Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Off Their Rockers
Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" If your religious views are set in stone, throw that rock into an active volcano and get it re-fired!
We know, we know, there's a well-respected faith that claims to be built on solid rock, and all other ground is sinking sand. Well, I don't know about you, but my home is built in firm dirt, and that's why I have a big basement. Truth be told, I'd be hard-pressed to tell you where to find sinking sand.
When I was a young stripling working for Goats R Us in Saline, Michigan, I had a colleague named Albert Ruby. Bert was a generation older than the rest of us, he'd been to Vietnam, and he had the most filthy mouth I've ever heard in my life. He also never met a skirt he didn't want to chase.
Nevertheless, we all liked Bert because he was funny as all get-out, especially after a few cold beers. He was famous for claiming that a man would be better off financially if he just hired prostitutes all his life, rather than getting married.
(Yeah, I didn't claim he was a prince of a man, did I?)
One day Bert said something that made us all think. The statement was odd because:
A. It contained no swearwords
B. It did not relate to fornication
This is what he said:
"A poor man can't afford to buy a cheap pair of pants."
What he meant was, that if a poor man saved enough money to buy a good pair of pants, that good pair of pants would last him far longer and save him money in the long run. Cheap pants wear out fast.
I'm reminded of this sage advice by the news today that Wal-Mart is recalling 243,000 porch rockers due to structural defects that cause them to tip over. Already more than a dozen people have been injured from tipped rockers, including one pregnant woman who went into premature labor.
Most of the people who shop at Wal-Mart are trying desperately to save money. But what they're buying is cheap merchandise that won't last. Poor man's pants.
Were those 243,000 shoddy porch rockers built in America, in a unionized factory under quality control supervision? Or were they assembled in sweatshops at bottom-feeding wages? We'll never know, because Wal-Mart is probably even now hiring the expensive lawyers who will see to it that no class action suit based on the rockers ever takes a penny from the Wal-Mart coffers.
We at "The Gods Are Bored" endorse the notion of saving for better quality merchandise. And here's another tip: You can get great porch rockers at yard sales if you just keep your eyes peeled.
We have a big, "Shady Rest" kinda front porch ourselves, and one of the rockers came from a yard sale. That sucker is heavy as granite and is built to withstand Armageddon without so much as a scratch to the paint.
Saving money at Wal-Mart? Not in the long run.
As for Bert's economic guide to marriage, I doubt if you could persuade a prostitute to do six loads of laundry on a Saturday morning.
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS