'Matter of Laugh or Death,' the award-winning humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
NEW ENTITLEMENT PROMPTS QUESTION: WHERE’S MINE?
The government just passed a new $400 billion entitlement to provide prescription drugs to all senior citizens—ALL senior citizens, regardless of whether they’re poor or whether they’re, say, Bill Gates’ father or Ashton Kutcher’s girlfriend.
Now I’m not against the government helping out people who really need help, but the idea that some young single mother-of-three waitress at Denny’s will be footing the bill for Warren Buffett’s high blood pressure pills at first struck me as somewhat unfair.
I know there are plenty of senior citizens who are in desperate financial shape. We often hear about poor old widows with just enough money to purchase either food or drugs, but not both. These sweet little grandmothers must make a choice: do they buy enough cat food to feed the 76 strays living in their homes, or do they score an eight-ball of cocaine for the big Saturday night party at the Senior Center? It’s a tough decision. (Oh wait, my mistake. Those are little old widows in Hollywood. In the real world, the decision is between heart medication or Hamburger Helper.)
On the other hand, senior citizens are by far the wealthiest segment of the population. There’s nothing wrong with that. They’ve earned it. They’ve worked many years, saved and invested their money, and paid off their mortgages. There are many seniors who also face tough financial decisions, for example: do they take their poodles down to the salon for a day of pampering and paw manicures, or do they book another cruise to the Bahamas? Life is full of hard choices.
When I first heard about this prescription drug program, I thought that maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to have struggling taxpayers buy medication for people who can afford it themselves. Why don’t we take care of the poor senior citizens first, I thought, and then see how it goes for a while?
Well, luckily for me I was set straight. I saw the error of my way when I listened to a few passionate politicians debate this issue. It turns out that when I thought people who can afford something ought to pay for it themselves, I was really sentencing millions of senior citizens to a painful, premature death. Hey, I don’t want to be labeled a cold-hearted, mean-spirited Grandma murderer. Whew, I’m glad I had a chance to change my mind before it was too late.
Now that I understand how government compassion works, it is time to implement additional entitlement programs—I’m thinking maybe something for all the downtrodden 46-year-old middle-class schleps living on the east side of Torrington. After all, senior citizens aren’t the only people in the world who need stuff but don’t feel like paying for it. And since the passionate politicians explained that things such as fiscal accountability, future considerations, and where-the-hell-is-the-money-gonna-come-from? are not important, it would be extremely cold-hearted and mean-spirited not to give me what I want.
First, I really need new snow tires. Winter is here and the tires I’m currently riding on have treads about as deep as Madonna’s acting skills. Yeah, I could go out and buy them myself but, you see, I don’t want to. The government should set up a program and have Sonny Toce put all new snow tires on my car. (But of course they must make sure that Sonny does not turn a profit on the deal because as we all know, if a private corporation makes a profit, it is the epitome of evil.)
Next, I could use a new pair of tennis sneakers. We’ll get the Sports Authority in on this one (but again, no profit allowed).
I also need some new furniture for the living room. For this one, I think that wacky Bob guy from the TV commercials will work fine. (And definitely no profit for him. He’s already rich—you can tell by his fancy wardrobe.)
Yes, this will be great. I’m so glad I learned how the government really works.
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