The era of the bailout has enshrouded our mindset as of late. In a last, desperate gasp, personal accountability has finally croaked, and we are now rewarding unethical and downright greedy behavior by pledging financial aid to institutions that should have, by all rights, gone under. It’s kind of hard to feel sorry for a baron in the Hamptons being forced to rethink his purchase of a small third world nation until he gets the taxpayer-funded bonus he “worked” so hard to get. But it’s a sight easier to feel empathy for folks watching the pensions they’ve worked a lifetime to fund go up in smoke. I should know; I’m in a job where the citizens may well decide to justify bad behavior with worse behavior (I lost my pension, and you should, too!), and frankly, this puts me in a bit of a funk. Half-truths and mis-information abound, and police officers and firefighters’ retirements are at the mercy of some extremely agitated citizens.
In light of these cheery prospects, I’ve decided to hold my own version of the Cash for Clunkers program. I am gonna call it “Cash For My Worthless Crap”. Seeing as how The Wife is dedicated to curtailing my dreams of purchasing a motorbike due to logic, safety and finances, I need to tackle these hurdles head on. Being logical has never meant much to me, so that’s out the window. I’ll argue for the ridiculous, just for the sake of arguing; she knows this, and once I start waving my arms around and making noises like a highly irritated baboon, she knows it’s useless to resist: I’ve won. Safety? that is going to be a bit tougher. Last night I threw out this philosophical question: “If you’re so convinced I am going to end up maimed and/or dead on a bike, do you think they should outlaw motorcycles completely?” She paused momentarily and then made some inflammatory rhetoric about me wanting to orphan my boys and leave her widowed, followed up with “I hope you can sleep well at night, on your motorcycle.” (The Outlaw Trucker pointed out to me that this wasn’t going to be necessary: I just needed a bedroll to sleep alongside the bike. TAKE THAT!)
So we’re left with the financial aspect of this whole she-bang. I can’t rightly justify taking out a loan to buy a sure-fire deathtrap when the citizens of our fine city may well decide that a fully-functioning fire department is really more of an “extravagance”. I might well be looking at a career change involving hanging out on freeway off-ramps and claiming (on a piece of cardboard) to be “out of gas” to every passerby. Yeah. She’s got me there. And, as I’ve recently gotten out of the excavating business, I still have a shop full of tools I can’t REALLY use recreationally (chain binders, anyone?). I am also in possession of 19 years of my childhood, er, treasures that might just be my ticket out of four wheel living. I’ve bought and sold stuff on sites like E-Bay and Craigslist before; in fact, it’s how I sold all of the excavating equipment. But those monies were dedicated to paying down business debt and throwing my middle finger to the credit institutions. As I look at a box full of Briar toy horses (never played with, by the way) here in my office and think about just how many shovels I own (what, am I equipping an ARMY of shovelers here?……wait a sec, there’s an idea…..) maybe I can pull off a little cabbage collection on the side. In fact, if I look at the opposite scenario, I’d be hard pressed to find anyone who hasn’t complained about being “Nickle and Dimed” to death. So, that’s it, then…..I’ll nickle and dime myself on up. A dollar here, a sawbuck there, and I’ll be one-tenth on my way to having enough cash to purchase that elusive motorcycle.
With that kind of thinking, I’ll be running the Treasury Department before long. FROM THE SEAT OF MY MOTORCYCLE.