In introduction to economics courses, one learns about
guns or butter,
or the inevitable trade-off facing every nation as it chooses its expenditures. Spending more here means spending less there. The same thing applies even more for households, most of which can neither print currency nor borrow endlessly from the Communist Chinese. There, however, the metaphor changes, of course, to
rice or beans,
or some such.
Or, then again, does it? I don’t know how plentiful illegally-possessed butter is, but as crimes both happening and, most likely, about to get a whole lot worse, unregistered handguns have become the expenditure of choice in many households today. I say
a whole lot worse
because while butter may melt or raise your cholesterol level, guns, like tempers, have a way of being displayed, going off, and sometimes even killing someone.
I’m speaking now almost exclusively of our nation’s
culture, which is completely alien to me and to everyone I know, but which requires, through destitution and desperation, its adherents to wear their pants on the ground and their piece on their person. The point, as ever, is that they have no choice. Butter? Ha! No, for them, as ever, it’s
guns or guns.
The only thing is, I keep seeing in the sports pages the same, sad, cautionary tale, repeated unheedingly by yet another multi-million-dollar professional athlete who, having attained undreamed-of success, throws it away just for the desperate need he has to be near his beloved: a gun. Call it
cash or carry.
From the Feb. 3-9, 2010 issue.