Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Child Labor Runs Rampant!

Place: fifth place in Contest - December Satire

On Monday, a group of children with one parent came to my house and did some Christmas Caroling.  They had a sign that said “Donations Help the Homeless Shelter on 14th and Market.”  I checked the adult’s shoes.  Sure enough, they were Vans, probably from 1990, one without laces, but apparently too small to fall off.  I didn’t want this riffraff around my neighborhood, so I looked into it some more.  What I discovered is very dismaying.

This Donald Parsons had apparently gone to a church to hire the children, each of which was to earn $1 each night they went caroling.  Who knows what shenanigans went on before or after their horrendous performance.  I contacted the district attorney and he will be bringing child labor charges against Mr. Parsons.  Perhaps his jail sentence will provide him with some shelter through the rest of the cold Winter.  My wife and I may be the foster parents for his little girls, which would be nice since our maid took off when the INS employee bought the foreclosed property next door.

My friend Mr. Hat owns a lawn care business.  Lately, he’s suffered competition from groups of underage teenagers canvassing neighborhoods with their own brand of lawn care.  Many of these kids are skipping school in order to mow lawns and rake leaves.  This will have a devastating effect on our local economy.  Can you imagine hordes of young workers taking care of all the things that have been the source of employment for people like Cowboy Hat?  Some of these kids have started growing vegetables in the yards of foreclosed homes.

My wife is a schoolteacher, and we know what happens to schools when attendance starts falling: no more funding.  The Governator has given notice to all state employees that they will be working and getting paid for two days less each month during 2009 and possibly into future years.  I blame the children.  If the little buggers would just stay in school where they’re supposed to be, the funding would be there from their attendance.  Please, if you have a yard to care for, don’t support the exploitation of minors by giving them work.

The last straw was when my gym membership fees went up.  I discussed the issue with management and they explained that membership is down, and they think this is a good thing because gym memberships are a waste of money for most people.  This didn’t make sense to me, so I inquired further and discovered that health clubs are next on the bailout list!  By reducing their membership, my gym will be able to get a loan from the Fed to keep them in business for another 10 years running at their current loss.  This is also a great benefit for the people leasing the property to the gym, since otherwise, they’d have to find another tenant.  So I figured one of the reasons they raised membership dues was so that membership would go down and they’d qualify for the TARP money.  You’re probably wondering what this has to do with the exploitation of our children.

Two things:  First, many of the adults who used to have memberships in the gym have started working with the kids on the lawn care and local farming co-ops, and the gym is using this to explain the falling membership rates.  People with green thumbs don’t have a lot of use for a gym, or so the story goes.  On top of that, the farming co-op has placed a request on the health club property with the owner.  The little vultures are trying to take over my gym!

But do not fret.  Since my initial tip about Parsons, the DA and I have been spending our evenings under the palm tree in his enclosed back yard discussing these issues.  He is working up a plan to squash the little buggers’ initiative and sick the FDA on their veggie business.  We’re not sure what to do about the flowers they also grow, but his niece just applied for some grants to study the effect on the local bee population of raising exotic flowers.  If they can’t establish some kind of reason to have the gardens expropriated for the benefit of real, adult farmers (many of whom depend on the bees for pollination), we’re working on some other angles.

We’re also in touch with the police because Officer Krumke, our local truancy officer, has apparently been ignoring the problem.  The story I heard is that when his supervisor caught him working alongside some of the truant teenagers in one of their gardens on a foreclosed and abandoned property, he weaseled his way out of it with some tripe about covering their own families’ mortgages, rising food prices, and the educational merit of giving the wayward youth “real work.”  He has not been charged because some idiot independent publisher went and blabbed the whole thing to the parents and they sided with Krumke and the children, of course.  Charging Krumke at this point would cause riots.

The worst part of this tragedy is that these kids are beginning to think that their silly little businesses can survive without protection from predatory competitors like big business.  They do not borrow in order to run their businesses, and we all know how much the banks need responsible people to start borrowing more.  Running a business without being in debt should be a crime!  And since they don’t keep records on their sales, there’s no way to figure out how much they owe in taxes, and that money would fund the grants and sociological experiments that would prove to them their folly.  If we could just explain these things to the parents, we may be able to circumvent the horrible future they are preparing for themselves.  Please help spread the word.

Posted by Dave Scotese on 12/23 at 02:54 PM | Permalink
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