A break from politics -- Life in a Different Perspective

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Figured we all could use a break from the political winds being blown this way and that. This one was sent to me today and it could not have come at a better time for me.

Funny how that happens; I needed perspective, and I got it. Hope it has as much meaning for you as it does for me.


Life in a Different Perspective

One day a father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the firm purpose of showing his son how poor people live. They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family.

On their return from their trip, the father asked his son, "How was the trip?"

"It was great, Dad."

"Did you see how poor people live?" the father asked.

"Oh Yeah" said the son.

"So what did you learn from the trip?" asked the father.

The son answered, "I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon. We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight. We have servants who serve us, but they serve others. We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them."

With this the boy's father was speechless.

Then his son added, "Thanks, dad, for showing me how poor we are."

Too many times we forget what we have and concentrate on what we don't have. What is one's person's worthless object is another's prize possession. It is all based on one's perspective. Makes you wonder what would happen if we all gave thanks for all the bounty we have instead of worrying about wanting more.

Take joy and appreciate every single thing you have, especially your friends.

-- Patricia (PatriciaS@lasvegas.com), August 29, 2000


1 of best posts seen in long-long-time!!

-- al-d. (dogs@zianet.com), August 30, 2000.

Thanks Patricia, for adding perspective to my day.

-- Joy (Joyinthought@happiness.com), August 30, 2000.

Cross-post to a cross-post...

Perspective can be the great destroyer of walls. Perspective often carries at its side humility. Perspective IS the greased pig of spiritual life. Perspective is the shifty stranger, forever looking to avoid direct eye contact with us. Perspective cannot exist without introspection.

Wish I had more time to develop these statements. From my perspective, I need to go back to work.

Thanks Patricia.

-- Bingo1 (howe9@shentel.net), August 30, 2000.

Patricia: Excellent piece. Thanks for posting. Perspective is everything. As an old blues singer once said: "I live the life I love, and I love the life I live." That's us. We may not have much, but we have each other, and for that I am eternally grateful.


-- Not now, not like this (AgentSmith0110@aol.com), August 30, 2000.

I think this piece may be sugar-coating what it's like to be poor. May I add my own reflections from a time when I was poor?

"The son answered, '"I saw that we have one dog and they had four.'"

They probably had four dogs because they couldn't afford to have them spade or neutered. (They probably have more than four on ocassion, but some die from starvation, some get killed by other animals, and some just run away.)

"We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end."

All I ever had was a fire hydrant to play in. This article isn't just describing poor people...it is describing poor rural people. Poor rural people have it made compared to inner city kids.

"We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night."

The only stars I saw were the ones I saw when I got knocked in the head by a baseball. City lights are too bright to see stars. I did, however, enjoy the light from the street pole waking me up at all hours of the night. Oh yeah! I loved being poor!

"Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon."

I could see as far as the parking lot, where the drunks peed when the spirit moved them, and the smoke rolled up into my bedroom window leaving a yellow ooze after years of it.

"We have servants who serve us, but they serve others."

My mom took in ironing after my dad left and we kids had to do back breaking work; mowing yards, shoveling snow, delivering papers, washing floors of office buildings, and we worked on the assembly line (breathing dangerous fumes). Oh yeah, it's fun serving other people alright.

"We buy our food, but they grow theirs."

Every farmer I know has failed crops, and gets bored eating the same thing over and over again. I thank heavens every time I eat Chinese or Mexican food. Poor people can only eat what they grow or can afford. Variety is the spice of life and it has a cost!

"We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them."

I have walls now and I prefer them. They make better neighbors and it's amazing how many friends I've made since I married well. :)

I hope I'm reading your post wrong. I'd hate to see you romanticize poverty whether it's rural or urban. But if you're poor and it helps you cope, more power to ya.

-- (Netsc@pe 6.0), August 30, 2000.

BTW, my 12 cousins were poor rural kids. One of them blew his brains out because he didn't think there was any way out, and the other 11 begged and borrowed to get away from the farm.

Being poor makes you more helpless no matter where you are. It makes you think twice about quitting a job you hate. It makes you think twice about moving from a roach-infested apartment because you might not be able to keep up the payments on a better one. Money provides comfort and security alright. Please don't delude yourselves.

-- (Netsc@pe 6.0), August 30, 2000.

I'm pretty sure no one's "deluding" themselves about being poor (I didn't write the piece; I very clearly stated at the top that it was sent to me). Apparently, the entire point of this essay seems to have eluded you.

It simply says to put things into perspective and to be thankful for whatever it is you have. It is NOT stating that being poor is "fun" or "nice"; nor is it "romanticizing" poverty. I don't mean this to sound defensive, but to be honest, I don't see why you felt a need to tear it to shreds. But if it makes YOU feel better, then more power to YOU.

BTW, not that it matters, but I am neither poor nor wealthy. I simply had a pretty bad freaking day yesterday and when I checked my email in the evening, this piece was in there. Kind of put things into perspective for me (which was the point all along). Sorry it didn't do the same for you.

-- Patricia (PatriciaS@lasvegas.com), August 30, 2000.

Wow, I'm sorry I upset you so bad. I didn't intend to.

I think money, the importance, and the pursuit of it, shouldn't be diminished. I just wanted to add another perspective, that's all. Please don't let my thoughts ruin your day. I hope I leave you in peace.

-- (Netsc@pe 6.0), August 30, 2000.

Actually, *I'm* the one who should be apologizing. I completely missed your side of the story; I didn't see YOUR "perspective". How's that for irony?

I think I need to re-read this little essay again.

-- Patricia (PatriciaS@lasvegas.com), August 30, 2000.

This is a great little essay!!!

Of course there are extremes,and you can steer either way,but if you steer too far left or right you miss the whole point,don't scrutinize so much or you YOU become the story you have just read,simple.

Why make a good little story out to be so bad?

-- capnfun (capnfun1@excite.com), August 30, 2000.

I am voting with Netscape on this one.

-- Oxy (Oxsys@aol.com), August 30, 2000.

I agree with Netscape. Being poor only looks romantic from the outside. The popularity of stories like this show just how well off we all are.

-- Tarzan the Ape Man (tarzan@swingingthroughthejunglewithouta.net), August 30, 2000.

I am going to have to disagree with yaw'll on this one,I think the story is very well put,but you guys are inserting things that are irrelevant to the story that are not germaine.Take it for what it is,not what net6 thinks,sorry net6,this is ridiculous,excuse moi.


-- capnfun (capnfun1@excite.com), August 30, 2000.

This story is about a rich person's perspective on poverty. As such, poverty is idealized, romanticized, and trivialized. This story has the same flaw as the Amos and Andy show and jokes about Asians using the r sound in place of the l. It misrepresents poverty, just as the jokes and Amos and Andy misrepresent asians and african-americans.

-- Tarzan the Ape Man (tarzan@swingignthroughthejunglewithouta.net), August 30, 2000.

I've been rich and I've been poor and rich is better.

-- (MaeWest@ComeUpand.seemesometime), August 30, 2000.

Tarzan, I agree with you. There is no point in romanticizing a curse. It is insulting.

Poverty, or lack of resources, or the lack of power over one's life that it brings, rarely offers wealth of spirit. It is a curse, plain and simple. If someone has learned to appreciate the pittances within their loss, they are to be admired, but their lot remains less bearable than that of those of even moderate means.

I will listen to the viewpoint of someone who appreciates this little fable -- which I have read several times before -- IF they have been poorer than I. So far, no takers. The experiences and perspective that Netscape provides are more true to form than the polly-finished perspectives offered in the story. Those who have not paid the ultimate prices of poverty may see a point to this story, and if they recognize their own limitations that do reside in wealth, then perhaps there is some merit. I will not deny that.

But I do not see the rich family in the story deciding to throw off all wealth in order to go enjoy the creek and the stars and the dogs.

For those who have tasted true poverty, this story as-is does represent trivialization and romanticism of a very bitter meal. It is an insult.

Is the point of this story that everyone is poor in SOME way?

Nothing is worse than living with nothing -- give me no starry, starry nights as a reward. Living with nothing, with no way out, with no doors to possibility, with the facing of death without resources, watching a pet die, watching a loved one die, watching a child become ill in body or spirit, watching all hope and principle die, sleeping in a car and sneaking into McDonalds to wash up for a job that one cannot afford to lose, sleeping in the bushes in fear of human vultures, bearing the brunt of ridicule, the fading of friends, living with rats, trying and trying and trying again without hope, in pain, giving up one's principles to survive, sacrificing other people's welfare so that you may keep a job that does not even house you, losing character, praying to a God who does not answer, feeling the contempt of all those better off than you are, hiding from the judgment of the righteous, and doing things you swore you would never be made to do, just to survive. This is poverty.

And doing it all for an eternity, because at a certain point poverty has no release date, no path away from damnation.

These are your neighbors, the faceless ones we turn away from, if we are better off. I have been there, been one, seen them all, the ones described here. This is not a supportive welfare state any longer, for many, and I have seen this hell close up. Close up.

This is poverty. This is the face of poverty, and the guts of poverty. Sad, sick choices that one must make, that those better off do not see, while they look at the dogs and the creek and the stars in the picture.

Appreciate what you have. If you have it. Just don't crown the poor with anything except the sweat of your offering and the opening of your heart.

-- Oxy (Oxsys@aol.com), August 30, 2000.

Whew! I'm sure glad some of you showed up! I walked out of here yesterday with a knot in my stomach thinking I was going to get blasted by people siding with Patricia. It's nice to know I'm not the only one who grew up dirt poor and knows that it's a humiliating experience.

Oxy thank you for your post. As I read it I knew I was reading the thoughts of someone who has felt the same things I have and that poverty had the same effect on someone else. Thank you very much for sharing...I know it's hard to re-live those times.

I'm feeling a little bold again this morning (even after having my hand slapped yesterday) so I would like to expand a little bit more on how poverty really affects one's psyche and life:

When you're poor, and living in a highly-populated area, you can pretty much forget about getting good grades (why bother going to school?). The music and the fighting around you all night is going to keep you up so why bother? You worry that Mr. Kirby won't be able to control his temper again tonight, and this time, Mrs.(?) Kirby might have more than a black eye tomorrow. You delude yourself into believing that all those people knocking on the next apartment door are relatives of "Doc". (Nothing intended here, Patricia. "Doc" was always the name of our local "chemist"/pusher.) I think it's funny that alot of you pollies and doomers have the nerve to fight about denial...poor people can spend days telling you about scenerios that are worse than y2k would have been if it were a 10 because there are fates worse than death. (Fortunately hope springs eternal! And, Yes pollies, I've always known y2k could never have been that bad.) If y2k had been an 8 at least everyone would have been sharing the same fates and people wouldn't make fun of those in lesser "standing". EVERYONE would be dirtier because it's AWFUL having to wash with cold water. It is humiliating to be made fun of because you have to keep your electric bill down so you push the use of your clothes "one more day". The cheap detergent we had to buy didn't kill all the bacteria and on more than one ocassion people would steer clear of me because I had a rash. Poverty is demeaning in ways you'd never think of unless you experience it.

And, before anyone thinks of glamorizing it again like the rich man in the story did; think of this: When you're skittish and worried all the time, it is nearly impossible to face the challenges of the day, much less plan for the future. This very clearly leaves one in a downward spiral. Please forgive me if I find the original post disgusting, but money and the pursuit of it is what drives me and the economy. (Well, love may have a little to do with it too. :-)It is what fixed y2k and makes our lives more comfortable in every way.

If you really want to derive pleasure from something, I have some suggestions, and I'll be back with a few thoughts in a minute...

-- (Netsc@pe 6.0), August 31, 2000.

Here ya go Oxy, these suggustions are for you and Tarzan. Whenever you need a lift, think about how wonderful these things are:

Having someone play with your hair

Finding a $20 bill in your coat from last winter

No lines at the Super WalMart

Laughing at an inside joke

Getting mail

Hot towels out of the dryer

Running through sprinklers

Accidentally overhearing someone say nice things about you

Laying in bed and listening to the rain

Having someone tell you you're beautiful/handsome

Waking up and realizing you still have a few hours left to sleep (one of my favorites :-)

Playing with a new puppy/kitty

Getting butterflies in your stomach every time you see that one person

Sweet dreams

(Give me some time and I'll think of more.)

-- (Netsc@pe 6.0), August 31, 2000.

The security that comes from knowing that your parents/spouse/child loves you unconditionally

Driving down the street when your favorite song comes on

Making friends with someone because they have alot in common with you

Sitting under a Christmas tree that has presents. (And if you're really lucky, being able to eat cookies and drink eggnog!)

Road trips

Seeing children laugh

Laughing so hard your face hurts

The moment you realize your hiccups are gone

When somebody gives you the print out on a CD so that you don't feel stupid when you singalong

-- (Netsc@pe 6.0), August 31, 2000.

That's beautiful, Netscape.

Thank you.

-- Oxy (Oxsys@aol.com), August 31, 2000.

Being 'approved' for 'help' when hiv + as my son just was :-)

We couldnt put him on our insurance because he is pos now.

Laughing so hard at my son ^^^ in the grocery store last nite I literally had tears streaming down my face because he 'refused' to get up off the floor and quit kicking his legs (yep hes 22) till I agreed to get him Ben & Jerry's ice-cream.

"sneaking away" with my grandson and having his pics w/same son:-)

Laying around in the sunshine feeling the warmth on my face

This is the 'nicest' post I have seen in awhile, next to the tractor one, again thanks Ox. ps, the 'stranger' came back, we gave him some $$$.

See, I grew up on welfare, mom worked in bar. I've been VERY poor, poor, and now am middle class.

Having a voice to say THANK YOU God for the precious love you show me daily and for 'friends' and REMINDERS.

I hope I NEVER 4-get where I came from, eh Net? I bet you havent either, for that matter anyone who was once poor. I am blessed. I have TODAY to see smiles for tommorrow is not promised to me.

Being poor allows us to be able to 'give back' when able.

I am thankful that I grew up poor, and I am thankful I now have.

Thanks for the reminder. I dont have anything against the original post, I "choose" to look at it from both ways. Lets not shoot the messenger, but THANK you Patricia for getting us to 'open up and to remember' you also Net.


-- consumer (shh@aol.com), August 31, 2000.

You're welcome. :-) And like Jimmy Durante used to say, "I gotta million of em!" (But I'll only bore you with a few more...)

Kicking back on the sofa whenever you get a free half hour with a cup of tea and a favorite book or magazine

Buying a candy bar and pouring a glass of milk (or opening a bottle of wine) to reward yourself after you've finished all your work after the day is done

Knowing you have done your best so you can sleep through the night in peace

(sumer I like the one about the sun on your face. I'm also grateful for A.C. in the "sumer" time :-)

-- (Netsc@pe 6.0), August 31, 2000.

Netsc, Oxy, Sumer---I've never been there, never done that. Thanks for the lesson.

-- Lars (lars@indy.net), August 31, 2000.

You're all ignoring the obvious underpinnings of poverty. Poor people are all lazy, ill prepared pollys.

If people were truly prepared for whatever difficulties could arise, they would never be poor. This means not living beyond your means and taking advantage of every opportunity to lay in food and medical supplies. I lost my job right after the rollover, but my family and I were so well prepared we never worried for a minute about how we would make it.

-- J (Y2J@home.comm), August 31, 2000.

Hi Lars. I suspect none of us get out of this life unscathed. (Including Y2J. :-) If I remember right, you have an affliction that would make my life seem like a tea party. You obviously are a wonderful man regardless of what nature has dealt you and you don't seem bitter at all. I'm pretty sure that me, Oxy and sumer are all able-bodied people and I believe it is people like you who demonstate the resiliancy of mankind, not us.

-- (Netsc@pe 6.0), August 31, 2000.

Didn't dennis olson lose his job right after roll-over?

-- HaveToKnow (controversy@willnot.stop), August 31, 2000.

Yes he did. So much for Y2J not being Dennis.

-- Susan Waters (susanwaters@excite.com), August 31, 2000.

What a riveting, poignant, beautiful thread! Patricia, Oxy, Netsc@pe, 'Sumer, et al...thank you so much!

Patricia, I hope you dont regret putting this up. Its interesting to me that I found myself curiously attracted to the piece, even though I disagree with it in a purely literal sense. Initially I wasnt sure why I felt this way, but I realized its because I saw a figurative message in it that struck a chord with me, and maybe thats the same thing that made it seem special to you.

I think the figurative message that made this appeal to me (intended or not) was a cautionary one to those who live to collect material things  not needed or desired for themselves, but to gain certain others acceptance, approval and admiration, or just to gain things as ends in themselves. And that theres so much, much more to life than that. In fact I think that desire to collect things as an end in itself or to please others is very wrong. Theres simply the desire to live well -- to flourish -- which is real, healthy and natural -- which I don't believe the rich family in the piece represented. But there's also a spiritual side - a side to life that in this case the poor family seemed to somehow be more connected to than the rich family who I had assumed to be attracted to things for all the wrong reasons.

You know, Patricia, I may be reading too much into this, but I really think something along these lines is what attracted me to this piece. And seen in this way - kind of a reading between the lines - - its a message that becomes beautifully insightful and instructive.

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), August 31, 2000.

My first sentence in the second paragraph above might be confusing. What I meant to say was that it's fine for something to be desired by you to enrich your life, but not as just another "toy" to be added to the collection -- as a sort of status symbol.

I think the figurative message that made this appeal to me (intended or not) was a cautionary one to those who live to collect material things  not needed or desired for themselves, but to gain certain others acceptance, approval and admiration, or just to gain things as ends in themselves. And that theres so much, much more to life than that. In fact I think that desire to collect things as an end in itself or to please others is very wrong. Theres simply the desire to live well -- to flourish -- which is real, healthy and natural -- which I don't believe the rich family in the piece represented. But there's also a spiritual side - a side to life that in this case the poor family seemed to somehow be more connected to than the rich family who I had assumed to be attracted to things for all the wrong reasons.

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), August 31, 2000.

I still like this little story very much because what I get out of it is the parent going to teach his kid an important lesson in life,at least how the father views it,by showing the kid ALL that he had provided and how good they had it in contrast to the poor family.

The twist comes when the kid comes back with an entirely different slant on the lesson,as children often do.To me it is a testament to how differently children view our world as compared to adults,how our perspectives and priorities are so misaligned.

You might say I over simplify,and I wouldn't argue with that at all,but sometimes over analysis serves no purpose whatsoever.

Or am I the kid who misses the (supposed) point entirely? Wouldn't be the 1st time.Just my 2" : )

-- capnfun (capnfun1@excite.com), September 01, 2000.

Geez...I try to clarify my confusing paragraph and then I go an repost the same paragraph!

I think I still must have been upset at Flint (from another thread). So, indirectly...Flint caused this. Yeah -- that's right! That's the ticket! It's Flint's fault. :)

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), September 01, 2000.

eve, you always manage to draw me back :-)

As I stated from the outset, I had a particularly bad day and when I came home and checked my email, I saw this piece that someone had sent me. I have a lot of "stuff" going on right now, and it all seemed to come crashing together that one day. So when I read this, I got a sense of "perspective" about parts of what is going on and realized there were some things that just weren't important in the larger scheme of things.

Sadly, a couple of people felt a need to turn this into pretty much a personal attack on *me* (e.g., "voting", "taking sides"); a "polly/doomer" bullshit thing (yet again; are we ever going to get past this?). So be it; nothing I can do about that (and it isn't the first time, now is it?). Funny though how my apology to Netscape (which was genuine) was seemingly ignored. C'est la vie.

I only hope they got what they wanted out of it.

-- Patricia (PatriciaS@lasvegas.com), September 01, 2000.

Pat, I saw your apology. I knew it to be genuine. I value your posts, please re-read mine.

As for the polly doomer BS, I agree with ya. We seem to lose one poster who rubs it in and gain a new one each time.

Dont worry bout it Pat, I'm sure you realize who is who and know we appreciate ya. :--------)

Have a nice weekend girl.

-- consumer (shh@aol.com), September 01, 2000.

Excuse me if I doubted your sincerity Patricia. I've seen you jump down the throats of more than one poster and then apologize later. I prefer to steer clear of you whenever possible.

EVERYONE has bad days and maybe in the future we should ALL think about engaging our keyboard when we're angry in the future. If you read eve's posts, I'm sure you'll find that she sets a good example for all of us.

I hope your life gets better.

-- (Netsc@pe 6.0), September 01, 2000.


Please do not consider my turn of phrase, "voting" with Netscape on this one, as a personal attack on you. "Voting" and "personal attacks" are two completely separate things. I did not personally attack you, nor would I want to. Are we not allowed to express opinions?

I took a strong exception to the meaning of the piece, and felt I had something to say from a personal perspective. We each have a right to do that. I did appreciate your turn of view and your acknowledgement, in reviewing Netscape's position. Thank you.

-- Oxy (Oxsys@aol.com), September 01, 2000.


Hang in there, girl. I know you were sincere. No question.

Please consider, though, that Oxy's and 'sumer's opinions were not meant as any sort of attack on you; I know I didn't see them that way. Maybe if there was some anger in their posts I'm sure it was coming from their terrible experiences, and their reaction to the piece you posted -- not in any way directed at you personally.

I hope things are going better for ya today, Patricia.


I appreciate your kind words; thank you. But I'm only human. See, for example, my recent exchange with Flint in the "eve to Ken..." thread. My frustrations piled up and I got "visibly" upset with him; I didn't "walk it off first" like I should have. Then I recognized what I did (with a little help from Flint) and apologized in my next post.

When I first came to TBY2K about a year or so ago, one of my first debates was with Ken Decker. Now, prior to this, I had been lurking on the forum for a number of months. I'd found that I disagreed with quite a bit and was a little too reluctant to post anything during that period. So my frustrations started to build. Then, guess who took the brunt of my frustrations? Poor Ken! As he later accurately put it, I "came down on a broom and assigned (him) a reading list." He'd also remarked at the time that my posts to him had a "bitchy tone." I almost crack up every time I recall this; it was all true! I realized it and made efforts to change; and the wearing off of the frustration helped; but I still fail from time to time.

I've been trying to read Patricia's posts as a habit for quite a while, as I see her as an intelligent, sweet and funny person, and not afraid to voice her opinions. I have a lot of respect for her. And I've rarely seen her get upset in a post. But even if she has from time to time, why should it matter -- even if this has happened to her a few more times than it did me or others? She had a bad day -- we all do. Maybe she should have taken this into account and taken a little time to walk off her anger before posting. But that doesn't make her apology any less sincere.

You know, when you're angry (or otherwise emotionally upset), you're usually not clearly aware it's going to flow into something you're writing or responding to on another issue. If it happens, and you see this, you try to fix things as best you can -- to apologize. This is exactly what she did -- which is more than many would have done.

I think in general we're all doing the best we can, and we make mistakes, and sometimes our emotions get the best of us. Just don't forget that Patricia's one of these folks too. Please take this into account and give her a break.

-- eve (eve_rebekah@yahoo.com), September 01, 2000.

Netscape was right; eve is an example for all of us.

'sumer, I hope you are doing well; you've been in my thoughts!

-- Patricia (PatriciaS@lasvegas.com), September 01, 2000.

Well, I'd say she's having two bad days in a row. She thinks people are taking "sides" against her and she called my reference to polly/doomers "bullshit". Obviously I can't win here, but just to refresh your minds, my reference to polly/doomers was: "I think it's funny that alot of you pollies and doomers have the nerve to fight about denial...poor people can spend days telling you about scenerios that are worse than y2k would have been if it were a 10 because there are fates worse than death."

No where in that post was I taking sides. Sheesh. Making here a point here is useless.

None of this matters though because people are people and moods are moods. Paticia allow me to offer you an olive branch. (I sure hope this works!)Patricia

-- (Netsc@pe 6.0), September 01, 2000.

Thank you for the "olive branch" (it was quite funny, too [g]) and for taking the time to actually go and find it. Your kindness is very much appreciated. As I said before, my apology was genuine.

Hope you have a great weekend!

-- Patricia (PatriciaS@lasvegas.com), September 01, 2000.

That was soooooo sweet!

-- Debra (Thisis@it.com), September 01, 2000.

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