When Keith Payne was in the fourth grade, he realized he was poor. The epiphany came to him in the cafeteria.
“We had a new cashier in the line that day,” he said. “And when I got to the cashier’s desk she asked me for, I think it was $1.25. That was the first time that anybody had ever asked me to pay for my lunch because I’d always been on free lunch.”
Keith had been blissfully unaware that many of his classmates were paying for their meals every day. But now, he began comparing himself with his peers.
“It’s not like I was poorer the day after that than I was before. Nothing objective had changed. But because of that subjective awareness, now everything seemed different to me.”