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April 22, 2014

Cruising for a bruising with socialism

By Chuck Pinkey
The Daily Star

---- — While we were down South this winter, my wife came up with a “deal.” We take a one hour time-share sales presentation and tour, and we receive, free of charge, a three-day Caribbean cruise. What could possibly go wrong?

Half a day later and I’m ready to visit Gitmo and volunteer for waterboarding.

“Normally this two bedroom unit is $32,900, but today is your lucky day! For only $24,900, it can be yours for one week a year, forever! Plus, yearly fees and maintenance costs. Shall we sign you up?” they say.

“Do I look like an Obama voter?” I replied. If nothing else, their sales force is persistent. As luck would have it, they have a few repossessed units that can be had for merely $14,999.00. “Surely, you and your lovely wife will take advantage of this?” they ask.

“My name is not Shirley!” I replied. Finally, after six hours of saying “No” 25 times, we were on our way with tickets for a Caribbean Cruise!

One night on the cruise, we were seated for dinner with two other couples. Henry and Louise had an airboat operation north of New Orleans, and Margret and her nameless husband were from Louisville, Ky. I say nameless because Margret introduced him simply as “This is my husband.”

As we learned where they were from, I commented, “Louisville. That’s where Jennifer Lawrence is from.” “Who?” Margret asked. I answered, “Jennifer Lawrence. She won the Academy Award last year.”

“We don’t bother watching movies.” she smiled. Not knowing enough to keep my mouth shut, I asked, “What do you do in Louisville?” “I’m originally from Sweden, but I’ve been in America for years. I am an artist.” Margret said.

“That’s very interesting,” and turning to her husband, I asked. “What do you do?” Margret answered, “Do you have any art at home?” “Well, yes I do.” I said.

Bam! I got a shot to the shins that only a wife of 43 years can deliver, and Sue whispered in my ear, “That painting you have of Elvis that glows in the dark IS NOT ART!” Now, what am I going to do?

“Well? Ah, I have a Colt Python with Class “E” engraving and carved Ivory grips. Quite a work of art,” I said. Margret asked, “What’s a Colt Python, and I don’t like the sound of ‘carved’ ivory?” “It’s a Colt revolver. A handgun with beautiful engraving and ornately carved ivory grips. It’s a real beauty!”

“A gun?” she replied. “Elephant ivory? Do you mean this great animal had to die to decorate your gun?” she continued. I’m thinking, “Thanks, Honey! I should have told her about Elvis.”

I explained, “I believe new Elephant ivory is illegal. These grips are old, and at the time, ivory was plentiful and legal. Besides, the elephant was probably taken by a hunter who paid a large fee. The money and meat went to the land owner and villagers in Africa. The ivory was sold, too, and that benefited all.”

“Hmm. What scene is ‘carved’ on his ivory? A slaughter scene from a bloody Africa hunt?” Margret questioned.

My wife has this “You better shut up, Chuck” look on her face, but I have to answer the lady’s question. “No.” I said “It pictures a nude female in a very provocative position. You know … art!”

“I’m sure that magnificent creature would feel fulfilled.” she says. “Trust me, my lady, there are worse ways of being remembered,” I said. Her husband, the zombie, nodded and smiled.

Sensing blood in the water, Margret asked what I thought of President Obama. I told her that I thought he is the worst, most inexperienced president we have ever had, and that he is turning America into a socialist country.

She replied, “That is a good thing. In Sweden, we are socialist. Salaries are high and many people pay a 57 percent income tax, a 25 percent sales or value-added tax, and so on. We all live a good lifestyle and have good health care.” “You mean 80 percent-90 percent is taken in taxes?” I asked. “Yes. If you figure income, value-added, corporate, property and all other taxes, but look at what we all receive,” she said.

“ Very interesting! If you were an artist in Sweden, who would dictate or determine the content of your work?” I asked.

“What? That’s absurd! No one would dare dictate the content of one’s work or compromise their creativity!” she countered.

“Is that so?” I asked, “Aren’t they doing exactly that to the entire population by taking 80 percent-90 percent of their income?”

CHUCK PINKEY is a retired area businessman. He can be reached at The views expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect those of The Daily Star and its editorial board, but the author thinks they ought to.