, Gloucester, MA

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October 10, 2012

Letter: A question of providing 'free lunches'

To the Editor:

Let’s present a play called “The Free Lunch,” starring a 10-year-old boy and his loving father.

Act 1

A 10-year-old boy looks at his father and says, “Dad, let’s go to Andy’s Restaurant, I heard they were giving away free lunches.”

Dad, sensing a teaching moment, wraps his arm around his son’s shoulder, looks in his eyes, takes a deep breath and says, “Son, this is a perfect time for one of our talks.

“I am going to tell you something that my father told me when I was just about your age, and it has served me well over the years and you need to remember it so someday you can tell your son: There is no such thing as a free lunch.

“Think about it: Farmers have to plant the seeds, grow the food, and harvest the food. The farmer sells the food to someone who sells it to Andy. Trucks driven by truck drivers deliver the food. They deserve to be paid. Son, old Andy cannot stay in business by giving away free food. Now although it may seem like a free lunch, someone has to pay for it. So you understand, son, there really is no such thing as a free lunch.”

The enlightened son says, “Wow, Dad, I never thought of it that way. You have to be the smartest dad in the whole world.”

Act 2

The son looks up at his father and says, “So, Dad, who are you voting for President: Barack Obama or Mitt Romney?”

Dad: “Barack Obama.”

Son: “Why?”

Dad: “Because he will give us free healthcare, free education, and other free stuff.”

The son flashes back to the lesson he thought he learned in Act 1, his face twitches, and his eyes blink quickly but not at the same time. However, respecting the wisdom of his father he says, “Ok, Dad, I totally get it. You’re so smart.”

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