Wednesday, August 24, 2011

904 The Cafeteria

904 The Cafeteria

Herb is sitting on a stool in what once was the balcony of a theater and now is the second floor of an antique shop.  He is inspecting a tin coffee pot that is bigger than his head and wondering how to use it at the boarding house he says he runs on the 135 acre farm he says he owns.

A stranger gives Herb the recipe for Cowboy coffee, which is water, and a handful of fresh grounds thrown into a pot and heated over a fire.  You drink it by pouring it into a cup and straining it through your teeth -- which is why real cowboys usually had ugly looking brown teeth.  That and the chaw.

Mrs. Herb is there and she’s not happy with the idea of coffee grounds in her teeth and suggests the cowboys should have strained the stuff through their bandannas.  Not a bad idea in Latte Land.  But cowboys didn’t and don’t live in Latte Land.

Herb doesn’t live in Latte Land, either.  He lives in 1913, in the last month of the administration of President William Howard Taft, which was when the 16th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, the one that makes you pay income tax.  Twenty nine days before Taft’s term expired, but who’s counting.

Herb doesn’t exactly have his facts right. Wessays™ does.  Herb said Taft had pangs of guilt over even a hint of support for the 16th amendment.  No credible historian will confirm that.  But that’s okay, Herb doesn’t need facts to make his point, which in this case is the income tax was the start of the downfall of this country.

What Herb means -- what all the world’s Herbs mean -- is that the income tax is stealing, and stealing from HIM, at that.

Then he moves along to the school tax.  Wants to know why he has to pay since he hasn’t had kids in school for more than 20 years.

Herb thinks of the government as a cafeteria.  You buy this service and that, leave the rest of the stuff in the counter trays and pay for what you take at the register at the end of the line.

Government as cafeteria.  He also mentions that he’s 20-thousand dollars in arrears.  Taxes here are pretty low.  So that’s a lot of years avoiding the register at the end of the cafeteria line.

But, Herb, the government is not a cafeteria.   So guys with no kids in school pay so kids who ARE in school get at least some semblance of an education and the country gets to continue.

Guys without cars get roads. Guys without feet get sidewalks.   Everybody gets an army.  You get cops and you get the means to break from the isolation in which you live -- if you want to.  Which you don’t.

Relax, Herb.  Make a pot of coffee.  Get a bandanna to strain the cup for the Mrs.  She won’t be able to afford regular dental cleanings when they catch up with you and cart you away for sneaking off the property tax check-out line before you got to the register.

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2011

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