I Have Poor Relatives

Shabby Man

Once upon a time there was a poor little boy from a poor family. His Father was poor.  His Mother was poor.  The maid was poor.  The cook was poor.  The butler was poor.  Even the chauffeur was poor. One day, he went to his father and asked if he could have a pony.  His Father said no, because they were too poor to afford a pony.  The poor little boy went to his piggy-bank, took out enough money to buy himself the pony, and put the rest back….

We are often so busy with our own lives, that without really obvious clues, we think that everyone is pretty much like ourselves. It takes an observant and analytical mind to notice the struggles of those at the bottom of the financial, pissed-on trickle down ladder.  I am distressed that a $180 pair of distressed designer jeans looks just like my four-years-old $24.95 Wal-Mart pair.

This is why politicians, who are already being paid far too much to do a job that their predecessors did without pay, as a Public Service, feel free to waste millions – Billions – of our dollars, and still fraudulently pad their office budgets and expense accounts.  They have no idea, and don’t care, what it’s like at the bottom of the pile, and it’s been this way since long before Marie Antoinette offered to “let them eat cake.”

It is just as illegal for a millionaire to sleep under a bridge, as it is for a homeless man to do so.

I recently had a conversation with a friend. It seemed that both of us were keeping an eye on family finances – total income vs. expenses – only I think that he was doing it at a much higher level than I was.  I’ve never asked how much he makes.  It’s none of my business, and doesn’t affect our friendship.

With his experience, training, intelligence and education, I suspect his annual salary is somewhere north of $100,000/year. His talented wife probably makes half of that.

With my learning disabilities, and poor short-term memory adding to my tendency for procrastination, I’m lucky to have accomplished what I have during my life. About 15 years ago, before I retired to live on Government and company pensions – with a bunch of overtime, I grossed $44,000, but the wife had been ‘downsized.’  Earlier, when I made $38,000, she added $19,000.

This is not a whine! I’m still doing better than a lot of people, including the little guy who busks in the cold, outside the local grocery store.  As an engineer, Jim Wheeler says that it is not worth his while to stop and pick up a penny.  I still grab the occasional one or two from the ‘Need A Penny/ Leave A Penny’ tray at the corner store.  People abandon them because the Mint has stopped making them.

I always check the reject chutes of the coin-counting machines in stores. Sometimes I find Canadian coins, as well as foreign ones which I add to my collection.  It’s quick and easy to eyeball the change chutes of vending machines.  I’m not too proud to (discreetly) stick my finger in the few payphone chutes that still exist.  The last time I did, I found $2.  It’s all relative.  $2 to a millionaire is nothing, although Bill Gates (or his minions) cashed a check for 39 cents.  $2 to someone who is eating cat food (We don’t.) means a lot.

Having pets is a wonderful experience. I would not want to get rid of any that we have, but the wife wants even more.  I cannot convince her that, between food, treats, litter, and vet bills, each animal costs us about $1000 a year.  I would sooner have that money to pay down our still-existing mortgage, or use it to take enjoyable trips, while we are still physically capable of doing so.

Some people waste money, too often MY money!  Some people scrimp and save, show restraint and fiscal control, and budget their money to get them the most they can.  I’d be patting myself on the back, but I’m busy crawling around on the floor, trying to find that quarter I dropped.  I’ll be back up at the computer in a couple of days.  Please come back again then.   😉

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Flash Fiction #153

Echo

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

LOCAL DIALECT

Are we there yet? Are we there yet?

I have no idea. This place just seems to go on forever.  What’s the name of it – ‘Echo Emporium’??  It’s déjà vu all over again.  What do they do in there – make tape measures – package spaghetti – a bowling alley?  Oh look, another tower – just like the last one.

You kids aren’t watching ‘Groundhog Day’ back there are you?? I think we’re just driving in circles, nothing changes….

….When that pub owner suggested visiting the “Loch”, I thought he meant like Loch Ness. This is a canal ‘lock,’ and us with no boat.

***

You don’t have to go to Europe to have trouble with local dialects. A ‘Yankee’ had a retirement home built in Florida.  When it came time to install the driveway, the contractor asked him if he wanted poured concrete or shale.  Concrete seemed so common and blah.  He liked the idea of crushed grey stone, so he ordered shale.

When he went out to view the finished installation, it was this horrid, loose, dusty white….stuff. “I ordered shale!  That’s not shale!’

“Shore ‘tis. That there’s oyster shellshale.”

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Fun With Travel

Elvis

Travel Jokes

Las Vegas

I phoned up to buy tickets for an Elvis tribute act.
It was an automated phone system which said:
‘Press 1 for the money / 2 for the show’

Hotel Reception

Two men in full armor walk into a hotel lobby.
One says, “A room for two knights please.”

Snow & Skiing

How does a penguin build its house?
Igloos it together.

Hotel Restaurant

The waiter asked me, “Would you like to hear today’s special?”
“Yes please,” I smiled…
“Today is special.” he replied, then sashayed off.

Swimming Pool 

A man climbs the diving board with a fish.
The pool guard says: “What are you doing with that fish?”
The man replies: “Triple somersault with pike.”

Hotel Gym

Exercise bikes get you nowhere.

Cruise Ship

I’ve been watching a documentary about how they build cruise ships.
It was riveting.

Train Journey

If you see someone doing a crossword today, lean over them and say  7 Up is Lemonade!

Holiday Photos

My camera keeps falling off the strap.
It’s a bit of a loose Canon.

Hotel Garden

Just saw the hotel Gardener crying over his lawnmower.
He is just going through a rough patch!

Airline

Cabin Crew said to me, sir, would you like to have dinner?
Me: What are the options?
Cabin crew: Yes or no.

Egypt

My wife just asked me, “Can we go on a camel?”
I said, “No way….it would take ages to get there on a camel!”

USA Burgers

How did the hamburger introduce his girlfriend?
Meat Patty

 

Where’s Willy

No! That title isn’t for a porno-lite blog post.  There are people and websites that allow you to track the movements of certain currency bills.  I mentioned this a couple of years ago, and it happened again recently.  The son received a 5-dollar bill with whereswilly.com on it.  He graciously donated it to my blog-theme account for the mere fee of….a different 5-dollar bill.

Willy 3

Willy 4

“Willy” is/was Sir Wilfrid (not Wilfred) Laurier, whose stern face graces the Canadian fiver.  The smaller local university began as Waterloo Lutheran University.  As they expanded, and outgrew the religious connection, they took ‘Willy’ as their mascot, and became Wilfrid Laurier University, so that W.L.U. remained W.L.U.  (Saves on paperwork.)

Willy 1

I accessed the website, and entered the bill’s serial number. When I submitted the short report of where I (the son) got it, and its physical condition, I got a webpage which showed where it had originated, and how long/how many miles/kilometers it had been on the road.  If you can read the fine print, Americans are invited to play this game by visiting “Where’s George?”

Willy 2

I was the first one to report this bill since its originator set it loose 174 days, almost six months before. As you can see, (but probably not that map) it began its tattooed journey in a town in Quebec called Listuguj, 1185 KM (750 Mi.) east of here, almost to the end of the Gaspé Peninsula, across the river/bay from New Brunswick.  How and why did it get from there to here?

When I found that it started in a Quebec town, I wondered why it didn’t say, “Ou est Willi?” That was explained when I investigated Listuguj.  I thought that it might have Polish or Czech founders, but it’s actually a treaty M’iq M’aq Indian enclave.

Have any of you got bills like this and/or played this game?

Little Old Lady From Pasadena

WomanDrivingKnittingS

Two elderly women were out driving in a large car – both could barely see over the dashboard. As they were cruising along, they came to an intersection. The stoplight was red, but they just went on through.

The woman in the passenger seat thought to herself “I must be losing it. I could have sworn we just went through a red light.” After a few more minutes, they came to another intersection and the light was red again.

Again, they went right through. The woman in the passenger seat was almost sure that the light had been red but was really concerned that she was losing it. She was getting nervous. At the next intersection, sure enough, the light was red and they went on through. She turned to the other woman and said, “Mildred, did you know that we just ran through three red lights in a row? You could have killed us both!”

Mildred turned to her and said, “Oh, crap, am I driving?”

=====*=====

A man called the hotel manager. He said “Come up quickly, I fought with my wife and now she wants to throw herself out the window!”
The manager replied “Sir this is a personal matter and we can’t get involved. I can call sec…”
The man interrupted “No! This is a maintenance issue. The window won’t open!”.

=====*=====

People have to stop putting flyers on my car.  I don’t want to see a band called “Parking Violation” at the “Courthouse.”

=====*====

Society is just full of double standards.

For example, when Ariel from The Little Mermaid swims around half naked, singing with her underwater friends, people say that she is “sweet” and “beautiful”

But when I do it, people say that I’m “drunk” and “no longer welcome at the aquarium”.

=====*=====

Yesterday I accidentally sent a naked picture of myself to everybody in my address book.  Not only was it embarrassing but it cost a fortune in stamps.

=====*=====

I prefer not to call my toilet the John. I call it the Jim instead.  It sounds better to say I hit the Jim first thing in the morning.

***

A man is incomplete until he is married. After that, he is finished.

***

As long as there are tests, there will be prayer in public schools

***

A man rushes into his house and yells to his
wife, ‘Martha, pack up your things! I just won
the California lottery!’

Martha replies, ‘Shall I pack for warm weather
or cold?’

The man responds, ‘I don’t care. Just so long as
you’re out of the house by noon!’

***

Why did you leave your last job?
It was because of something my boss said.
What did he say?
You’re fired!

***

The Twenty And The One
A well-worn one-dollar bill and a similarly distressed twenty-dollar bill arrived at a Federal Reserve Bank to be retired. As they moved along the conveyor belt to be burned, they struck up a conversation.

The twenty-dollar bill reminisced about its travels all over the country. “I’ve had a pretty good life,” the twenty proclaimed. “Why I’ve been to Las Vegas and Atlantic City, the finest restaurants in New York, performances on Broadway, and even a cruise to the Caribbean.”

“Wow!” said the one-dollar bill. “You’ve really had an exciting life!” “So tell me,” says the twenty, “where have you been throughout your lifetime?” The one dollar bill replies, “Oh, I’ve been to the Methodist Church, the Baptist Church, the Lutheran Church.”

The twenty-dollar bill interrupts, “What’s a church?”

***

 

Flash Fiction #146

Trump

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

ROUND AND ROUND

I don’t want to go on a round-the-world cruise. By the time you get there, you’re back here.  Besides, it might pass perilously close to North Korea.

Still, it would be nice to get away from Trump for a while. The two most inflated things about The Donald are his ego, and his Twitter account. Those are the only things that I want “blown up.”  Are there any cruise ships without Wi-Fi?  It might be worth it to pay extra for some political peace and quiet.

Unlimited booze and food??! I’d come back with a figure like Frosty the Snowman.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

 

Flash Fiction #145

AirBnB

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Watch My Tongue

Well, their trip to London had been worth the saving, and every dollar they’d spent. They’d enjoyed the Harry Potter Experience, ridden on the London Eye Skywheel, watched the changing of the Guard, scarfed down real fish and chips, drunk full-bodied (if room-temperature) British ale, played darts, and met some really nice people.

Perhaps not worth every dollar….  Somebody at AirBnB was going to get an earful.  Their broom-closet lodgings didn’t look anything like the grand, airy rooms that she’d viewed online. Caveat emptor – ‘buyer beware’ indeed – somebody else would beware after they got the side of her tongue.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story

***

The late Archon was a little busy last week with the wife in hospital for three days, and then in recovery from her second knee-replacement surgery. Too late to attach this attempt to last week’s group output, I still thought it was worthwhile to publish.  There may be another one in a couple of days.  Please stop back then to see.  😀