Best .50 Cents Spent Evah

I did something noble today. Ok, nobel in my mind. Before I get to it, I'm what you call a bleeding heart softie. I do, for example, give to homeless people. Not all of them because I would go broke since Montreal seems to have one on every corner (so much for the effectiveness of the compassionate welfare state), but I'll drop some coinage on a couple. A few years ago I did so in front of a friend. "Why did you do that? They get nothing from me. The government kills me on taxes on the premise they'll take care of them." He was right. He saw it as double dipping and what was left in his pocket was his.

As I try to convey on this blog, we don't do enough to keep tabs on exactly how the state runs its affairs.

Still, I couldn't bring myself to ignore a guy with one shoe. I once gave my lunch to a young guy. It wasn't a cheap lunch either: Capicollo, provolone, basil, tomatoes, olive oil and light honey dijon on a delicious ciabatta.

I also give to kids at street corners trying to raise money to go to a hockey tournament held in the nether-regions of this vast province or students selling chocolate to earn a trip to the Science Museum in Ottawa. To me there's value in their goals and that they're going door to door is a good experience. They'll meet a guy like me and they'll encounter curmudgeons. It's all part of the learning curve. Heaven knows they're learning a clean version of life in school these days.

It's not ultruism. It just is.

So today I did something I never did before. I forked over .50 cents for lemonade. Quite frankly, I took it as a sign from God since I was drying up faster than the Sahara. I have to admit, in today's heightened paranoia, I felt a little weird pulling up with a 4x4 up to a lemonade stand with two young girls - I looked around to see if there were any cops. Hey, I'm a product of my media environment I guess - so I tanked the juice, thanked and wished them luck and off I went to a meeting.

Then I wondered. What if the cops were around not to question me but shut their operation down?

We live in a time where our laws are numerous and have allowed ourselves to become slaves to a city code or bylaw to the point of interpreting them to the letter. I see it in my hockey pool. It's retarded how nine guys will let some things go understanding it won't be detrimental to the integrity of the pool but ONE person will object insisting we act like effen Nazi robots. Guess who wins? "If we allow this then this will happen" and "who will think of the children?" "c'est la loi" and "it's a slippery slope" and "the greater good" and any other typical cliche you can think of will be used to defend a statist position. Next thing we know, we have to bend to Mr. Tightypants.

"Spirit of the law" is another fave of mine. I've observed it's always applied when interests are threatened. No one cares about the "spirit" of the law. Talk about moving targets.

Common sense and common decency counts for nothing. The idea that winking at a law (that may or may not be stupid to begin with) will somehow lead to an inevitable evil end tires me.

I believe in the wisdom of crowds. If, say, ten people are governed by a law, but are in agreement to be lenient for a particular situation, then so be it. See it as an assembly exercising legitimate free will on a law they consented (hopefully) to in the first place.

Yes, I do believe busting up lemonade stands, taking down Christmas trees, or fining someone for breaking a mysterious bylaw putting their bag on a park bench, demanding permits to sell socks, or like what happened to us in the 1980s, a person called the cops on us for playing hockey in the streets* - whatever - to be reprehensible acts regardless of the damn laws. These are trivial things to get caught up with. I think there are waaaayyyy bigger fisheses to fry (with some garlic). We can barely take care of that business so focusing on whether a kid uses chalk on the street seems a little tyrannical to me.

Not advocating a free hippie commune take drugs in front of your neighbour while barbecuing naked world here. I'm not unrealistic.I understand I benefit too from zoning laws for example. Or that if my idiot neighbours decide to party for two days straight pushing my patience to the limit, I know I have recourse. I'm not obtuse enough to bash every single regulation or law since many do make sense. But gosh...chill a little.

I do question the veracity of some of them anyway. Permits are nothing but a racket and you can quote me on that. Racket.

When you increase your laws you increase the chance at corruption as Tacitus said. Not only that, you have to hire so many people that not all are properly educated or naturally endowed with a public servant temperment. Chances are, you'll be hiring a lot of assholes to interpret the laws.

In a way, taking that lemonade was a way for me to increase my sugar intake (and it was a little to sugary) thus giving a big middle finger to whoever - citizen or bureaucrat - would take that right away.

I just hope that girl will spend her .50 cents wisely and not go gamble on a lotto ticket. In fact, there oughta be a law on how a 10 year-old can spend their (tax-free) money.


*The cops were cool about and were in a bind. A taxpaying douche was well within his rights. So they asked us to compromise and move the game. We did. A case of "reasonable accomodation" and despite what I've written above I want to believe is the norm rather than the exception.

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