Thoughts from the ammo line

Don’t tell Anderson Cooper, but Ammo Grrrll points out: THAT IS A WHEELBARROW FULL OF MONEY!! She writes:

Okay. I stipulate to the fact that geezers are always comparing the cost of things today with the prices (and values) of things when we were young, and I identify as a geezer.

We used to make fun of Mama. “Yes, Mother, we realize that bread was a nickel, but you had to work all day as a nanny for a dime, and you only got half a sandwich for your lunch. We get that. But, really, the movie is 15 cents and everybody is going to Tammy and the Bachelor, so please, please, please could you look in your purse and see if you have a dime and a nickel? I have my own dime for popcorn. Unbuttered.”

Just by the by, Mama really DID get a dime a day as a nanny (and “light” housekeeper) for her older and much richer first cousin in the Twin Cities the summer after high school graduation. And the cheap, lazy (bad word) really DID give her only half a sandwich to eat at noon while she herself went out with lady friends to fancy downtown restaurants. Nice.

That experience, told to me dozens of times, has made me very generous to my hired help, even though none of them are even related to me. Of my many faults, exploiting people who work for me is not one of them. Not to worry, though, because in her 50s through 70s, Mama earned the big bucks — $4.00 an hour to clean houses like, I guarantee you, they had never been cleaned before. With laundry. And windows.

My first job in my father’s drugstore paid 65 cents an hour, and years later, $1.00 an hour. We worked a 6-day week, always and every fourth Sunday. On those occasions, that meant we worked 13 days in a row. The four drugstores also took turns being open until 9 p.m. which was a real treat as well. How I came to loathe the tourists who would drift into the store at 8:57 and just loiter about for 20 minutes, not buying anything! Were YOU ever in a drugstore at 8:57 p.m. in Alexandria, MN in the summers of 1962-66? If so, as the Yiddish curse goes: “May all your teeth fall out but one, and that one should ache you.” Not that I’m still bitter.

When Mr. AG and I were first married, I worked for IBM as a typist for $400 a month. Every two weeks I took home $167.80 after taxes. We had no telephone and no vehicle. When we lived in San Francisco in the early 70s with a newborn, we earned $8,000 for the year. TOGETHER. STILL no car, although we did have a telephone, but – and I’m going to capitalize this so you know I’m yelling – WE DID PURCHASE BASIC CATASTROPHIC HEALTH INSURANCE! Always. Instead of, you know, drugs, tattoos or hair extensions.

Let me also make perfectly clear, as Nixon used to say, I did not at the time, and do not now resent at all that we did not have the income that others did who made better choices, including years more of study and sacrifice. Nearly all of Mr. AG’s friends became doctors, lawyers or college professors with multiple Ph.Ds.

We were busy saving the world at that time and not only failing to earn much, but also being nagged incessantly into giving what little we did have to “The Movement.” THAT I do resent, but, hey, we were adults and 100 percent responsible for these stupid choices. Sometimes in life, barring a straitjacket, nobody can prevent you from voluntary suckerdom.

Eventually, our silly political notions got smashed on the hard rocks of reality. We more or less caught up to most of our peers in financial comfort. Mr. AG earned a law degree plus developed expertise as an I.T. Guy. He really DID “learn to code.” Add in my few lucky breaks as a comedian and our fortunes improved markedly. One equalizer, of course, was that we stayed together for half a century, while some of our peers had to divide their assets in half, sometimes more than once. Another was that we were blessed with good health – Baruch Hashem (thank God) and kinahora (a Jewish incantation to turn away the Evil Eye). Also, nobody ever had a substance abuse problem, not counting Krispie Kremes.

Which brings me to my actual point. For weeks now, I have been trying to get my mind around the 50 THOUSAND dollars A MONTH that Hunter-Gatherer Biden got for NOTHING except the obvious connection to his Daddy. I mean, am I the only one who thinks that is a LOT of money? What COULD you do to earn that? Especially when you don’t speak the language, and have no expertise either in the country or the industry for which you are “consulting.” Could it BE any clearer?

After many decades on this corrupt planet, you expect some gouging, some kickbacks, some bribery called by nicer names like “finders fees,” “closing costs” or “resort fees” in hotels that provide things like kayaks and hang gliding that the Vasses are never going to use but are forced to pay for. A little “taste,” as they say in certain circles, as part of doing a deal is expected. But 50 thousand dollars A MONTH??? I mean how did the Bidens settle on that amount? Was that just Hunter’s regular coke budget for a month?

ONE month in my 30-year comedy career, I actually did make $50,000. (It was in an October, always my busiest booking month; honest to God, the following July, I made $1500.) Such are the vagaries of the comedy business. Makes budgeting and estimated taxes a joy.

Anyway, I made that $50,000 by a freakish booking schedule that just fell into place like God Himself was my agent. A client would call to check my availability for the second week, say, and it would turn out that their event was on the only night of that week that I wasn’t booked. Sure, it meant one night in Mississippi and the next noon in Oregon, and an evening show in Texas, but it could theoretically be done! I remember that for that pathetic July I got just five total inquiries – every blessed one for July 29th! What were the chances? As regular readers know, I hate flying; that lucrative October I had 29 flights in 31 days. In other words, I WORKED for it and so hard that I got viral pneumonia. The whole month I never had a wakeup call later than 4:00 a.m. to make another dreadful germ-laden flight.

So the idea that someone could get that for doing absolutely nothing and month after month for YEARS makes me want to puke. And with OUR tax dollars – a billion of them — as the humungous prize for the bribe. And he and his Daddy walk free. Sad. Not quite as evil as a PALLET of American greenbacks to the hostage-taking terrorists in Iran, but dang close. These are greedy, sleazy, evil people. Not one of whom will ever do a day of time. Convince me I’m wrong.

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