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Adventures of a stay-at-home, skeptical, homeschooling dad (etc.)


The $50 Lesson (extended version)

Lawnmower of homelessness Recently, while I was working in the flower beds in the front yard, my neighbors stopped to chat as they returned home from walking their dog. During our friendly conversation, I asked their 12 year old daughter what she wanted to be when she grows up. She said she wanted to be President some day.

Both of her parents - liberal Democrats - were standing there, so I asked her, "If you were President what would be the first thing you would do?"

She replied, "I'd give food and houses to all the homeless people."

Her parents beamed with pride!

"Wow…what a worthy goal!" I said. "But you don't have to wait until you're President to do that!" I told her.

"What do you mean?" she replied.

So I told her, "You can come over to my house and mow the lawn, pull weeds, and trim my hedge, and I'll pay you $50. Then you can go over to the grocery store where the homeless guy hangs out, and you can give him the $50 to use toward food and a new house."

She thought that over for a few seconds, then she looked me straight in the eye and asked, "Why doesn't the homeless guy come over and do the work, and you can just pay him the $50?"

I said, "Welcome to the Republican Party." …

(Begin extended section…)

"Ha ha, no thanks," she replied. "But really, why don't you go over and ask that homeless guy to cut your grass?"

I paused… "You mean I should actually offer him $50 dollars to cut my grass?"

"Yeah," she said.

"He wouldn't do it, he's lazy, that's why he's homeless. Besides, he'd have no way to get there. Most houses with grass to mow are in the suburbs and the homeless shelters are downtown. I'd have to drive him, and eww, no thanks. And he doesn't have any landscaping equipment." I explained.

She said, "Give him some bus money. Your wife is home during the day with your baby: she can let him into your garage to get to your lawnmower, trimmer, gasoline, and other tools he'll need."

"That sounds a little… Nah: I'm not doing that. " I replied negatively. "Why doesn't he go try to get hired by a landscaping business instead?"

"So you'll give him the $50 dollars he'll need to get a hair cut, a shave, a shower, and some non-terrible clothes he'll need to get through an interview? And he's like 50 years old, all the landscaping jobs are taken up by teen and 20-somethings," she stated matter-of-factly.

"You don't talk like a 12-year-old. Are you breaking character?" I asked questioningly.

"A little," she replied curtly, "but this was never anything but a highly-contrived, self-congratulatory wank of a Republican joke anyway."

"True, but it fit my preconceived, not-thought-through party talking points so well!" I rejoined yelledly.

"That it did," she flaboned cromulently. "Welcome to not repeating simpleminded political memes."

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