• 32°

No such thing as wrong side of the tracks

I’ve heard about these people all my life, but I’ve never actually seen the rails that separate our worlds and make me better than them.

Regardless, I’ve known from childhood that they aren’t important people. How could anybody from such a bad sounding place be good?

Since I’m unsure of the whereabouts of this particular geographical location, maybe somebody can help me out.

Where is the wrong side of the tracks?

And if there is a wrong side, does that mean I’ve always been on the right side?

One more question: where are these tracks?

The people I’ve always heard described as being from “over there” usually don’t have a lot of possessions. Generally, most of them do not have a high education or a well-paying job.

So, obviously, those of us on the right side have an obligation to make fun of them and keep them in their place.

Looking back on my younger years, I remember many classmates who were rumored to have lived there. They wore the same clothes to school several days in a row, ate free lunches and were picked on by us “right siders.”

They were different from us because…….I’ll get back to you on that one.

But the fact is that they were different and we all knew it.

We on the “right side” led perfect lives, free of the unmentionable behaviors that we instinctively knew occurred on the “wrong side.”

None of us were ever arrested. None of us ever lied, cheated, or stole. We upheld the morals that “right-siders” were naturally selected to follow.

Well, some of us were arrested, and some of us lied, cheated and stole. Some of us even drank beer, smoked pot, egged houses and threw our teachers’ grade books in the river. But that was just kids doing what kids do.

Most of the time, when we did bad things it was because we had fallen in with the wrong crowd…with some of “those” people.

We didn’t habitually commit heinous acts like those on the “wrong side” committed. Our parents didn’t sell drugs, get drunk and work on cars all day, push brooms, or collect garbage. Our parents were fine, upstanding community cornerstones who went to church every Sunday and warned us about the people “over there.”

Those people were derelicts we should avoid at all costs. They chose to live the way they lived and weren’t to be given any leniency.

That was many years ago, but the same class divides still live today. Those on the “wrong side” are the prisoners, the lazy and the welfare bums who drag on our tax base. They are the outsiders we all want to keep outside.

Some argue that they live as they do by choice, and in some cases I agree. But if their lifestyles are a product of learned behavior, what are they learning from the rest of us?

Christmas just passed with more than a few of those “wrong side” kids going gift-less yet again. If not for the Ironton City Mission and groups like the Lawrence County Young Professionals, many more would have only known it was Christmas by the decorations on other people’s houses.

I noticed this year that many people are adamant about keeping Christ in the holiday season, saying “Merry Christmas” instead of the politically correct “Happy Holidays.”

But I wonder, if we ignore those in need and look down our noses at somebody based on their financial well-being, can we truly say we are Christians?

There weren’t any tracks 2,000 years ago, but if there were, Jesus would have lived on the “wrong side.”

What would we have thought about it then?

Billy Bruce is a freelance writer who lives in Pedro. He can be contacted at hollandkat3@aol.com.