I have had two careers: (1) teaching the social studies (2) selling promotional merchandise. Teaching is selling: selling is teaching.
When I watch the morning news on cable television, I see advertisements for cures for allergies, back pain, sneezing, athlete’s foot, tiredness, smoking, and many more maladies, real or imagined. All of these ads tell me to see my doctor, who can write a prescription enabling me to buy the stuff that is being advertised. If I don’t feel terrific, I am told, there is some product somewhere that promises me I will feel better, but I must first see my doctor in order to spend my money. In the face of this commercial onslaught, I have chosen to believe in alternative medicines. My alternative attending physicians are witch doctors.
I visit a unique practice known as “Shamans R Us”. Their offices are on the sixteenth floor of an office building on the upper West Side. I walk in whenever I wish, because the chief executive of the clinic is a psychic. With her abilities, she knows in advance when I am coming so there is no need to make an appointment. As a matter of fact, she knows all of today’s patients’ names, phone numbers, e-mails, ailments and bank balances before they enter. This makes doing business with her very easy. She answered all of my questions before I asked them. In addition to solving my physical needs, she also tells me where the stock market is heading: this alleviates my need for health insurance.
I went to a business meeting recently. I was the first person to arrive, and the receptionist led me to a conference room. I was given a cup of coffee to enjoy while waiting. Sitting there, I noticed a triangular piece of wood on the table. Engraved on the brass plate attached to the wood were the words: “Thank You For Not Smoking”.
I don’t smoke, but many folks do. The smoking industry, i.e., tobacco growers, processors, manufacturers, marketers, distributors, retailers, etc., involves billions of dollars. It is claimed that 5.5 trillion cigarettes are smoked a year. The problems resulting from the human intake of carcinogens from smoking the tobacco gives additional employment – and profit – to doctors, nurses, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and others.
In the current economic atmosphere, there is a blame game being carried on. With our national credit rating having been downgraded, the future is dicey. What will happen is anyone’s guess. But amidst all of this brouhaha, there are those who are making money as a result of this fiscal fiasco, and find the current conditions to be profitable. I would consider their behavior piggish. These people are pigs.
This little piggy went to market. Actually, he wasn’t that little. He was a mature pig, having gone to Yale for his M.B.A. Being a pig, he could not drive a car, because his physical gifts did not match his intellect. So the pig hired a limo and driver to take him to the market…the New York Stock Exchange. As you have no doubt heard, there are many pigs in the market. This pig’s job was to solicit members of the U.S. Congress for Wall Street favors: he was in charge of gathering Pork. Overall he was quite successful, although some of his competitors thought that he was occasionally ham-handed.
I think that there is a unique lesson to be learned by the dilemma posed when one examines the story of Little Bo-Peep. Ms. Bo-Peep, as you no doubt know, was little, which indicates that she was probably pre-adolescent. Some one – probably her parents (who owned the sheep) – entrusted her with their care. I am quite sure you recall the story, but I wish to explore it further.