Alvin rattled the newspaper, and we, Jabo, Leroy, and I, knew he was about to express his displeasure at something.

“The government keeps tellin us poor fools that the economy is bad, real bad, and that things gonna get worse before they get better. Somebody in the government is lying,” he announced.

I took the bait. “What makes you think the government lying, Alvin.”

“You wanta know what makes me think that, well, I’ll tell you. If the economy is so bad, how is it the NBA teams can pay players, some of them guys sure ain’t worth the money they get, anyway, how can they pay them millions of dollars, huh, answer me that.” Alvin leaned back in the barber chair in his usual self-satisfied fashion.

“I know where you comin from Alvin,” said Leroy. “I betcha those guys don’t have no trouble paying for gas for those big cars they drive.”

Jabo, not be outdone, added his ten cents worth. “You know what I don’t like? I don’t like it when a guy asks for a million dollars more than the team offers and say he needs it to take care of his family. I mean, come on, he can’t take care of his family on the five million he already getting.”

“Well,” I said, trying to bring some sense to the conversation, “they can afford to pay the players a lotta money because they get money from television and fans who attend the games. You guys got remember, the players are making a living playing ball. It’s their job.”

“Man, it’s not just ballplayers who don’t seem to have no problem with the economy,” said Alvin. “Look at the money Obama is raisin supposedly from us little people. What I’m sayin is the money is out there cause somebody is still gettin rich. It just ain’t us poor people.”

“You got that right,” said Leroy. “Why just the other day, I paid a dollar and 98 cents a pound for tomatoes. And I don’t know if they the bad kind the government has been warnin us bout.”

“Yeah, those of us on pension can’t afford the high prices, man. Everythin goin up, you know what I’m sayin.” Jabo reminded us.

“Jabo, your pension, all of our pensions, come from the government.” I reminded them.

Alvin sat up in the barber chair. “Then the government oughta give us raises cause we show can’t live on what we gettin if gas go up to five dollars.”

“You don’t trust the government, but you want the government to give you more money. You jive turkeys are crazy with the heat and think you living right.” This time I got in the last word.



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