Sunday, November 15, 2015

294. For The Least Of Those

C.W. was in a philosophical mood. I could tell because he was wearing this cap and gown he claims he received when awarded an honorary doctorate from some school I never heard of, the Ozark Mountain Graduate University. I suspect its credentials, since the gown has an ad for STP motor treatment on the front along with the school motto, Non Postulo Scio Usquam, which, best I can tell, means “You didn’t need to know it anyway.”

He was in the form of a middle-aged man with a flowing mustache carrying a pipe he would have been smoking save for the memories of my wife and the last time he did.

“I’ve been thinking how great your society is,” he said.

“That’s a switch,” I said, looking up from my computer. “You have been somewhat critical lately.”

“Ah,” he said, “but I’ve been conducting a study of how you maintain a statutory procedure or social effort designed to promote the basic physical and material well-being of people in need—your programs of ensuring health, safety, and prosperity for all.”

I thought long and hard. “Are you talking about welfare?”

“Yes,” he said, “the glory of your society: assistance to the needy and disadvantaged.”

“I hate to tell you this …”


“Some people don’t think so.”

“How could they not?”

“Some call it ‘taking’ and think one should be ashamed of seeking assistance.”

He stood up straight in his chair. “Horse flat growths forming the plumage of birds.”

“No horsefeathers. For real.”

“You’re telling me that some don’t believe in assistance to the least of those among you?”

“I’m telling you that some find it so distasteful that they want to force anyone seeking it to suffer the degradation of a drug test before receiving help. Peeing in a cup and all that.”

He thrust his unlighted pipe into his mouth and scanned a sheet. “Surely they don’t mean to include the 39 percent of children who receive assistance.”

“I think,” I said, “their motto is, ‘If you’re old enough to pee, we’ve got to see,’ and that’s it.”

“That’s a lot of urine,” he said. Then he laughed.

“What’s funny about that?”

“Oh nothing,” he said, pointing at the school motto on his gown. “I was just how some of our instructors use words like ‘youren’ and ‘oursen.’ It’s real folksy.”

I was glad to see his mind distracted and, perhaps, moving away from this topic.

“Oh my goodness,” he said as he grabbed his pipe.

“What’s wrong?”

“Children,” he said. “What about the elderly?”

“Along with the children.”

“The disabled.”

“We pay. You pee.”

“Is this what the man on TV meant by the word ‘takers’ that he almost seemed to spit out?”

“I’m afraid so.”

“So anyone receiving public benefits and not paying taxes to support them is a taker?”

“It would seem so,” I said.

“Holy urine sample,” he said.


“Churchgoers,” he said.

“What about them?”

He consulted a paper. “Oh my goodness,” he said.

“What. What?”

“Churches receive all public benefits, right?”

“That’s correct.”

“And don’t pay taxes for them?”


“Holy welfare,” he said, examining another sheet. “That’s 71 billion dollars a year for 60 million people.”

“If you say so.”

“Just consider the logistics,” he said.

“Of what?”

“Collecting all those samples.”

I had never thought about it and told him so.

“I guess those who offer communion could…” He stopped. “No. That wouldn’t work.”

I'm speechless in the contemplation. - C.W.
“No,” I said. “Why don’t we talk about something else?”

“Oh,” he said. “Those ‘Pay for Glory’ churches could have the samples turned in and collected with their donations.”

“I think Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer could afford to do that,” I said. “That takes care of part of the problem.”

“Not all, though,” he said. “I see some tough situations.”

“Like what?”

“Those churches up around where my university is located.” He pointed to his gown again.

“What about them?”

“They all handle rattlesnakes during their services.”


“I don’t think they would have a lot of urine left afterwards.”

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Finally, buy Big Dope's book so he'll shut up about it.
- C.W.

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