FZINE: a place for high school students and teachers to read, interact, and contrbute. LAUNCH


by Natalie Edwards

Is it my imagination, or is everyone’s mind slipping a little bit this month? Even the bevy of oiled-up young men seem a little out of it. I found several of them trying to open my letters with their tongues this month, much to the dismay of Hans, who had to be sent home to nurse his many paper cuts alone. It seems the middle o’ semester blues and the uneasy transition from winter to spring has left many of us, including myself, anxious, frustrated, and scatter-brained.

This month’s requests for advice explore the effects of pre-spring fever. While most of you are applying your fake tans and pumping away at those two-pound weights you bought in the Target dollar bins so your arms don’t look like sausages in your tank tops, I’m slaving away in the
F Newsmagazine Headquarters, finding solutions to problems. I think I did pretty well this month, and I would even pat myself on the back, if I didn’t have this bevy of dudes to pat me instead.


Dear Natalie,

I just finished reading the financial issue of F, and now I think I’m really confused — I can’t afford to have someone do my taxes for me, and I don’t know how to do them. More than that, I think I need welfare or food stamps or something, because I barely make any money, and since my electric bill has gone through the roof, I can’t make ends meet. Help.

- Seriously Anticipating Income Crisis

Dear SAIC,

I’m glad you wrote, because you’re not alone in this situation. I usually don’t give financial advice, since I am not qualified to give financial advice, and am in dire straits myself, but since I’m doing the research for myself anyway, I thought I’d throw some of the info I’ve got your way.

welfare checkFirst, if you can’t afford to have someone do your taxes, don’t worry. Your local library can check out a copy of TurboTax to you, or you can file online for free through, the Internal Revenue Service’s website. If you absolutely must go somewhere to do your taxes (if you have deductions to make or do a lot of freelance work), don’t worry, there are organizations out there waiting to help people just like you and me. The Center for Economic Progress, a non-profit organization whose goal is “improving access to public, private, and non-profit programs and services,” has free tax preparation across the city. If you make a lot of money or are dependent on your parents for cash, you may not be able to use their services, so call ahead first. However, they can probably help point you in the right direction, even if you aren’t eligible for their services, because they’re just that kind of organization.

Regarding your ComEd bill: ComEd is run by greedy, bullying A-holes. It’s true. My electric bill went up from $11 to $80 in just the last month, and people across the state are opening their bills to find increases up to 300% (that’s funny — minimum wage hasn’t increased that much in the last 10 years, has it?). While ComEd’s rates were frozen for the last ten years by the Illinois General Assembly, ComEd swears the higher rates are necessary to ensure the company’s economic future, which is hard for me to believe, since we have no choice in using ComEd for electric services, and I don’t see electricity being phased out in favor of other power sources any time soon.

The Citizen’s Utility Board, a consumer advocacy group aimed at educating and empowering consumers in Illinois, has a blog that can keep you informed about the price-hike. People are still fighting ComEd’s tactics, and CUB is keeping a close eye on every step of the battle. You can get involved through their website. Don’t forget you have an alderman: aldermen are good for things other than hoarding guns and taking bribes; they are good for complaining at. It’s your alderman’s job to listen to you complain. You can make an appointment to go in there and tell him (or her, in some cases) what you think. He gets paid with your tax dollars to hear you out. He can also erase parking tickets, so keep that in mind.

If you’re in a real bind, you can ask the financial aid office for an emergency loan, also known as a Butler Loan. You can get $200 to plug a hole in your financial boat before it sinks, but you have to pay the school back in a month. The loan is instant and in cash. But you only get three per calendar year, so don’t think you can go crazy.

food stampsIf you’re really poor, like I am, you can apply for welfare and food stamps, but there are restrictions. Naturally, in an instance where I was looking for some financial aid, I turned to SAIC’s financial aid office. I asked two separate financial aid officers to help me by pointing me in the right direction to get food stamps or welfare, and they sent me to the Student Affairs office. The guy in Student Affairs sent me to the Department of Employment Security, which is not the social services administrating entity I was looking for. Instead, I asked the security guards at the front desk of the Michigan building where I could get human services, and one helpful lady in uniform had the answers. Why we don’t have a support system at this institution that can educate students on financial matters, beyond setting us up for financial ruin with independent loans is a mystery. Anyway, the helpful security guard told me to download the applications online at the Illinois Department of Human Services website, where I can, after filling out some paperwork and conducting an interview, receive both Link cash assistance and food support. One young woman who was entering the building while I was speaking with the security guard stopped and asked where she too could get assistance. “I’ve been waiting for ages for someone at this school to sit me down and tell me how to figure this stuff out,” she said. She then proceeded to ask the smart security guard more questions about who is eligible and where she could apply, and the guard had answers. I think someone who works at the security desk deserves a raise.


security advisor

First off — I have to let you know that you are Fuckin pheonomonal! You have me pissin in my pants have [sic] of the time.... Your advice is so on the money Nat. but now I am in the hot seat and I need the advice from you! Who’d a thought? I thought I would give it shot though, and see what you have to say for me...
Here goes...

Dear Natalie;
People think I am a bitch who walks around w/ attitude- I have come to realize I have intimidated the people around me and it is uncomfortable for all. Though these are not my intentions at all — how do I overcome for people to see I am truly meek and girly, who is really quiet until I get to know you?... This is probably why I scared Andrew in the print room away! hahaha- (Lots of Andrews)....
-The Humble One-

Dear The Humble One,

First, you seem like a real bitch, and it sounds like everyone around you agrees with me. This isn’t a problem, though — far from it. People actually like bitches. Polarizing figures, like yourself, are good for the community. The word “bitch” has gotten a bad rap, and I think we can blame those afraid of feminism’s constant evolution. Women (and I’m going to assume you are one) are afraid of being a “bitch,” but sometimes, it turns out, we’re not really bitches at all, we’re just standing our ground or projecting our beliefs. People can think a woman is a bitch if she says too much or doesn’t say anything at all, if she has opinions or doesn’t.

To further this discussion, being “meek and girly” is overrated, unless you are an actual rabbit, in which case I would suggest you go all out. I would recommend that no one be meek. Meek folks will not inherit the earth, as the Bible says, but are more likely to inherit a bad case of the clap because they are too meek to insist on condom use. What does being girly mean, Humble One? Does it mean having manicured hands and coiffed hair, an obvious enjoyment of shopping, an eagerness to blow a dude, and the inclination to bake a lovely cake? Or does being girly mean dressing like Britney Spears circa 1999? Can it mean anything you want it to mean?

If it’s true that you have an attitude, what kind of attitude is it, can you change it, and is it worth changing? These are questions to answer for yourself, as I can’t be sure, but be careful not to confuse attitude with personality.

Finally, Humble One, I suggest, if you want to unscare-away this Andrew, make him a print. You’re already making art anyway, so it’s no extra effort, and everyone dreams of being a muse. And how nice to reverse the roles and have the dude be the muse for a change. That way my bevy of oiled-up young men won’t be alone in their muse club.

Click here to Tell your Friends about this page

Printer Friendly Version