Tom Purcell, 12/27/2006 [Archive]

New Year's Resolution - Ownership Society

New Year's Resolution -- Ownership Society

By Tom Purcell

Here's a way for President Bush to salvage his presidency in the New Year: Promote the principles of his Ownership Society again. If more people owned things, they'd be as miserable as I am, and America would be a better place.

I had my first taste of ownership 11 years ago after buying a country house that made Herman Munster's place look like a Trump estate. Renovating it was awful enough, but all hell really broke loose when my father and I began work on the bathroom.

The bolts that secured the commode to the floor had broken. I raced to the hardware store to buy new bolts. We spent an hour installing them. We slowly lifted the commode into place and fished the bolts through the bolt holes. But the bolts were too short!

"Son of a ... ," said my father.

"The idiots gave us the wrong bolts!" I said.

I raced back to the hardware store. We toiled another hour and the new bolts worked. But a second problem occurred: the wax goop that seals the commode to the sewage pipe wasn't thick enough.

"Son of a ... ," said my father.

"The idiots gave us the wrong goop!" I said.

I raced back to the hardware store. With the commode finally secured and sealed, we proceeded to a higher level of suffering: reattaching the water fittings.

You see, water fittings are designed to not fit. After several attempts to make them fit, we stripped the threads. This resulted in a leak that made Niagara Falls look like a lap pool.

After several hours of this misery, my father and I completed the bathroom. I thought then that the worst of ownership was behind me, unaware it was just getting warmed up.

One day, while weeding the planter, I was attacked by ground bees. Someone told me the solution was to pour a cup of gasoline into the bee hole, then light it. I poured two cups for good measure. I wisely moved the 2.5-gallon gasoline canister 10 feet away, and then lit a match. It was then that I learned an important lesson about gasoline.

Gasoline doesn't burn. Gasoline fumes burn. They burn because they are FLAMMABLE. And they are especially flammable when you create a massive carburetor in a dirt hole in your planter.

As I neared the hole, I heard a giant "WOOOOF," the sound gasoline fumes make when they explode. A 15-foot flame shot up the side of my freshly painted house. But I was more concerned about the flame that was now coming out of the air hole on the top of the 2.5-gallon gasoline canister I wisely sat 10 feet away.

I grabbed the giant Molotov cocktail and launched it as far from the house as I could, causing an explosion that would fill an al-Qaeda trainee with envy. It took me an hour to douse all the flames and keep the neighborhood from burning down.

Since then my fortunes have improved, allowing me to buy stocks that are now worth much less than I paid for them. I own my own health insurance policy, too, and its premium is rising faster than the flames that nearly torched my house.

And I've become a landlord, one of the most pleasurable aspects of ownership a man can know. (Don't ask about the septic tank, or how I straddled it for two days with a spade shovel to dig out enough earth so that the new lid would fit.)

Ownership is a grand concept and Bush could resuscitate his presidency by promoting it. More ownership will make Americans demand simpler, lower taxes and other commonsensical reforms that make it easier to own things -- reforms Republicans used to embrace. The economy will boom and Bush's approval ratings will soar.

Our assets will grow in value, too. We can sell them at great profit, retire and become Democrats -- and finally enjoy life for once, while everybody else takes care of us.

Tom Purcell is a humor columnist syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons. For comments to Tom, please email him at TomPurcell@aol.com.

RESTRICTIONS: 'Tom Purcell's column may not be reprinted in general circulation print media in Pennsylvania's Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, and Westmoreland Counties.



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