Milo Yield: Laugh Tracks in the Dust 1-3-11
The financial plight of our great nation (I hope not “once great”) is on everyone’s mind as we enter the New Year, 2011. The federal government (give-rnment?) seems intent on using various stimulus packages to get the economy going again.
I’ve been wondering about the collective federal wisdom behind economic stimuli in their various forms. But then, a very astute reader from Montana, sent me an e-mail that describes perfectly how a stimulus works. Here’s how:
“It is a slow summer day in the small Montana town of Circle. The streets are deserted. Times are tough. Everybody is in debt. And, everybody is living on credit.
“Then billionaire mogul and land baron Ted Turner visits the area and drives through town, stops at the local hotel, lays a $100 bill on the desk and tells the proprietor he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs before selecting one for the night.
“As soon as Mr. Turner walks upstairs, the motel owner grabs the bill and runs next door to pay his debt to the grocer.
“The grocer takes the $100 and runs down the street to retire his debt to the hydroponic tomato farmer.
“The tomato farmer takes the $100 and heads off to pay his bill to his supplier, the Farmer’s Co-op.
“The guy at the Farmer’s Co-op takes the $100 and runs to pay his debt to the local seed dealer, who is hosting a farmers’ meeting at the hotel.
“The seed dealer takes the $100 to the front desk and pays the hotel owner for the meeting room rental.
“The hotel proprietor then places the $100 back on the counter so Ted Turner will not suspect anything.
“At that moment Mr. Turner comes down the stairs, states that the rooms are not satisfactory, picks up his $100 bill and leaves town.”
No one produced anything. No one earned anything. However, a goodly slice of the whole town’s population is now out of debt and looks to the future with a lot more optimism.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, I’m told is how a federal stimulus works.
My good friend Willie Makitt, from Mt. Vernon, Mo., called and told me he recently got pulled over by a local deputy sheriff for a minor traffic infraction.
When the deputy asked for his identification, ol’ Willie handed the officer his driver’s license, insurance verification, plus his Concealed Carry Weapon permit (CCW). Here’s how the conversation went from there:
“Okay, Mr. Makitt,” the cop said, “I see you have a CCW permit. Are you carrying today?”
“Yes, sir, I am,” Willie replied proudly.
“Well, then, better tell me what you’re carrying in the way of concealed weapons,” the deputy continued.
Willie replied, “Well, sir, I got a .357 revolver in my inside coat pocket. There’s a 9-mm semi-auto in the glove box. And, I’ve got a .22-magnum derringer in my right boot.”
“Okay,” the deputy said. “Anything else?”
Willie continued, “Yeah, back in the trunk, there’s an AR15 and a five-shot automatic 12-gauge shotgun. That’s about it.”
The deputy then asked, “Are you on your way to or from a gun range?”
“Nope,” Willie answered.
“Well, then, what are you afraid of?” the deputy persisted.
“Not a damn thing, sir,” Willie said with finality, “except Congress doing away with the Second Amendment to the Constitution.”
I’ve got an agribusiness lady friend, Ms. Flyda Skyes, who says she’s recently seen some strange wall signs around the airport Homeland Security areas where the Transportation Security Administration employees do their pat-downs. Here’re some of the signs she told me about:
• Grope discounts available.
• Don’t worry, my hands are still warm from the last guy.
• We are now free to move about your pants.
• We rub you the wrong way, so you can be on your way.
• It’s not a grope. It’s a freedom pat.
• Stroke of the hand, law of the land.
• Let our fingers do the walking.
• We reach out and touch everyone.
• Can you feel me now?
I’m sure you’d feel better now if I’d just shut up and finish this column. So, I will with these words of wisdom about airplane flights quoted by some dude named Paul Theroux: “You define a good flight by negatives: you didn’t get hijacked, you didn’t crash, you didn’t throw up, you weren’t late, you weren’t nauseated by the food. So you are grateful.”
So, be grateful for what you have and have a good New Year.