Reading may be the face of poverty, but at least it turns on the lights at night. A town in Michigan is so poor it turned off its streetlights. I kid you not.

We all are quite aware that Reading is the place for poverty. We used to be known for our railroad, now we’re known for being paupers.

Then again, you could put a Biblical spin on our plight and say that living in Reading is going to punch our ticket to heaven.

Don’t take it from me. I refer you to Matthew, last name unknown, who wrote “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Perhaps we should give Reading a new name: Paradise.

Of course, not everybody in town lives poor. Apparently Reading School District administrators, board members and employees were eating high on the hog for quite a bit, to the tune of $76,000 between 2005 and 2008. Talk about fat cats. Literally.

Bon appétit!

Actually, our rep as the poorest city in all the land soon could be trumped by Highland Park, Michigan.

Unable to pay its $4 million electric bill, the city turned off 1,000 streetlights. Actually, the debt-ridden community outside Detroit went one step further and ripped out all those streetlights — bulbs, poles and all.

I imagine Highland Park expects to be poor for eternity and will be walking on the dark side forever. Its mayor must have read Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness in school. Thomas Edison must be rolling over in his grave. Boom boxes must be blaring the Rolling Stones’ Paint It Black.

Can you imagine what would happen if Reading turned out the lights? With so much crime and so few cops, bad guys would be descending like locusts on city streets.

Granted, they had better bring flashlights. It’s tough to steal and loot in the dark.

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