An odd assortment of stories have collected in my e-mail box and on my desk in recent weeks. So, I guess I’ll use some of them this week and call it my potpourri column.
A farmer was working in his machine shed getting his corn planter ready for use as soon as the soil warms up when he was startled by a rickety old pickup that came rattling up his driveway and came crashing to a halt halfway upon the pile of scrap metal next to the shed.
He rushed out to see what happened and discovered his elderly neighbor Ralph laboring to exit his pickup. With the farmer’s aid, he got off the pile of junk and settled down on a chair inside the shop.
The farmer said nervously, “Ralph, I thought you and your family decided a few weeks ago to park that old truck permanently and not renew your driver’s license.”
“Well, yes, we did,” Ralph replied proudly. “I’ll be 97 next month, but I discovered just this morning that I’m now old enough that I don’t even need a driver’s license anymore.”
“How’s that?” the farmer replied.
“Well, I went to my doctor this morning and he examined me and asked if I had a driver’s license. I told him ‘yes’ and handed it to him. He took scissors out of the drawer, cut the license into pieces, and threw them in the waste basket, saying, ‘You won’t need this anymore,’ so I thanked him and left!”
“By the way, can I borrow your heavy-duty jack and can you help me load it into the pickup. I got work to do at home.”
Three contractors were bidding to fix a broken fence at an important USDA biosecurity facility after a protester ran his car into the fence.
Since the economic sequester of federal funds is supposedly in place, the government decided to take three bids from fencing companies — one from Chicago, one from California, and the third from Kansas.
All three fencing guys go with a USDA official to examine the broken fence. The Kansas contractor takes out a tape measure and does some measuring, then works some figures with a pencil. “Well,” he says, “I figure the job will run about $1,000. That’s $400 for materials, $400 for my crew and $200 profit for me.”
The California contractor also does some measuring and figuring on a hand calculator, then says, “I can do this job for $3,000. That’s $1,500 for materials, $1,000 for my crew and $500 profit for me.”
The Chicago contractor doesn’t measure or figure, but leans over to USDA official and whispers, “$5,000.”
The official, incredulous, says, “You didn’t even measure like the other guys. How did you come up with such a figure?”
The Chicago contractor whispers back, “$2,000 for me, $2,000 for you, and we hire the guy from Kansas to fix the fence.”
“Done!” replies the government official enthusiastically. “You’re hired!”
And that, my friends, is how government contracting works.
And, in the aftermath of the St. Patrick’s Day celebration comes this story:
An Irish priest was transferred to a Nebraska parish church. Father O’Malley rose from his bed one morning. It was a fine spring day in his new community. He walked to the window of his bedroom to get a deep breath of the beautiful day outside. He then noticed there was a jackass lying dead in the middle of his front lawn. He promptly called the local police station.
The conversation went like this: “Good morning. This is Sergeant Jones. How might I help you?”
“And the best of the day to yerself. This is Father O’Malley at St. Ann’s Catholic Church. There’s a jackass lying dead in me front lawn and would ye be so kind as to send a couple o’yer lads to take care of the matter?”
Sergeant Jones, considering himself to be quite a wit and recognizing the foreign accent, thought he would have a little fun with the good father, replied, “Well now, Father, it was always my impression that you people took care of the last rites!”
There was dead silence on the line for a long moment ... Father O’Malley then replied: “Aye, ’tis certainly true, m’lad; but we are also obliged to notify the next of kin first, which is the reason for me call.” Have a good ’un. ❖
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