Inflection points, breaking the cycle of poverty, and Thursday news

I have this theory about life that I refer to as inflection points. Inflection points (the term is borrowed from calculus) occur when something happens that sends your life in a completely different direction than the one it was going in before. They’re game-changers. They’re life-changers.

Life is generally good when you choose your own inflection points. For example, at the beginning of 2002 I said to myself, “Downtown is really starting to take off. It’s time for me to move down there.” That was an inflection point in my life. Another example of a chosen inflection point might be when a couple decides it is time to have a baby: They want a child, are ready for the responsibilities of parenthood, and are financially capable of supporting a child. That child is probably going to get off to a good start, growing up loved with his/her needs provided.

Inflection points can be less pleasant when they choose you, when they happen to you unexpectedly. Surprise inflection points can make you feel helpless, powerless, out of control; they can limit your future choices. Take, for example, a young woman who becomes accidentally pregnant at age 16. Maybe no one ever told her about birth control, or maybe she couldn’t afford it, or maybe the condom broke. She’s now about to be financially responsible for another life when she’s not even an adult herself yet. Her options to go to college and have a career where she can realize her potential are now severely limited. She may very well have to go on welfare to support the baby. The child may grow up in an environment where he/she is resented and unloved. The child will be more likely to get pregnant or get a woman pregnant him/herself at a young age, continuing the cycle of poverty for yet another generation.

Last night I was flipping through Facebook after trivia ended at the Blind Bear, and I found an article by my friend Christopher “Skippy” Blank. I am a big fan of anything Skippy writes, so I clicked through. The article was about an organization called A Step Ahead that provides long-term, highly effective birth control. Most importantly, it helps make sure that young women who otherwise couldn’t afford this birth control method (it can cost upwards of $1000) have access to it, even arranging transportation to a clinic if needed. It was founded by a former Juvenile Court judge who I’m sure got tired of seeing teenage baby mamas and baby daddies in her court.

I had not previously heard of A Step Ahead, but I wanted to give it a mention because I know a lot of people in local media follow this blog. There are a lot of programs in Memphis attempting to break the cycle of poverty, and I am not knocking any of them. However, I have heard of few programs as capable of directly preventing unwanted inflection points in young people’s lives as this one.

Fortune magazine has an interesting article on craft breweries’ big dilemma. Let’s say you co-found a craft brewery at age 33. You expand capacity, expand distribution, and in several years your beer is highly rated and being sold in twenty states. One of the large national breweries comes along and offers to buy your brewery. It’s your love, your passion, and you don’t want to let it go; but they’re offering enough money that you could retire at, say, 39. Could you really turn that down?

The Fortune article tells the story of a Seattle craft brewery that had three co-founders. Big Beer came along and offered to buy the brewery at the very same time they were running a commercial mocking craft beer. That pissed off one of the founders, who wanted to say no, but he was overruled by his two partners.

Speaking of beer: It looks like I won’t be attending Cooper-Young Regional Beerfest this year. I have a birthday party to attend at Earnestine & Hazel’s at 8 that night, and if I drink craft beer for four hours in the afternoon, the chances are too high that I will fall asleep and miss the party.

Streetdog Foundation tweeted that they are looking for homes for foster dogs short-term and long-term.

Si Robertson of Duck Dynasty will sign autographs at Bass Pro at the Pyramid tomorrow from 5 to 7 PM. Tomorrow will be the first day of the 10-day Waterfowl Expo happening at the Pyramid. Here’s the master schedule of events.

Tuesday I had someone ask why there were so many people walking around Downtown all dressed up, especially kids. It’s because Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella is at the Orpheum through Sunday.

A blue key with a Kroger card was found at Best Memphis Burger Fest.

There will be no Tacos & Tunes at Felicia Suzanne’s tonight because of a private event.

That’s it for now. Possibly a second post after work, so check back.