I'll pay the troll to cross his bridge, step lightly when I find a bull snake sunning itself on the wood steps to the lower yard, ignore loud-mouths, squash spiders if they come out of the basement where they belong, shoot a skunk if it makes a den under the rear addition, live trap raccoons out of the area, walk quickly into the house at midnight lest a coyote snatch my baby girl, chuckle at topless women on the beach near Negril who proudly wear two grapefruit as a sign of enhanced beauty and complain incessantly about dipsticks. I have cleverly brought you to the point of my blather. Dipsticks.
I get some of my news from a weekly magazine that summarizes events and commentary from all major online and print media. In a viewpoint segment, a woman complains about the trials and tribulations of being laid off. Enter sub title to this post.
BARTER AS PUNISHMENT
The same sniveling dipstick complains "Oh, wobetide to me" the pain and agony of having to barter for essentials. Organizing her closets, getting the dog groomed, building websites (this last one is especially onerous having spent over a month trying to get my webmaster to make basic changes to Seven Roads Gallery) is her long list.
So when you were laid off you were also struck with rheumatoid arthritis, Lyme disease and allergies to dog fur?
Of my many heroes and heroines(Jack Kerouac, Jean Shepard, Amelia Earhart, William Powers to name a few) there's an unnamed man I read about who celebrated a year when he had reduced his annual income to $750. He was able to reach this goal of non-contribution to a monetary system by barter. I love goods. I ran a mercantile emporium for a decade. For fun, I hung a sign on our barn that says
ARIZONA EMPORIUM: DRY GOODS/PROVISIONS
It confuses the heck out of visitors.
If my aging bum wasn't so tender, I'd ride my mountain bike everywhere. I barter for pieces of wood trim, raw milk, hot sauce, horse radish, cute blue heeler puppies(Mandy Mae cost me three fishing reels, a pole, a dipnet and an antique tackle box.) and church pews. Sometimes I get taken advantage of in the trade off. I don't care as long as I can label it charity. When it gets to be a pattern, an obvious scheme, I resort to horse trading. No I don't have horses. Horse trading is a throwback to my trading post days when everything traded was assigned a value agreed upon by both parties. Besides having a value, both parties had to agree to a basis of barter in a form called wholesale or retail.
People are spoiled. I'd be the first to recognize a spoiled brat, since I grew up as an only child, adored by my single parent mother who slathered me with monetary symbols of her affections, sent me to a private school from kindergarten through high school and made me who I am today. She was and is an angel.
The Christmas excesses continued on with my children. When the youngest stood near a pile of presents and said,"Is that all?" I knew I was being taught an important lesson. The private school gave me a life long aversion to people of wealth and privilege. I knew that she showed her affection in material ways and never faulted her for the fact that hugs were as scarce as hens teeth. It was what she learned from a stubborn and opinionated father.
Her affection for me took unusual turns when she temporarily ( 12 years) boarded me with a second generation Polish, blue collar foster family who gave me some real lessons in life. It wasn't abandonment, either. Visits were weekly and room and board payments to the family were monthly. I had the best of two worlds. Two mothers, a true role model for a father(I never knew my real father) who gave me a life long love of woods, fields, the outdoors and a love of cooking.