Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Forty acres and a mule: the remix

Hey Dad, I was just kidding... really! What do me and the Farm Manager want with a place that has five effing bathrooms?... not to mention that the Farm Manager claims everyone of them is in need of an update.

Not that I would have noticed.

But seriously... five bathrooms? We're at a place where we're looking to scale back, not scale up. The last "Junior" is filling out his on-line university applications as I write these words. A year from now every dog and cat at Falling Downs will have a room of her own. (And they are all "hers" now that I think of it.)

No, we're kinda keen on a one bed one bath deal. Otherwise we'd be getting dangerously close to that ordeal I was once forced to endure when the mother of a couple of those "Juniors" hired in a cleaning lady. This was concurrent with her demand that I take time off from running my imaginary real-estate empire to "help out" at home after the arrival of our second child.

That imaginary empire was hemoraging ten thousand all-too-real dollars a month at the time, but I was supposed to sit on the couch and watch a baby sleep. I felt rather strongly that this was not a positive use of my time, given that things were rapidly careening towards bankruptcy court, but WTF, in this corner you've got reality, and in that corner you've got a nagging wife... and in the middle I'm sitting on the fucking sofa and lifting up my feet so the cleaning lady can vacuum?

But I digress.

Forty acres and a mule. Apparently I appropriated that meme inappropriately the other day, according to folks who have spent too much time in the too-bright sunshine of Political Correctitude.

Sorry. Didn't intend that. I didn't even realize the extent to which "forty acres and a mule" had morphed from broken promise to "meme" over the last 150 years. Hell, I'm not even sure what a meme is...

So, duly chastised, I read around a bit. I think I basically got it right. Wave that meme around and you're talking about broken promises.

Found out some interesting facts.

Did you know that in 1910 African-Americans owned 15 million acres of farmland in the US? Not from some government program, but from buying it on the open market.

And did you know that today African-Americans own half that amount, even though there are four times as many African-Americans today as there were in 1910?

And did you know that after all that big talk during the Civil War years about African-Americans getting the land they'd worked as slaves, in the end, virtually all of it was handed back to the white plantation owners by the victorious Union side?

Yup... that fight to end slavery didn't really end all that well for the former slaves.

The lucky ones became "wage labour."

Which brings me back to that cleaning lady. She was "wage labour" too. And by employing her, that made me what?...

I'm not sure, but as a general rule, I like to think I can clean up after myself.

On the other hand, in the early years after my folks got off the boat at Pier 21, my dear mother worked as a cleaning lady. They were getting a start in the new world, and they needed the money.

Thank God for the toffs and wankers too precious to clean up after themselves!

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