As You Can See From My Name-Brand Clothing, I Am Not PoorCommentary • Opinion • trends • ISSUE 36•04 • Feb 9, 2000 By Manny Lucas Manny Lucas Just because I happen to live with my four brothers and sisters in my mom's two-bedroom South Side apartment, work at Taco Bell, and don't have a car, some ignorant types assume that I don't have much money. But, as you can clearly see from my $220 Fubu jacket and $95 Tommy Hilfiger sweatshirt, I could not possibly be poor. The kind of name-brand clothing I wear is very expensive. See these Karl Kani jeans? Eighty-eight dollars. Would I spend that kind of money on a pair of jeans if I were poor? Of course not. If I were poor, I'd think $88 was way too much to spend on a pair of jeans that, with the exception of a tiny Karl Kani logo embroidered on the front right pocket, are practically indistinguishable from a plain old pair of $25 Levi's. But I don't think that's too much to spend because, for a well-off person like myself, money is no object. Sure, I make $5.90 an hour at Taco Bell, but that couldn't possibly be my only source of income, could it? If my total weekly take-home pay were only $175, why in the world would I spend practically that much on a Nautica sweater and pair of Timberlands? That would mean I'd have spent 40 hours slinging Chalupas just for that one shopping trip to the mall. That'd just be plain stupid. So, obviously, I must be rolling in dough. And I am. You can tell by my special non-poor-people clothing. Yes, it's obvious that I'm not like all those other losers who are working at Taco Bell and living with their moms. No, I'm a player. Take, for example, my socks. If I didn't have money to burn, I certainly wouldn't spend $22 for a pair of basic white athletic socks with a teeny-tiny Calvin Klein "CK" on them, would I? Of course not. I'd need to save my cash to get my telephone reconnected, or to pay off my loitering fine, or to help out my mom with the grocery bill. But, luckily, I'm not in that situation, and everyone knows it just by looking at my clothes. I'll admit it: A lot of people here on the South Side are poor. In fact, most of my relatives are poor, including my mother and all my siblings. Knowing that, you might assume that I don't have that much money, either. But just look at these Lugz boots. And look at this Sean John baseball cap. They prove that I'm in an entirely different social class from my relatives, as well as from all those suckers who ride the bus with me every day. Except for Angela, that is. I met her Monday on the C-route. She clearly belongs to a higher class of people like myself. I could tell because she was decked out from head to toe in expensive gear: Fubu jersey, Pepe jeans, and Fila shoes, not to mention a big gold chain around her neck. Angela was holding her two-year-old son, but he obviously isn't placing much of a financial strain on her, as he was wearing a complete matching Abercrombie & Fitch outfit, which must have cost around $140. Recognizing how much Angela and I had in common, I asked her out on the spot. We went to dinner at Denny's that very same night.