he provides some pithy quotes on what it is to be poor. Samples:
Being poor is knowing exactly how much everything costs.
Being poor is having to keep buying $800 cars because they're what you can afford, and then having the cars break down on you, because there's not an $800 car in America that's worth a damn.
Being poor is hoping the toothache goes away.
Being poor is knowing your kid goes to friends' houses but never has friends over to
Being poor is going to the restroom before you get in the school lunch line so your friends will be ahead of you and won't hear you say "I get free lunch" when you get to the cashier.
Posted to the Actuarial Outpost
, it didn't take long for a poster there to come up with a counterpoint list for the rich. Read the full list linked above, then the list below. There's a good combination of funny "these aren't worries" worries, plus several legitimate worries that the average person probably never thinks about.
Being rich is having a million frequent flier miles, and nobody you really want to see.
Being rich is getting angry with your kids for producing all the crap you end up seeing on TV.
Being rich is having to keep buying $80,000 cars because that's what your neighbors can afford, and then having the cars break down on you, because Jaguars are ####.
Being rich is helping your dentist's kids get hummers while they're at college.
Being rich is knowing your kid only sees his friends at your place, as they toke up.
Being rich is never daring to go to the school restroom.
Being rich is needing to drive for 30 minutes before you can get to the freeway.
Being rich is coming back to the car with your children clutching all the candy they could grab in the checkout line, and thinking how much more money the Dentist is going to make now.
Being rich is having to say you don't mind being asked for help by your sibling all the time.
Being rich is on-brand toys that never get used twice.
Being rich is a theater in only one room of the house.
Being rich is knowing you still can't leave $5 on the coffee table when your friends and maid
Being rich is hoping your kids have an ethical growth spurt.
Being rich is telling your mom she doesn't have to make dinner tonight -- because she can't cook
worth a ####.
Being rich is knowing that Goodwill underwear is chic.
Being rich is having too much space for everyone who lives with you.
Being rich is feeling your hamstrings tear off when you run around the playground.
Being rich is your kids's school being the one with the upscale drug dealers and teachers who
don't have to be crappy -- but are.
Being rich is thinking $8 an hour is a good deal, but who works for that little?
Being rich is relying on people who would benefit from your death.
Being rich is living behind locked gates and not daring to walk because of all the bums.
Being rich is finding that your parents enjoy making love, but not to each other.
Being rich is a bathroom that you don't dare use.
Being rich is having poor people turn up their noses at your trash.
Being rich is not knowing how to make lunch to your kids.
Being rich is believing a million actually makes a goddamned difference.
Being rich is people angry at you just for bringing your nanny into the mall.
Being rich is not being able to trust someone to watch your kids and not kidnap them.
Being rich is the police shooting you and taking your mansion for a dime bag under the new laws.
Being rich is not talking to that girl because she'll only want your money.
Being rich is having to invite others for dinner.
Being rich is a sidewalk with nobody on it.
Being rich is people wanting to know the dirt about everything you do.
Being rich is needing that 35-hour work week.
Being rich is your kid's teacher resenting you for voting against hiking your taxes.
Being rich is wondering whether to sell the bentley or the Matisse when the t-bills go the wrong way.
Being rich is crying when you didn't make EVP before the age of 40.
Being rich is everyone assuming you don't have to work.
Being rich is people surprised to discover you're actually a person with wants, and needs.
Being rich is people surprised to discover you're not actually a boor.
Being rich is paying your doctor personally because he won't deal with insurance companies.
Being rich is never buying anything unless it's fashionable.
Being rich is not knowing what ramen is.
Being rich is having to toe the line lest your parents disown you.
Being rich is getting tired of people wanting you to die.
Being rich is knowing you're being resented.
Being rich is a gift card from mom.
Being rich is checking your "six" every time you venture out of the high-rent district.
Being rich is deciding that it's all right to base a relationship on bloodlines.
Being rich is knowing that lotto wouldn't change your life anyway.
Being rich is knowing that if you fish out the exact change the register lady will say she already
rang it up.
Being rich is feeling helpless when your child makes the mistakes you avoided.
Being rich is a loneliness that doesn't go away.
Being rich is making sure you don't spill on the couch, because that's one of a thousand things
you have to not do to be rich.
Being rich is a tax hike that takes away $200 from your paycheck -- and you're not supposed to notice.
Being rich is paying someone to take your tests, because anything less than Magna Cum Laude just won't cut it.
Being rich is sleeping in bed alone, or with someone you've paid.
Being rich is being hit up to support the shelter -- and the bums still harass you.
Being rich is people wondering how they can be like you.
Being rich is knowing how little fun it really is.
Being rich is seeing how few realistic options you have.
Being rich is falling behind.
Being rich is people wondering out loud how long you will stay.
(Disclaimer: I obviously think it's a lot easier to be rich than poor, but most people don't realize what those people, who worked to become rich, had and have to do in order to get rich.)
Update: Another response here