Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Every now and then we run into a familiar “old saying” – a few words of wisdom that strike a chord or bring back an old memory. When in print, such a sentence or short paragraph often includes the name of the person who originated the thought. When repeated in conversation, we may recognize it as an example of the creative thinking of Benjamin Franklin or Will Rogers. Or even the writers of the “Beverly Hillbillies” TV show who created Jed Clampett’s salty observations. But, too often, we are left guessing.
Recently I heard a friend repeat one of my favorites that goes something like this: “The darkest point in anyone’s life is the moment that he or she sits down and tries to figure out a way to get something for nothing.” I don’t know the exact wording or who created this bit of sage advice, but it is interesting, to say the least.
At this point in time, some of the political leaders here in this great land of ours are insisting that more gambling casinos are absolutely necessary to the financial welfare of quite a number of municipalities and even a few states. But if a large percentage of our people were to suddenly agree with the above statement, and no longer look for a way to get “something for nothing,” wouldn’t this drastically cut down on casino betting? And, in turn, seriously decrease the “tax relief” we currently get by way of taxes paid by the casinos? And, eventually, force us all to go back to paying taxes in the regular old-fashioned way?
Some people seem to feel that paying taxes is less painful when accompanied by flashing lights and bells and whistles.


I met a gray-haired old codger
On a bench out in the park
And he gave me this
One bit of good advice:

“Don’t expect something for nothing –
Life just don’t work out that way –
For each thing you get,
You have to pay the price.”

I laughed, saying, “You old duffers
Just don’t keep up with the times.
Look around and you’ll
See winners everywhere.

“There are lots of gamblers out there
With the guts to take a chance.
I’ve watched. They always
Have plenty bucks to spare.

”I decided I’d try gambling
A few bucks on games of chance,
Certain that old
Lady Luck would smile on me.

I forgot the old man’s warning
And soon was casino bound.
Why work when the best
Things in life may be free?

I first tried the blackjack table,
Put my fifty dollars down,
Gave the dealer a
Smile and my best regards.

I envisioned great big winnings
But my fifty soon was gone.
I guess somehow it
Just wasn’t in the cards.

I found the craps table busy,
But soon found an empty space.
To win a tall stack of
Chips there would be nice.

But my hopes and chances faded
As my money disappeared
With each roll of those
Highly unfriendly dice.
The casino’s bingo hall was
The next place I’d have to try,
But found no
Cooperation there at all.

At roulette, I found that big wheel
Was against me from the start,
Just the same as was
That small white bouncing ball.

When my life’s savings had dwindled
And I had no money left,
The old man’s words came
A-drifting back to me:

“You don’t get something for nothing.
You must pay up all your dues.
”I’m convinced those words
Are true as true can be.

Now, since re-doing my thinking
As to what life’s all about,
I am back here in
The unemployment line.

My billfold’s flatter than road kill,
But once more, my head’s on straight.
If I can find work,
Things may turn out just fine.