Main Street by Roger Allen, publisher — January 21, 2010

Roger Allen, publisher.

Roger Allen, publisher.

Payback

Wall Street screwed up and we had (have?) a recession. Now it looks like things in the financial industry are getting better. The President wants the banks—that we the people bailed out of trouble—to pay back the money. If taxpayers are the insurance company of last resort, it’s only right that the banks pay the premium on that insurance.

We won’t soon forget those multi-million dollar bonuses paid out by the banks we kept out of bankruptcy. Seems like managers that lead their companies into near-bankruptcy should be fired, not rewarded. If those guys deserve a bonus because of all the profits they’ve made, where are the profits?

Right here in town we have managers who made do during the business slowdown crunch with lots less income than the big banks. Give them a few $billion of business and I’ll bet they wouldn’t need to be bailed out.

Darwin Awards!

A Darwin Award is a tongue-in-cheek honor named after Charles Darwin, given to people who “do a service to humanity by removing themselves from the gene pool.” According to Wendy Northcutt, author of the Darwin Awards books, the awardees must accomplish that in a “sublimely idiotic fashion.” Northcutt’s Darwin Awards website tries to verify all stories it receives about the least evolved among us. But if they are fiction, I don’t mind. It’s the laugh that counts.

For example: “When his 38 caliber revolver failed to fire at his intended victim during a hold-up in Long Beach, California, would-be robber James Elliot did something that can only inspire wonder. He peered down the barrel and tried the trigger again. This time it worked.”

Here’s one I like, although it doesn’t involve total self-destruction:

“The chef at a hotel in Switzerland lost a finger in a meat-cutting machine and submitted a claim to his insurance company. The company, expecting negligence, sent out one of its men to have a look for himself. He tried the machine. He also lost a finger. The chef’s claim was approved.”

And here’s one that displays both idiocy and ingenuity. I don’t think it qualifies for a Darwin Award:

“After stopping for drinks at an illegal bar, a Zimbabwean bus driver found that the 20 mental patients he was supposed to be transporting from Harare to Bulawayo had escaped. Not wanting to admit his incompetence, the driver went to a nearby bus stop and offered everyone waiting there a free ride. He then delivered the passengers to the mental hospital, telling the staff that the patients were very excitable and prone to bizarre fantasies. The deception wasn’t discovered for three days.”

Closing thoughts

Never take life too seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway. On the other hand, I used to eat a lot of natural foods until I learned that most people die of natural causes.

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