Friday, November 1, 2013

The Shaft

After the recent Tied to the Post article regarding my thoughts on the federal government shutdown, Barry and Priscilla became concerned I may have angered our conservative customers, neighbors and friends. They are less accustomed to friction than I, and felt the heat was more than they could comfortably tolerate. Consequently, they recommended I not write another story focusing on that specific topic. “Stick with turquoise, ceremonial baskets and Navajo rugs”, they advised. After due consideration, and significant arm-twisting from this dynamic duo, I caved in and gave them my word. Therefore, the “focus” of this editorial will be relationships, mining and music, not politics.
Our wallets are "slammed" and it seems to make everyone down even Buffy.

Shortly after that story ran, I was sitting at my desk reading USA Today, listening to a country station and trying not to think about how slow business had become since October 1st. On the front page of the paper was a headline declaring, “Economists: Growth slammed by shutdown.” I sure didn’t need a Ph.D. to arrive at that conclusion. Indeed, I didn’t even need a sixth grade education to know the statement was true.

As I read how jobs and economic growth had been stunted by the closure and looked out on an empty trading post, Jerry Reed came over the airwaves singing, “Well, I guess it was back in sixty-three when eating my cooking got the better of me, so I asked this little girl I was going with to be my wife.”

Now, I have always enjoyed Reed’s homespun, rockabilly style of music, and under present circumstances this particular song seemed unusually pertinent. After describing the well-known stages of honeymoon, loss of lust and separation, Jerry crooned, “She got the gold mine, I got the shaft. They split it right down the middle and then they gave her the better half. Well, it all sounds sort of funny, but it hurts too much to laugh. She got the gold mine, I got the shaft.”

I began to wonder, “Isn’t Jerry’s experience just like our relationship with Congress?” Hadn’t we married ourselves to these Congressmen and Representatives thinking we would be better off with them than without them? Hadn’t we had a brief honeymoon, and hadn’t the mystery and wonder all too quickly worn off? Hadn’t they broken their promise to love, honor and cherish us, to always have our best interests at heart? Hadn’t they made things difficult for us while maintaining their own comfortable lifestyle? Indeed, hadn’t they stopped caring for us altogether? Hadn’t they in fact become antagonistic to our wants, needs and desires?

The song continued, “Why, they gave her the color television set. Then they give her the house, the kids and both of the cars. See, then they started talking about child support, alimony, and the cost of the court . . . I’m telling you they have made a mistake, ‘cause it adds up to more than this cowboy makes.”

After the mortgage crisis, the bail out of the car companies, the Great Recession, bank failures, sequestration and now the federal government shutdown, this Indian trader’s wallet is empty too. Like Reed, Barry and I are working two shifts, eatin’ balongna and askin’ ourselves, “Why did we let those guys to move in?”

Ever the optimist, however, Jerry summed it up for himself and the rest of us too when he concluded, “Well, I don’t have to worry about toting a billfold no more . . . I’m gonna be carryin’ food stamps . . .. ”

It’s time to move them out of our House (and Senate). Oh yeah, did I mention turquoise jewelry, ceremonial baskets and Navajo rugs?

With warm regards,
Steve, Barry, Priscilla and Danny; the team.

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