Capitalism, being the official state religion of these United States, seeps into our lives whether we want it to or not. It doesn’t matter if you prostrate yourself before the altar of the Almighty Dollar or run screaming from it, the need for money always seems to catch up to us. If you think too long and hard about that, it gets a little insidious, so I try not to. Nevertheless, with a budding 10-year-old capitalist in the house, I am being forced to face my fears.
Let me be clear: My daughter is not a mini-Trump. She has, however, lately been struck by the realization that money makes much, if not all, of the world go ’round. This lightning bolt has, in turn, sparked something inside her fizzing cerebral cortex. I knew something was up when she started to gleefully toss the word moolah around. Her first gambit was to lobby for an allowance (the negotiations are ongoing). Not too surprising. But she’s taken it a step further and begun canvassing our neighborhood for odd jobs. Those are the exact words, in fact, that she used on the flyer she left on doorsteps up and down the street. The name of her newborn enterprise: Nola’s Odd Jobs. The jobs she’s offering to do: “watering plants, picking up mail/newspapers (while people are away), pet care/feeding (while people are away), taking out/bringing in garbage/recycling cans.” Would you believe she’s already got a client on the hook?
When I was her age, I had to be practically forced at gunpoint to hunt for gainful employment. Oh, I mowed my share of lawns, shoveled miles of driveways, and shouldered enough gargantuan leather golf bags to acquire a permanent hump. But given the choice, I would have much rather stayed in front of the TV watching M*A*S*H reruns than hit the pavement to offer my services to the world. Seeing Nola venturing out fills me with a feeling both bitter (Argh! The quest for money has begun already?) and sweet (You go, girl!).
When my wife called to tell me that someone had responded to one of Nola’s flyers, I could tell she was pleased but ever so slightly verklempt. She wants her to stay a kid and keep the drudgery of the real world at bay for as long as possible. Me, too.