I was going through some old photos the other day, and it occurred to me how little I’ve changed since I was a little kid. Oh, I mean, I’m bigger, but the wardrobe is basically the same. I would guess I’m smarter, but if I look into my eyes, I can still see that glimpse of general ignorance floating in there somewhere. The biggest difference I can really come up with doesn’t show itself much in just a picture, though. It’s more on the inside. I get the sad feeling I was far more responsible when I was a tiny lad. It’s so strange how adults can just never get certain things right.
I suppose that’s not completely true because I do have far more responsibilities now than way back then. As a child, my food, housing and general expenditures were taken care of for me. I have to tell you, looking back on that, it seems pretty handy. So now I’m at least self-sufficient, but I’m not sure that necessarily makes me that much more responsible with money.
Back then, I really got by on about a dollar a week. As I recall, this was called an allowance, but let’s be honest, it was really just a crappy-assed wage for doing the sort of shit my parents really didn’t care to do themselves. I would feed the dogs every day. This seems easy, but there were about six of them at the time, some far humpier than others. I would also burn the trash in a big barrel out back. This was, of course, a time when a person could do such a thing and not spread some sort of asthma epidemic across the land. I was also required to pretend I ran the weed eater around the house, more wishful thinking on my parents’ part than an actual assigned task.
Still, that one over-earned dollar a week seemed like a fortune to me. I could buy a couple of comic books, or if I chose, I could save up and buy some sort of record that would end up seeming absurd to me in later life. Granted, I may have occasionally subsidized that single dollar by taking the stray few singles from my mom’s purse behind her back, but regardless, I could really make that money stretch. Now, I can leave my house with a 20, do absolutely nothing and return with empty pockets and a puzzled look on my face. I started thinking about all of this when I was reading an article about President Obama giving his two daughters an allowance of a dollar a week for doing their chores. My first reaction was, “Geez, Louise, our commander in chief is a really cheap bastard.” Granted, I managed to live off of a dollar, but does the man know nothing about inflation? It would be like my parents tossing me a nickel back then. A dollar in this day and age really doesn’t amount to dick. Hell’s bells, that probably doesn’t even amount to a candy bar.
I mean, I know those girls aren’t even old enough to drive, but if they were, they could each only park in downtown Champaign for a little more than an hour each week. That’s really just not enough time. I suppose they could get something to eat off one of those fast food dollar menus, but they would still have to steal a little money from Dad’s pocket to pay the tax. I would imagine that’s not a pretty picture, seeing the Secret Service roughing up little Malia and Sasha as they scrounged for change in the Lincoln bedroom.
I’m not sure if the children of a sitting president have ever called a strike, but if I were them, I’d be slapping some poster board on a stick, painting little slogans all over it and parading my ass up and down Pennsylvania Avenue. Listen, girls, the man is keeping you down, and it’s time to stand up for your rights. Of course, you have to be a little careful. If you ask for too much, they may just ship the job of first children to some other kids overseas.
I’m far from being any sort of child advocate, but I think those two girls probably deserve a little more cash for all they do.
In fact, if I were them, I’d add some sort of personal appearance fee every time the folks paraded me around for the cameras. “Oh great, there’s a press crew of about 500 people outside of my school every damned day. Let’s see, that will be at least $500 a week just for smiling and waving every freaking second of my life.”
Here’s an even better idea. If those little girls can somehow manage to live off a dollar a week, maybe we should make them the heads of corporations or at least maybe junior senators. Seriously, all of the adults are bitching up and down about only getting billions of dollars that they don’t really need or deserve. In the meantime, two little kids who probably work far harder than most adults do are managing to live off of a simple dollar. Maybe there’s something to be said for only having a little money. At least that way, you still manage to have some concept of what it really means.

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