When I awoke this morning, David Byrne was singing in my head.
. . . take my money, my cigarettes, I haven't seen the worst of it yet . . .
I remembered that hopelessness is a variable quantity, depending on who's doing the measuring and how the measuring device is graduated. Held against the backdrop of the Great Depression, our spiraling fortunes take on the shades of grey we remember from photos in textbooks, but those were different times. The faces in breadlines are colorful now, or would be, but for the absence of breadlines.
Today's bread is different, not only in flavor, variety, and color, but in the way it's distributed to those who measure hope one peanut-butter and jelly sandwich at a time. On a good day, the lines strain against the racks of greeting cards; on a bad day they reach only the nail clippers and gum. As time adjusts inventories toward the needs of the many, a more modest kind of hope will replace the camcorders and leather loveseats on the graduated scale of hopelessness, one peanut-butter and jelly sandwich at a time.