Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Class Clown And The Sno-Cone Vendor


Jared died this week.  He was buried by the County because he died destitute.  He was 52 years old and he died from complications of Adult Onset Diabetes.  When Jared was a kid he was the class clown.  The closest Jared came to his school books was when he balanced them on his head and strutted down the center row in class and eliciting a few childish laughs when they came cascading off of his head.  When the teacher was talking Jared would smirk and think how dumb this all was...he occupied his class time drawing cartoons on his pee chee folders.  Jared couldn't wait for lunch period so that he could march into the cafeteria, grab his free lunch and start food fights.

Each of Jared's succeeding teachers would pass Jared on to the next grade, unmindful that Jared hadn't learned anything; they were just glad to pass him on to the next teacher. 

When Jared was ten he discovered the wonders of sniffing airplane glue...then he could really be funny...he was hilarious.  Eventually funny Jared was graduated from high school.  Since he couldn't read beyond the 5th grade level, and had no marketable skills, Jared wandered from one fast food outlet to another, bundling french fries and assembling hamburgers for the masses.  

Sadly, Jared discovered the miracle of Oxycontin and Bath Salts and Crystal Meth...then he was really funny at work...when he was able to stir himself and actually get to work.  Eventually, Jared was fired by Ronald McDonald and ended up in a homeless shelter.  But Jared was one of those "prime" candidates for liberal reformers.  A retired ACLU lawyer, now doing volunteer work, got Jared signed up for food stamps and fought his case with the Social Security Administration and won Jared a disability check for disabilities still unknown.

So Jared parked himself on a couch in his Section 8 funded apartment and spent his days and nights smoking pot and watching Fast and Furious movies and re-runs of The Simpsons.  Eventually, Jared gained a hundred pounds and developed Adult Onset Diabetes and Medicaid paid for his treatments.

So last week the class clown died.  He was no longer a funny figure, and his life had not been funny, and his death would have been tragic had his life had any measure of worth at all.


In the same week Jared died, Julio was given the keys to his own home.  Julio is a Mexican-American who migrated to America, was given a green card, learned English and was awarded his citizenship five years later.  Julio had only a 5th grade education down in Mexico so when he came to America he worked in the fields and performed day labor on the weekends.  Julio eventually saved enough from his meager paychecks to buy a sno-cone cart, powered by a bicycle.  He mounted a little bell on the handle bars and pealed his way through Hispanic neighborhoods, pedaling sno-cones to all the children.

Julio made enough from his little business and, convinced he could support a family, he married lovely Maria who worked in a Mexican restaurant he sometimes frequented.  Maria was reluctant to take a sno-cone peddler seriously as a spouse but Julio's charm soon won her over.  Within a year of their marriage Julio and Maria had a little boy who they named Jesus.  

After many years of saving from their work, Julio and Maria moved to a nicer part of town and Maria became a stay at home mom and wife until Jesus was ready for school.   But Julio headed out each morning at nine o'clock and pedaled his sno-cones and home-made tamales cooked by Maria the night before.  Soon their little business on wheels was thriving, driven by the increasing sales of Maria's home-made tamales.  They were even able to put away a nice little nest-egg as they lived simply and frugally.

So when Jesus was ready for first grade Maria accompanied him to school and drove down to her old restaurant seeking to regain her old waitress job.  And by the time Jesus was in third grade, the owner of the little Mexican restaurant wanted to sell out and retire.

After talking it up together, Julio and Maria offered to buy the restaurant...and their years of savings allowed them to pay cash and incur no debt.  Soon the restaurant was thriving under Maria's fine hand in the kitchen and Julio's charming way with their customers.

Julio and Maria were happy with their new found prosperity and with the fullness of their lives.  Things could not have been better.  Until Julio got a call from the teacher, who asked for him to come in for a talk.

It seems Jesus, who was now in 6th grade, had become quite the class clown; so much so that he was disrupting the class.  So Julio, saddened and shamed, took Jesus home before returning to the restaurant.  Maria, seeing Julio's long face, beckoned him back to the kitchen where they huddled and talked about their class clown, Jesus.  As Julio embraced the crying Maria, a solution came to mind, and he left the restaurant for home.

When Julio arrived home he grabbed the collar of his rebellious son and pulled him out to the garage.  Julio rolled up the garage door and wheeled out his now ancient sno-cone bike.  He then grabbed Jesus by the collar and the seat of his pants and swung him onto the bike seat and proclaimed Jesus a "sno-cone peddler".  

For the next few weeks, as soon as school was out, Jesus pedaled through the neighborhood vending sno-cones in the neighborhood.  And all day on Saturdays.  Soon Jesus was too tired to play the class clown in school.  And soon Jesus realized that this wasn't what he wanted to do with his life.  In the next school semester Jesus returned home with straight A's on his report card...and Julio and Maria were pleased.

Jesus is scheduled to graduate this June.  He's already been accepted at Arizona State University and plans to major in business and marketing.  He and his school counsellor have already got him set up with an internship during the summer with a Fortune 500 company here in Phoenix.

So last week Julio and Maria took a week off from the restaurant...they're busy moving into their new home.  They are extremely proud and extremely happy...and so is Jesus...he learned the hard way that being the class clown is not such a great thing to be.

Sadly, and happily, both of these stories are true....


Jerry Carlin said...

You are a great story teller. Both of these stories are true all over USA, hard work and belief in a future still pays off and we simply do not know what to do with the mentally ill (no matter whose fault caused their illness). We have an embarrassing number of people in prison which is costly and doesn't seem to be a solution. Certainly installing a sense of morality and responsibility in the young (parent's job) is a necessary beginning. there are lots of little steps that could e taken. It really bothers me all the trash on the streets and in the wilderness and on our beaches,
(not a problem in Arizona:)) I think it starts with "pride" and we seem to have lost that entirely. Only an idiot dog bites the hand that feeds it.

Craig said...

Good to hear some immigrants want to , and succeed.The only way the story could be better is if Jared was the aclu lawyer,you know the old saying: Two birds with same stone.

A Modest Scribler said...

Jerry, Craig; for some three hundred years our country has experienced a "re-invigoration" every twenty years through rolling waves of new "legal" immigrants who came, refreshed the American Dream, and reminded us that our dreams can come true if we work hard enough for them. A hundred million "Julios and Marias proved that over the years. Substitute the name for Sean, or Nguyen, or Vladamir and the story is the same. Sadly, our whole political structure is now built to destroy rugged individualism and hard work...the rewards are far too often handed out by big government in return for political loyalty. Sad. Damned Sad.

Jerry Carlin said...

I think the failure of capitalism, yes, I said that!, our industry shut down and the buildings taken over by scrappers and so many working jobs going away has added to the problem.It is not just Detroit, every major city has collapsed industry. Corporate America is doing great...Overseas! Never been richer and no, it is not "trickling down".
There can still be success stories, I know many myself, but it is harder and harder and further out of reach for many.
Years ago I was a school teacher and received a lot more from my students through praise than criticism. Basically, I wish the government would not be so quick to give away so much AND industry wasn't so happy to leave this country high and dry. There has to be a compromise. Pride and self-satisfaction and cleaning up one's mess is a beginning.

A Modest Scribler said...

A agree completely; whether big government bribes the corporate rich, or the average citizen, it is wrong...corrupt and wrong.

Anonymous said...

Corporate America left because of increasing government regulation, increased labor demands and the choice of Americans to buy the lowest-priced products. Anyone who tells you different is selling something.

A Modest Scribler said...

Anon, while that is all true, in various shades of grey, the problem is more complex than that. Here's an earlier blog on a variation of that theme:

The other day I was cruising the net, looking for an egg slicer. Nextag provides me a generous selection of these devices, ranging in price from $7.99 to $19.99. I was also looking for a citrus juicer. The price range for that device was also between $8 and $20 bucks, depending on whose brand name was on it.

That same day I walked into a .99 Cent Store to see what they had to offer. I found both devices selling for .99 cents a piece....and they were every bit as good as those offered at up to $20 bucks by the more well known manufacturers.

So, I had a decision to make. Do I buy these two cheap devices made in China, and save $38 dollars, ...or do I buy the famous brand and maybe keep an American employed? Turns out the question was moot. I paid my two bucks for the two items, then stopped by Fry's to pick up some eggs and milk. Just for curiosity's sake I walked over to the kitchenware. Two well known American brands offered the egg slicer and the juice squeezer for $7.99 and both were made in China!

Folks, I'm not one of those OWS protesters but I gotta tell you there is indeed some truth to their claims of corporate greed. While the corporate suits preach the mantra of American jobs they are exporting jobs to China simply to squeeze an extra nickel or two out of an already profitable "bottom line". These two small retail items prove my point. If China can directly export a .99 cent egg slicer, why can't an American company pay an a American a decent wage, maybe help with an employee's health benefits and still sell that same slicer for $4 or $5 bucks!

While these same corporate suits are fighting for obscene profits they are short changing their kids and their neighbors! When they export jobs from an American community they have just put property taxes for schools at risk. They have eliminated jobs in that community and destroyed the tax base of their own city! They just contributed to the federal deficit because they have harmed the government's source of federal tax revenue.

I am a conservative. I believe in free markets. But, far too much corporate greed does exist! This insanity needs to be reevaluated because American unions and American government is not always the villain! There is more than enough blame to go around on both sides but extreme greed is wrong, whether it be from the government, a union or a corporation!

What we need is a good $4 dollar egg slicer, "made in America".

Anonymous said...

I read that when you first published it. I would argue that it is not about shades of Grey, but rather the result of 30 years of bad policy. There are millions of entrepreneurs, and they tend to overfill every niche. I would bet that there have been decent 4 dollar egg slicers, but no market. Given that costs in China are 10x less than the US, how would you offer a 4 dollar slicer that had half the quality of a 1 dollar slicer? If the US enforced or trade agreements and prohibited dumping, the 1 dollar slicer might be 2 or 3 dollars. As it is, anyone who offers a 4 dollar slicer will find that the 1 dollar slicers will be 50 cents. The market isn't untapped, it's scorched earth. The low price leader will always poison the well. But there are lots of people who but things for different reasons. Some will buy the most expensive just because it is. So that market is served by a 20 dollar slicer. True for any product. If we as a people still believed in American exceptionalism, you can bet we would build and buy American and protect our livelihood from those who would destroy us.

Ken said...

Read this while watching the Giants/Diamondbacks play. You, knocked one out of the park with this story again. I was bitching about obama tonite and his policy of releasing criminal illegals to our streets. Making me once again hate the illegals, but this story certainly softened that a bit. Thanks for another great one. Too bad for the junkie fella, he missed having the father that cared enough to whoop his ass a bit.

A Modest Scribler said...

All too true, Ken...the prevailing theme here is simply good parenting.

Brian Kalifornia said...

Jerry, I disagree with you about the Prison population. If we were to make it hard time, that would be a deterant for atleast 30%. If we makde them work on the sides of the freeways of make small rocks out of big rocks they would not want to come back to prison.

As it is now there is no deterant from committing crimes. Sure being locked up is not fun, but it doesn't stop them. They get to see their "boys" they met the last time they were locked up.

But we can't do that to them, it's cruel and unusual punishment, they have rights. That's Bullshit! Chain gang their asses and get them working helping the very society they continue to abuse.

And Scrib, nice story. hopefully we have more success srories like Julio and Marie's.

Brian Kalifornia said...

Jerry, I disagree with you about the Prison population. If we were to make it hard time, that would be a deterant for atleast 30%. If we makde them work on the sides of the freeways of make small rocks out of big rocks they would not want to come back to prison.

As it is now there is no deterant from committing crimes. Sure being locked up is not fun, but it doesn't stop them. They get to see their "boys" they met the last time they were locked up.

But we can't do that to them, it's cruel and unusual punishment, they have rights. That's Bullshit! Chain gang their asses and get them working helping the very society they continue to abuse.

And Scrib, nice story. hopefully we have more success srories like Julio and Marie's.

Anonymous said...

What a great story. it tells that good honest work, even starting at the bottom and working hard really pays off. Its true the best program to lift you out of poverty is a job!

Unfortunately, the Santa Claus Party fully believes that government is the answer.. But that is a myth. Welfare makes the recipient unwilling to make improvements in their lives. Why work when you just get a check and not have to do a thing.

You and others will enjoy the updated version of the story of the ant and the grasshopper The liberal version. It came out around 2011-2012. Still timeless.

Ant and the Grasshopper, latest version
The ant works hard in the withering heat and the rain all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.
The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.
Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while he is cold and starving.
CBS, NBC, PBS, CNN and ABC show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.
America is stunned by the sharp contrast. How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?
Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper and everybody cries when they sing, 'It's Not Easy Being Green.'
ACORN stages a demonstration in front of the ant's house where the news stations film the group singing, 'We shall overcome.'
Then Rev. Jeremiah Wright has the group kneel down to pray for the grasshopper's sake.
President Obama condemns the ant and blames President Bush, President Reagan, Christopher Columbus, and the Pope for the grasshopper's plight.
Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid exclaim in an interview with Larry King that the ant has
gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his fair share.
Finally, the EEOC drafts the Economic Equity & Anti-Grasshopper Act retroactive to the beginning of the summer.
The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the Government Green Czar and given to the grasshopper.
The story ends as we see the grasshopper and his free-loading friends finishing up the last bits of the ant's food while the government house he is in, which, as you recall, just happens to be the ant's old house, crumbles around them because the grasshopper doesn't maintain it.
The ant has disappeared in the snow, never to be seen again.
The grasshopper is found dead in a drug-related incident, and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize and ramshackle, the once prosperous and peaceful, neighborhood.

The entire Nation collapses bringing the rest of the free world with it.MORAL OF THE STORY:Be careful how you vote in 2012

This is only a story, but there is so much truth here!! Feel free to share it.

A Modest Scribler said...

Oh my, anon! What a great story! Thanks!