My humble effort at stimulating the economy
All we hear these days are complaining about the economy and nobody seems to be doing anything about it. Politicians talk about it all the time and yet do nothing creative in the area of improving our economy. If you could put all the political speeches end to end, there would positively be no end to it. What we need to stimulate our economy is some kind of stimulation that does not come from the government. They stimulate me, all right, but not in the right way.
This is where I step in. I assure you I am not running for any office. If the truth were known, I am running away from every office I can think of, especially my church office. I have no political agenda or aspirations; I am just a plain ordinary American citizen. I understand such creatures are an endangered species in today’s economy. I am proud to be just a plain ordinary American. I am not middle-class, lower-class and certainly not high class. In fact, I have no class at all, and I am glad to leave it like that. I couldn’t pass the test anyway. But I am doing my part in stimulating the economy. The secret plan I have can be boiled down to one word: vacation.
This past week I have bravely gone where I have not been for a long time and that is on vacation. There is nothing like a vacation to stimulate many things, including the economy. It takes me a whole year to scrimp and save so the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I can go on a vacation. But in the end, it is well worth it. After a weeklong vacation, I am highly stimulated to return home where I can recuperate from all that stimulation. My wallet is still vibrating.
I must confess that the primary stimulation in a vacation has to do with my credit card. It was stimulated in more ways than I care to remember, and at the end of the month the credit card company will remind me of all that stimulation. If the government does not have enough money in its coffers to balance the budget, it is not because I have not done my part. Every time I turned around there was a tax on something. Do not let this get out, but if the government knows I turned around so many times, they will find a way to tax that.
I am not a conspiracy enthusiast, but I believe I stumbled onto a most blatant conspiracy with the United States government. I am here merely to give my humble testimony. The conspiracy, as I found it, focuses in on the airlines. I know this may sound like a far-fetched idea but I can only give my observation. The airlines are in a conspiracy with the United States government to take as much money from me as they possibly can. Not that I have a lot of money, I just would like to keep as much of it as possible for those occasions when I would like to take my wife out to a restaurant and just have a relaxing evening. That takes money.
It began with checking in our luggage. Two bags for me and two bags for my wife equals too much luggage. We put our luggage on the conveyor belt and then were informed by the check-in clerk that each bag cost an extra $50. She swiped my credit card and even though I am not a mathematical wizard, I believe it was in the neighborhood of $200. I do not like that neighborhood. Later on, I sat down to figure it out and discovered it would be far cheaper not to take any luggage and then when arriving at my destination buy a new set of clothes. My entire wardrobe does not equal $100. Of course, on my wife’s side of the closet it is a different story.
We got our boarding pass and then the young woman behind the counter looked at me and asked a strange question. “Sir, how tall are you?” It has been a long time since anybody asked me that kind of a question. Why she wanted to know how tall I was could not be found in the corridors of my empty mind. I then informed her that I was 6’3”, “I see,” she said as she stared at her computer screen. Then she explained. “The average height of a male passenger on our plane is 5’11”. You exceed that limit by 4 inches.” I looked at my wife and we both shared a wonderful laugh. Then I look back at her behind the counter, but she was not laughing. “There will be an extra charge for your exceeding our height limit.” “Let’s see,” she said as she studied the computer screen, “that’s 4 inches times $15 per inch which equals $60.” She then swiped my credit card, again, and charged it with the $60 extra fee.
That was just the beginning of the “swiping” by the airlines. By the time our vacation was over, I was totally swiped out. When I got home I meditated a little bit on what Jesus said, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s” (Luke 20:25 KJV). I really do not mind rendering to “Caesar” but I just wish he wasn’t so greedy.
Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, PO Box 831313, Ocala, FL 34483. He lives with his wife, Martha, in Silver Springs Shores. Call him at 1-866-552-2543 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. His web site is www.jamessnyderministries.com
Whenever somebody mentions the word “free” in my presence my right eye turns a vivid jaundice. It is not that I have anything against the word free; just the person who is trying to use it to gain some kind of an advantage over me. I know anybody employing this mono-verbiage, is hiding some very long strings.
My father taught me a long time ago that there are no free lunches. Occasionally somebody will advertise a free lunch and I go and find out the lunch is free but they are going to charge you to get out of that restaurant. In the end, it would have been cheaper to buy my own lunch.
My philosophy is simply this; if I cannot afford it, I do not want it. In my vast experience down through the years, I have discovered that I cannot afford free. And I think I know why. My understanding of the word “free” and the person employing that word is not the same.
When I use the word “free,” I am insinuating that there is absolutely no cost associated with this product whatsoever.
When others use the word “free,” they often are insinuating that I am just a free market for them to take advantage of in the neighborhood of my money. Unfortunately, I do not live in that neighborhood anymore.
I especially do not accept any “free offers” via the telephone. If someone has something to give me for nothing, let him come to my door, hand it to me, shake my hand and get out of Dodge. To me, that’s what free is all about.
Just the other day I received one of those telephone calls. I must confess that I was in a rather curmudgeon attitude and was just looking around for someone on which to spit my scorn.
Then the telephone rang.
When I answered the phone, it turned out to be someone offering me, absolutely free, with no cost to me absolutely, a free crime prevention program for my blessed domicile.
“No thank you, sir,” I said as politely as I could. “I’m not really interested.”
I assure you I have no PhD or DD attached to my name whatsoever and yet as simple as I am, I understood what the phrase “I’m not really interested” was all about. Not so my affable telephone caller.
“But I assure you, sir, that this program is absolutely free to you. It’s our way to say thank you to some of our customers.” He rattled on as though we were having only a one-way conversation. If this is going to be a one-way conversation, who will take up the offering? I think I know. After five long minutes of him telling me how important it was for me to have security in my home and how his product was absolutely free to me, I finally got a word in edgewise.
“But I have my own security system, thank you.”
There is a slight pause and then he said, “What is your home security system, if I may ask?”
All right. I will confess right now that I had a wee bit of naughtiness on my mind, but in my own defense the telephone caller opened the door. I always believe where there is an open door somebody ought to step in.
“My home security system is called, Napoleon-two-Claws, and furthermore I’m quite satisfied with it.”
There was another pause on the other end of the phone and I heard someone clear their throat and then ask, “I’ve never heard of that program. What is ‘Napoleon-two-Claws’?”
You know what it is like when you are trying not to laugh and it is about all you can do not to laugh? For a brief moment, I felt a little bit guilty but then I remembered who was on the other end of the phone. Somebody that was trying to con me with some kind of free thingamajig.
“The ‘Napoleon-two-Claws’ home security program that I have in my house is my cat. I call him Napoleon because he walks around with his right paw stuck in his coat between two buttons.”
There was an extended pause on the other end of the phone and finally he said, “What would you do, sir, if someone broke into your house?”
“I’d send flowers to the funeral.”
“The funeral? Who’s funeral?”
“Why, the funeral of the guy who tried to break into my house while ‘Napoleon-two-Claws’ was on duty. The first moment an intruder would enter into my home, good old Napoleon would claw that sorry person to death.”
Then feeling good about my momentum at this point I continued, “I live there and I have a hard time getting in my house without being clawed to death by Napoleon. And I feed the cat. My cat is the meanest, grumpiest, cantankerous animal on God’s green earth. If anybody, and I mean anybody, can get past Napoleon they can have anything in my house. Absolutely free.”
At that moment, I heard a distinctive “click” and I realized our conversation was over. I guess whatever he had that was free did not measure up to good old ‘Napoleon-two-Claws’.
The only one I trust to give me something is God. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
What Jesus gives is absolutely free.
The Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, PO Box 831313, Ocala, FL 34483. He lives with his wife, Martha, in Silver Springs Shores. Call him at 352-687-4240 or e-mail email@example.com. The church web site is www.whatafellowship.com.