While I had my face buried in my latest BHM house-fixup article, the world outside was getting hammered with the kind of rain that makes even a seasoned Northwesterner wonder if there’s an umbrella (or perhaps a submarine) in the house.
Wow. Somebody thinks federal employees aren’t paid enough when compared with people in “similar private-sector jobs.” The article never explains what private-sector jobs are similar to … oh, career money confiscator, thug who tells businesspeople how to run their businesses, or professional killer of nursing mothers.
Saturday evening just as it was turning dark, a young man came to my gate. He was as clean cut as a Mormon missionary (about the only other people prone to show up hereabouts at such an hour) and traveling on foot as they do. But he was solo. I had the vague feeling I’d seen him somewhere before.
“I was here with Mike the other day,” he said by way of introduction. He gave no name. Mike — meaning Handyman Mike — has gone through a steady stream of minions or minion wannabes, all pretty much interchangable to me. I’m trying to figure out which one this is.
“I see you still have that pile of construction material back there. Would you pay me to clean it up for you?”
Clean-cut though he may be, the whole business of a nameless stranger turning up on my doorstep in the near-dark is creepy. I’m still trying to figure out who he is when he announces, “I’m desperate for money.”
And lights up a cigarette.
Now, I can think of a fair number of ways for a young man to demonstrate that he’s either in dire financial straits or worthy of being hired because he’s good. But lighting up a cigarette (in a state where they cost nearly $10 a pack) isn’t one of them. I can’t afford to smoke. If he can, his “desperation” is manufactured.
I let him hand me his contact information over the closed six-foot gate (after I supplied paper and pen). He scrawled a phone number, but still offered no name. I finally asked who he was.
“Troy,” he said.
Then I remembered. Three weeks ago, he answered Mike’s ad for a construction helper. Mike interviewed him and he was supposed to start assisting on my Great Bathroom Project.
The morning he was to begin minioning he called Mike to say he had a flat tire. And no way of changing or fixing it. He finally made it here at 1:30, driven by a friend, just as Mike was going to lunch. Mike showed him the great heap of construction rubble outside the fenced part of the yard and invited him to work on organizing the stack until Mike’s return. Troy declined and left. After that, he didn’t return Mike’s calls. End of minioning.
Now here he is at the gate, weeks later, in the gathering dark on a weekend, wanting the work he wouldn’t do when he had the chance. But not really wanting work. Wanting money.
I’m not sure what it is lately with people being so eager to claim their desperation. Have they been reading Atlas Shrugged and mistaking the bad guys for the good guys or what? Do they seriously believe desperation gives them a compelling claim, some leg up in the race to earn a living?
All it gave me was the creeps.
I remember my Depression-era relatives talking about hungry men showing up on their doorsteps. In their stories, they always made a clear distinction between “hoboes” and “bums.” Hoboes, they said, would show up, hat in hand, offering to work. They didn’t speak of their need, only of their willingness. They were honest men — down on their luck but not broken. Bums, on the other hand, were no good and had probably never been any good. They might (or might not) offer to work, but really they were just looking for a handout. Or a place that might have something worth stealing.
I’ll leave it to you to decide what kind of person my evening visitor is. I don’t know. He might just be an inexperienced kid, born into the self-esteem era, having never been encouraged to acquire either manners, a work ethic, or common sense.
I do know that after he left I let down all the blinds and made sure all my self-defense tools were in good order and accessible. And I gave the dogs extra pats, recalling he’d been too scared of them to come in the yard the first time he was here.
In case you’ve wondered how a jury could watch a video of a cop executing a man in cold blood and still vote to acquit, it’s because authoritarian mind-warping is so very effective. Lisa Mearkle. Remember the name. Lisa Mearkle.
Idaho deputies ask rancher to put down an injured bull. Before he can, they put down the rancher. The family tell their story. I wonder what the “official” story will be.
In all the news about local cops getting away with murder, Jim Bovard reminds us that their federal brothers and sisters are still doing their share — and still untouchable.
Speaking of touching, root for Jim to win that Bastiat Award at the Reason Media Awards tomorrow. (If you click on his image, you’ll see what I mean about “touching.”)
Sorry for so much brutal linkage today. Want a little good news? Cannabis and “hippie beer” are helping small business startups to rise again after 30 years of decline. (Weird, though, that the WaPost writer thinks insufficient regulation is a threat to them.)
It’s been a decent year in life, but a tough one in the pocketbook (what with The Great Bathroom Project, more medical expenses than I’ve had in the last 25 years, and giving up my biggest client on one of those thorny, stubborn Issues of Principle). Pardon me for being blunt, but I need this Amazon Christmas season to be really, really big.
So once a week between now and Chrismakwanzaahanukkahyule I’m going to feature a few cool Amazonian goodies. You faithful (and blessed) Amazon buyers know the drill. Enter Amazon through any of my Associate links and anything you purchase during that visit earns me a commission. It’s a great thing for me and I hope for you, too, because you’re contributing to this blog just by doing something you’d have done anyhow — shopping for Christmas gifts or treating yourself to something nice. Or something routine, for that matter. (I buy my paper towels and Kleenex in bulk via Amazon and some regular shoppers buy their puppy kibble, their coffee, their vitamins, and their gourmet cooking oils there, too.)
I never know who’s buying what. I only get aggregate reports on items ordered on any given day and items shipped. So your privacy is safe with me.
To start off, here are a few of the items people have bought recently that caught my eye.
That’s it for now. Thank you to all who’ve been using my Amazon links. It really helps. Special nod this month to the unknown buyer of those textbooks that seem so unlike a typical Living Freedom purchase, but certainly make my day when they show up among the shipped orders. Many, many thanks to all who surprise me with the big purchases and equal thanks to everyone who keeps the tally building from day to day with purchases of all sizes and kinds.
OTOH, while 9mm is emerging as the clear favorite in TZP’s current poll, Mike Vanderboegh offers a rather compelling, if strictly empirical, argument on why .45 ACP is “better.” (Great link to ballistics tests, too.)
So typical. So very, very, very typical. That crooked cop who staged his own “murder” had a long, long record of crude, thuggish, corrupt behaviors about which nobody did anything.
Faisal Mohammad and his mad manifesto and egregious grudges. Thank heaven for one gutsy construction worker who knew something about knife-fighting techniques and how to counter them. (Ever notice that these “civilians” who stop mass killings tend — even if they are unarmed — to be people who understand weaponry and know the ways in which a shooter or a stabber can be vulnerable?)
On the lighter side, here’s a pug getting excited about … um, broccoli. Nom nom …
Jose Fernandez-Partagas: one of those weirdly fascinating footnote people. I discovered him in an endnote to Isaac’s Storm. Strange life, strange (but awesome) end. Makes you want to know what made him tick.
“We need more movies like Steve Jobsso long as they’re not like Steve Jobs.” Haven’t yet seen it. Probably will. But this expresses so many valid objections to all “inspired by true” movies and movies about business people.
I’m not sure how the term “social justice warriors” (SJW) came into such popular use. But I don’t like it. It’s too easy for the SJWs themselves to see that as a good thing. I think we should use a term nobody could learn to love (and a more accurate term, besides): pecksniffians.