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Written by Lee Pitts   

Cowboy’s revenge (best of)

Uncle Sam sat fidgeting in the lobby of the Cattleman’s Bank. Finally the receptionist announced, “Mr. Loan A. Ranger will see you now.”

Uncle Sam walked timidly into the mahogany paneled office. With his cowboy boots perched on the desk, the president of the Cattleman’s Bank drew on his cigar and motioned for Sam to sit down in a small, stiff backed, uncomfortable chair.

“I’ve come to see you about our operating loan,” said U.S. “If I don’t get the money I’ll have to shut down the government. Frankly I am at the end of my rope. You can’t leave us hanging.”

“How can you be overdrawn again?” asked the cowboy banker in disbelief. “Haven’t I lectured you for hours-on-end about this in the past?”

“Yes sir, you did, but you don’t have any idea what I’ve been through.”

“Oh yes I do. About 17 trillion dollars, that’s all,” replied the Loan A. Ranger as he reached for the financial statement of Uncle Sam’s operation. The accumulated past due notes were as thick as a huge book, and he turned to Chapter Eleven. “Last year alone I see you went over a trillion dollars in debt,” said the banker. “Do you have any concept of how much a trillion dollars is, and how many cows that would buy?”

“I had to borrow the money to buy new machinery. They don’t give those drones away you know. Besides you told me that it was a good time to expand. You gave me a toaster for every account I opened. Don’t you remember? You said I looked good on paper.”

“Yes, but our depositors want cash. Times are not that great for them either you know?” said the Loan A. Ranger, taking another puff on his cigar. “You shouldn’t have expanded like that. And you’ve set no money aside for the future.”

“But I swear, it wasn’t my fault,” said U.S., squirming uncomfortably in his seat. “We’ve had huge medical bills, we’ve got more kids in college, we’re supporting our old folks, and it’s hard to keep up with the Chinese with them growing like they are.”

“Yeah, they were in here to see me yesterday. I turned them down, too.”

“But you can’t blame US. We just got a little behind.”

“You call trillions of dollars ‘a little,’” roared the cattleman banker. “Your system of checks and balances looks like too many checks and no balance to me.”

“But Mr. Banker, sir, with all due respect, these have been difficult times for the U.S. operation. I have had to support a larger family. We have more dependents with more people to feed, and the kids needed shoes for school. Please Mr. Loan A. Ranger,” said Uncle Sam as he got down on his knees, “I plead with you. We’ve been together a long time. Can’t you just carry me a little while until times get better?”

“Do you have the money to pay your debts or don’t you?” roared the cowboy banker. “If you have the money, I can loan you some more, but if you are broke, I want everything you’ve got. Don’t you remember, this is how it was when the boot was on the other foot?”

“I can print more money and pay you the interest,” replied Uncle Sam, “but it is the principle I’m having a little trouble with.”

“Your interests no longer interest me. It’s the principle of the matter I’m talking about,” said the bank president over the top of his glasses. “You are just going to have to learn to live within your means. You owe us over a trillion dollars, and we are going to have to sell off some of your assets. I see you have millions of acres on the books. We have no choice but to take your land and your home, although I don’t think we’ll get much for Washington, D.C.

“Quite frankly, you should be ashamed of yourself. And quit blubbering and begging like a little baby. It’s unbecoming and you’ll ruin the silk carpet. Don’t you think it’s about time you grew up and accepted some responsibility?”

Holyoke Enterprise February 7, 2013