Mom’s Birthday Gift

Remember when you were eight years old and your mom’s birthday was coming up?

You wanted to buy Mom a present, but you were eight years old – you didn’t have any money.

Your allowance was already blown on Batman comic books and bubble-gum cigarettes.  (Back then we didn’t have warning labels about violence or cancer-causing candy.)

So Mom, being Mom, gave you twenty dollars so you could go out and buy her a gift for her birthday.  That’s right – she gave you money to buy her gift.

Mom rocked!  Wouldn’t it be great if you could do that now as a grown up?  “Hey, Mom – I know how hard you’ve worked all your life, and I want to show my appreciation for all you’ve done by buying you a condo for your birthday… can I have $360,000?”

“My goodness, that’s an awful lot of money” she’d say.

“Don’t worry about it, Mom; you’re worth it.”

So you’re eight years old, and you’ve got your Mom’s twenty bucks.  And this time she actually gave it to you – you didn’t have to sneak around at 2am to snatch it from her purse like you did when you were seven.

Dad would walk you around the mall until you found the perfect gift.  You looked long and hard and found that one item that just screamed “Mom”.

Fortunately, your dad was there to tell you that as cool as you think it is, the best gift for Mom probably isn’t the Mega Monster Slime Maker.  And while your mother would probably love an Orange Julius, it probably wouldn’t keep until her birthday.

Dang it.

So you continued shopping until you found a cheap bottle of perfume or a scarf.  Total price… maybe seven bucks.  It’s only worth a buck fifty, but since you’ve never had a job you don’t understand the value of a dollar yet.

That leaves thirteen bucks.  You should probably give that back to mom, right?  But then she’d know how much you spent on her birthday present.

You can’t have that – besides, thirteen dollars is just exactly what you need to go back and get that Mega Monster Slime Maker that you so richly deserve for spending so much time and effort buying mom a birthday present.

Mom’s birthday arrives.  You give her that cheap perfume, and for being so thoughtful and caring you get a big thank you and a giant kiss.

Well, you’re grown now, and you realize that you weren’t using the wisest money management when you were eight years old.

You’re more responsible now – but you still have to deal with the eight year old.

His name is Government.

Government would love to buy you something special, like… oh… a subscription to your favorite magazine, “Health.”

He knows you could buy this magazine yourself, but he wants to buy it for you… because, well… because he cares so much about you… and because you deserve it.

Of course, Government doesn’t make any money, and he’s already blown what money you’ve already given to him on Batman comic books and bubble-gum cigarettes, so he comes to you for the money (with the threat of jail if you don’t give him the money he asks for; he calls that “tax evasion”).

So you hand over your twenty dollars and Government goes out shopping for this awesome “Health” magazine.

But since he doesn’t really understand the value of a dollar because he’s never had a real job, he jumps at whatever deal sounds good to him – and he gets you this great subscription to “Health” magazine for seven dollars… which later you learn is only worth a buck fifty.

Oh, and you don’t actually get your magazine yet. You gotta wait four years.  FOUR YEARS!  But you still have to pay this year.  And next year.  And the year after that.  In fact, you’re not allowed to cancel your subscription to “Health” magazine… ever.

And does Government give you the remaining thirteen dollars back?  Heck no – because then you’d know what kind of valueless piece of crap he just signed you up for.

Besides, he’s got other things to do with that money… like giving it to Mega Monster Slime Makers so they’ll stay his friends and keep agreeing with him on the playground.

You could’ve subscribed to your own health care magazine for three dollars, and it would’ve been better.  You could’ve chosen the particular health care magazine that best fit your reading habits and lifestyle.  You could’ve started getting your magazine right away.  You could’ve cancelled your health care magazine anytime you wanted to.  Or you could’ve chosen not to subscribe to any health magazine whatsoever and just bought magazines from the rack whenever you felt you needed to.

You could’ve kept the rest of your money and put it into a retirement account, or given it to charity, or fed your kids, or paid off credit cards, or a hundred other things.

But no, your corrupted, selfish Government would not be satiated with anything less than doing it all himself, because he’s a big boy.  Oh, and for being so thoughtful and caring he also expects you to give him a big thank-you and a giant kiss.

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