The Self-Made Man
The Self-Made Man awoke. That is to say, his eyes snapped open, as they typically did, one minute before his alarm setting. He quickly turned the alarm off. After all, it was only a back-up system. His superior brain constituted alarm one.
The Self-Made Man swung his legs (legs that evolved courtesy of the four-billion year old evolutionary struggles of his ancestors) over the edge of his memory foam bed. (Memory Foam had been invented in 1966 by NASA. NASA was America’s space agency. The tax dollars of US citizens paid for that, and for many other inventions).
The Self-Made Man didn’t believe in paying taxes. Taxes, he thought, were for suckers. The Self-Made Man, according to his judgment, spent his money on things he found worthwhile such as making more people like himself. Why should he send his hard-earned money to Washington DC and let the government of the people decide where his money should be spent? That made no sense; after all, it was his money! (Money, by the by, was invented about 2000 BC, approximately 4000 years before the Self-Made Man was born.)
The Self-Made Man slipped his feet into his slippers. Slippers, of course, provide an easy way to add protection to your feet. Slippers are not unlike the moccasins that many Native Americans used for over ten thousand years before Europeans came to destroy most of them with germs and guns. The moccasins of The Self-Made Man were not made of deer skin or moose skin, but of synthetic fabrics which had been developed over the preceding century by thousands of scientists working for “rubber” companies and chemical companies. Some of this research was funded by US taxpayers but the money spent on tires for their cars paid for most of the research.
As The Self-Made Man slid his feet into his slippers, he did not think about these things. He was thinking about a speech he would be giving later that day encouraging people to fight for lower taxes, especially for the wealthy. Somewhere in the back of his mind, The Self-Made Man, was vaguely aware that poor people tended to waste their money on such mundane things as clothing, shelter, food, healthcare, etc. How tedious! Rich people were far more imaginative and spent money on important things like golden toilet seats, yachts that were so large they couldn’t enter harbors, cryptocurrencies, and politicians.
The Self-Made Man didn’t waste much time thinking about poor people at all. They were fools anyway and actually worked for their money. How stupid is that, when you can be rich enough to own things and make more money from owning things that other people needed in order to make their money than anyone could possibly make from simply doing things that provided value to others.
The Self-Made Man picked up his smart phone and “dialed” his head speech writer. The “smart phone” of The Self-Made Man had grown from technology that was largely, though not entirely paid for, by the taxes of US citizens. No matter. Of course, the very smart people who developed that technology had been able to do so largely because of their education. Most of that was paid for by taxes of US citizens. But that education itself depended upon thousands of years of development of language, mathematics, science, etc.
The Self-Made Man showered in hot water and cleansed himself with soap. Having hot water at his fingertips grew from the magic of yet other inventions. Without thinking much about it, he not only cleansed himself of dirt and dead skin but also benefited from the action of soap to kill some of the germs that lived on him. Indoor plumbing itself had been invented about 6000 to 7000 years earlier in India. Sometimes, the Self-Made Made let the shower water trickle into his mouth. Luckily, government agencies had ensured that this was safe to do. Those agencies had been paid for by the tax dollars of ordinary US citizens who were too stupid not to pay taxes.
The Self-Made Man dressed and went to his home office to take a last look at his speech. He quickly accessed all his needed information using protocols that had originally been developed by DARPA using the tax dollars of ordinary US citizens who had paid their taxes. He scanned through the speech. The Self-Made Man thought it merely adequate. He reckoned it did a nice enough job of arguing as to why The Self-Made Man was the most important kind of man in the world. But something was missing. The speech, in a way, was the heaven part. It explained why The Self-Made Man and others of his ilk were bringing about a veritable heaven on earth. That was fine. So far as it went. But where was the “Fire and Brimstone” part? Where was the part that aroused the hatred of unions and workers who supported them? Where was the part that would make the audience be willing to do anything to keep the rich and powerful in control? Missing. The Self-Made Made shook his head sadly. Using the Internet protocols and hardware inventions of generations of scientists and engineers, he fired his main speech writer and alerted his second violin speech writer to add the “Fire and Brimstone” part. “Demonize these people the way they deserve to be!”
Firing people always gave a little thrill to The Self-Made Man. Firing was always a “Triple Play.” First, it made “The Self-Made Man” feel good immediately. Second, it taught the person fired a valuable lesson. Third, it rekindled the fear in his other employees that they too could be fired at a moment’s notice if their work wasn’t up to snuff. And, it worked. As it almost always did. The “Second string” speech writer added some nice demonizing text and even included a Bible verse about the value of hard work.
Soon, The Self-Made Man’s chauffeur zoomed them along an Interstate highway system (paid for by US taxpayers) toward the airport (which had largely been paid for by tax dollars). The Self-Made Man’s limo was a marvelous example of pollution whose external costs were almost all borne by others. The land beneath which the oil lay had mainly been stolen without compensation from the Native Americans (and other indigenous people throughout the world) who had lived there for tens of thousands of years. The extraction of the oil and its refinement to gasoline polluted air and water and required the dangerous labor of many. The combustion of the gasoline poured still more pollution into the air including carbon dioxide which was warming the planet so quickly and so radically that every year, people died from various climate catastrophes.
The Self-Made Man soon arrived at the Conference Center (paid for largely by tax dollars, because, after all, conventions brought business to the downtown). His speech was well-received and several Self-Made Men walked up afterwards and congratulated him on his brilliant speech. Three from The Self-Made Man’s social media team tweeted and instagrammed excerpts from his brilliant words. These were soon echoed by several of the politicians he owned.
The Self-Made Man was too busy to stay and chat long. One of his assistants handed The Self-Made Man a cup of coffee as they rushed out to the waiting limo. As he began to take a sip of the beverage which had been invented far away and long ago, the top came off and burned the thumb and index finger of The Self-Made Man. He noisily fired his assistant on the spot. He shook his head sadly as he slid into the rear seat. The Self-Made Man began feeling the scaled in earnest and therefore began screaming at his chauffeur. “Where the hell is the damned ice! Can’t you see I burned myself?!”
The limo was a marvel of sound isolation, and in fact, the chauffeur had not known anything about the spilled coffee. “There’s ice right beside you in the champaign bucket,” the driver said matter-of-factly.
The Self-Made Man wasn’t about to reach all the way across the back of the limo to get his own damned ice! He screamed: “Pull over and get me the damned ice!”
The limo driver sighed. “Sir, there’s no place safe to pull over right here. I can pull over … “
The Self-Made Man screamed even more loudly. “What the hell’s wrong with you?! Pull over NOW!”
The chauffeur complied.
Meanwhile, the bus driver behind them had his own issues. Of course, it wasn’t really the bus driver’s fault that the airline schedules were all bolloxed up. And, somewhere in the back of his mind, the disgruntled passenger must have known that too. But it didn’t keep him from screaming at the bus driver just long enough to prevent the bus driver from noticing the oddly parked limo.
Before the crash rendered everything in the limo burned beyond legibility, there had been a prominent sign in its passenger compartment which read:
“Please buckle up! It’s the law.”
The Self-Made Man, of course, felt himself much too important to follow laws of any kind.
Although The Self-Made Man was rushed to a hospital (mainly paid for by tax dollars — but not his) and once there, received trauma treatments developed by thousands at a cost of billions of dollars and thousands of lives, his particular and largely insignificant leaf detached and fell from the Great Tree of Life and was no more.