Thursday, January 29, 2015

Eve Made Me Do It

We hadn’t seen them for years but we had been very close, socially and geographically, in years past. It was therefore a delight to be invited to be their guests for lunch at a local chain restaurant.

How disappointing to discover that they were not reconnecting for the sake of friendship but to enlist us to sell (under them in a pyramid scheme) the latest snake oil remedy they had discovered.

It didn’t take long to discern that their faith was less in the efficacy of the snake oil than in a marketing scheme which, if we were to buy into it (literally) we, and all those whom we later persuaded to “buy in” would become comfortably rich in a very short time. Uh, of course they would benefit too since . . . oh, you get the idea.

And, it was a very good product too, capable of curing almost any illness known to mankind, except the nausea I felt rising in my throat as I realized I was being asked to sell my soul for the price of a cheap chain restaurant meal.

It has been years since that delightful surprise invitation to dinner but the sense of disappointment and betrayal still lingers. I would have bought an upscale restaurant meal for the joy of reuniting with our old friends; spending two hours reminiscing about old times. As it is I’m still, years later, trying to choke down that free meal and ruing the hours spent fending off, without offending our old friends, an unwelcome marketing solicitation.

Our friends would never have picked our pocket or pilfered our “jewels” while visiting our house. They were honest people. So how did they come to be peddlers of a useless product marketed to their relatives, friends, and acquaintances, using a predatory scheme; promising both health and wealth? Obviously, someone whom they trusted had taken them to dinner. And so, before that, had that person accepted an invitation to dinner. And each in turn had become convinced of both the efficacy of the product and the profitability of the marketing scheme. They believed the lie.

Who concocted the snake oil and constructed the flimsy pyramid marketing scheme? Someone should crush that snake’s head. But instead, like Eve, like Adam, like all the sons of Adam since, too many keep passing the oil from hand to hand, promising themselves and everyone whom they can persuade to go to lunch with them that there is a way to get heath and wealth that doesn’t involve the sweat of one’s brow.

Come on, folks. Get real. I promise you; there is no free lunch. Just ask Eve. Oh, and those cheap lunches will give you a bellyache that lasts forever.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Taxation 101

by Jim Rapp

Axing, dividing,
but some conniving to spare
their pet procurement? 

Or taxing, thriving –
everyone doing their share –
funding Government? 

When I order it
I expect to get a bill;
a “tax-message,” huh? 

If we ask for it
our legislators should send
us the tax bill. Duh!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Old Age Musings at 7:10 a.m.

by Jim Rapp 

I'm awake at 7:10 a.m. on this Saturday morning –
awoke at 6:00 a.m., after a fairly successful night of sleep –
attending to the death of my hearing aids, first right, then left,
and enjoying the quiet that ensues once that they are gone.
The world was never meant to be as loud as it has become. 

I'm thankful for hearing, but it isn't an unmixed inconvenience
that the world has become more muted in my elder years.
Of course that is just how I feel this morning –
and other morning's when my batteries have died. 

There are times when I would love to hear more keenly
the whole range of sound available to the human ear;
to see more keenly as I thread the needle's eye;
or discern the eagle’s flight in a far off sky.

I'm blessed to have lived long enough to lose,
and thus to know the value of, the sensual gifts
that I was once the proud possessor of.