We’re From the Government and We’re Here To Help You

By wordpress - Last updated: Friday, September 24, 2010 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

The heat had pretty much devastated my tomato plants so I decided to clean out the dead leaves, apply some of my compost, and see what I could do for the poor things. Lots of dead leaves, lots of picking, and lots of time for my mind to wander. I started thinking about that recent news report that said one in seven Americans lives in poverty and I think I know what the problem is. The government! I know you already know that, but do you really know why? I didn’t think so! I’ll explain. It has to do with my fence.

You’ve seen my fence in the background many times if you’ve read any of my blogs, but I’ve tried not to let you have too close of a look. It needs painting, badly. It needs repairs, badly. I’ve been involved in painting that fence three times now and I know what I’m up against. Over three thousand linear feet of boards that need to be pressure washed, primed and painted on both sides. I DON’T WANT TO DO THAT. I would rather pick leaves off the tomatoes. My wife keeps telling me the fence is fine as it is but to me, it really needs some work and the longer I wait, the more work it’s going to need.

So here we have an excellent opportunity for the free enterprise system to work its magic. I’ll hire someone to paint the fence. Now I’m thinking this is not going to be terribly expensive; after all, my three boys did it the last time and they were only eleven, twelve and sixteen at the time. Except for painting each other head to toe in white latex, they did a pretty good job. The latex incident seems funny now, though I don’t remember laughing at the time. Painting the fence is not hard work: point the pressure washer at the fence and move back and forth until the paint goes away; dip the brush in the paint, move back and forth until the fence is again covered in paint. It’s so easy a twelve year old could do it. Wait, I already said that. So anyway, I decide to get a quote. Now I have a dilemma: do I paint the fence or do I buy a new truck? (Did you hear the one about the guy who got quite aroused when he met a girl wearing leather? She smelled like a new truck! I’m off track again.) So, I learn that by the time this poor fellow (who is driving a new truck) pays his overhead, payroll, workman’s comp, his portion of social security, the CPA to figure it all out, the attorney to write everything up so he stays out of trouble, medical and dental, and… I’m not listening anymore because I’ve gotten bored and gone to sleep. I am so glad the government wants to help me get my fence painted but that seems a bit expensive. Maybe I can skip all this bureaucracy and just find the guy who holds the paint brush. Not so easy. Apparently, once again, I’d be breaking the law. What a pain! I just want someone to paint the fence at a low enough price that I would not be willing to do it myself. Why has this gotten so complicated?

I could go around the system, but that’s a little complicated too. Can you imagine me having to don a hat and cape to go down to the corner of Trouble and Main, where lots of people hang out with nothing to do, and walking up to one and saying, “Psst, hey buddy, you know anyone who can paint a fence and keep quiet about it?” I’m sure the guy’s response would be, “Are you crazy, man? Yu messin with the IRS. Ain’t nobody round here gonna mess with the IRS. They brought down AL Capone, man. You crazy. Get out of here.” I don’t think I’ll try that, those guys don’t seem all that friendly, anyway.

So, our helpful government has modified our free enterprise system so much that now, getting a fence painted involves an attorney, a CPA, a bookkeeper, an environmental engineer, a CEO and an IT guy to keep all the communication lines open. Oh, I forgot, it also still involves a guy who can hold a paint brush. Economists refer to this as “friction.” Blockade sounds more like it!

You know what… I’m thinking my wife is right. That fence looks just fine the way it is.

On the off chance that you do care what my fence looks like, I’ll need you to follow some simple instructions when you come up my driveway. For the first thirty feet, I’ll need you to only look hard left. Then with a downward sweep of your eyes, I’ll need you to look only hard right. Finally, for the last fifty feet, please, I beg you, just close your eyes altogether and honk the horn. I’ll come and lead you by the hand into the house.

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