I was talking with a young friend, eager to have a career in writing, and he looks up to me and seeks my mentoring. Should I tell him about the perfect sentences, the delicate use of adjectives, the avoidance of adverbs, truly that's a valuable lesson for a writer, truly, truly, truly.

No, instead I found myself thinking about Rick Santorum, that genial Torquemada, if he had his way. And gay marriage, the bête blanc of his being. He sounds like a reasonable guy until you actually listen to what he is saying. If anyone deserved a Google problem, he sure does, what with the gentle genial foam about other people's business, which is none of his.

But I digress, so there I was trying to figure out what the single best mentoring advice I could come up with, not able to get the Santorum anti-gay marriage thing-and his pro-marriage thing, too. According to the great Santorum the only reason for heterosexual marriage must be to procreate and raise children in a happy wholesome household-since they can be raised just fine in gay married households, too, apparently. Of course, roughly half the time, judging by the heterosexual divorce rate, such households are not happy, and that sure isn't that healthy for the kids, either.  

Since, when you consider that one of the main reasons for marriage stress is economics, the real blame is the present ravages of crony capitalism, so take that Reagonomics! You, too, Ron Paul! No, not going there either. This kid is from a conservative borough, and I am a mentor, and am supposed to give him useful advice about the writing life.

What finally came to mind was that the single greatest advice I could offer a young writer about to embark on what is amusingly referred to as a career in writing. First, I would recommend that you check out a classic about the writer's life, Knut Hamsun's Hunger, if you want to see where I am coming from.

The story, published in 1890, is drawn from the author's life as an impoverished writer before his breakthrough.  The telling plot point, for my young colleague would be in this, from this summary:

At a point in the story, he asks to spend a night in a prison cell, fooling the police into believing that he is a well-to-do journalist who has lost the keys to his apartment; in the morning he can't bring himself to reveal his poverty, even to partake in the free breakfast they provide the homeless, since this would bring their attention to the fact that he'd lied about his identity and would land him in further troubles. Finally as the book comes to close, when his existence is at absolute ebb, he signs on to the crew of a ship leaving the city.

The point being, that's what it means to be a freelancer. They don't call them starving writers for nothing.

It just came blurting out of my mouth: Marry a doctor, I said to him. That way, at least one of you makes some money. And whatever you do, don't marry another writer, that's financial doom.

He laughed. He's young. I didn't laugh. I'm not.

But then I thought about the genial Torquemada, Rick Santorum. He wants to ban marriage based on gender identity. Maybe there is something useful in the idea of the government sticking its nose into everyone's bedrooms, after all. Especially now that Reagonomics (also known as Supply Side Economics) has ruined the middle-class. (After a 30-year experiment, here's how that worked out for everyone. Of the total national debt, $12 trillion is directly attributable to Republican Presidents and Republican policies-and it ain't the Democratic Congresses fault, either. Don't just believe me, read this from zFacts.com.)

 Not about gay marriage, of course. That's not only cruel, it's un-American.

But maybe, since Santorum, and all those other conservatives are so in favor of regular family-raised kids, we should look at the economics of marriage. Clearly, two high-earners marrying effectively halves the number of solvent families in the country. Given the extra strain poverty puts on marriages that must really cut down on the chance kids have to be raised in a married household-straight or gay.

As long as all these conservatives running for President want to stick their collective noses into our bedrooms, maybe it's more important to address the economic issue-not the gender one. So a modest proposal: Why not pass a law that makes it illegal for a rich person to marry a poor person, and vice-versa? That way, at least one member of every marriage would still be earning a decent living? Oh yes, and let's do it for the children. We don't want them to be impoverished by our choices any more than we want them impoverished by our debt, now do we?