Once upon a time there was a little village in southern Louisiana. It had forty families. Ten families owned the ten stores in town. Twenty families worked in the stores. Some saved their money and some didn’t. There were forty places to live in town. Fifteen families lived in houses that they owned or had mortgages on. Fifteen families rented in an apartment complex, and ten families lived in government housing and sat around all day doing nothing.
One day the government dam upstream broke and flooded the whole town. Just in the nick of time all the families managed to escape to the storm shelter at the edge of town. All of the houses and apartments survived the flood except the government housing, which had been built by a cost plus contractor who was friends with the local congressman.
It just so happened that Nanzi Pelosi was in the area making ice cream commercials at the time of the flood and she too had escaped to the shelter with her ice cream refrigerator. As the flood began to subside everyone looked out the window and saw that all the living places had survived except the public housing.
“We need some food,” one person said.
“There are only enough sandwiches for 30 families,” another said.
“I have bread and ham and cheese in my frig on the second floor of my house. I could wade over there and make more sandwiches,” said a third.
“I don’t think that would be wise,” Nanzi said, “there could be alligators and snakes and who knows what kind of viruses and bacteria in the water. I’m the government here, so I say you can’t go until it is safe. But if it would make you feel better, I have 10 ice creams inside this ice cream refrigerator, and you can vote to decide which one I will eat first.”
Everyone stared at each other. Nanzi’s smile tried to drop from her face, but her face wouldn’t move. She struggled a moment, then said, smiling, “I’m from the government and I have a solution. I have with me forty blank government checks. I’ll write a check for $1,000 to each family and then you all can buy food!”
Everyone stared at each other. Finally, a child said, “It doesn’t matter how much money you give us, there still will only be 30 lunches and there are 40 families.”
“How about I eat strawberry?” Nanzi smiled, opening the door of her frig.
Finally an adult spoke up, “We really need to get out and work. We need to clear away the rubble. We need to make enough lunches. We need to harvest the rice which was not destroyed. We need to build apartments for those that got destroyed. Some of us might get bitten, and some of us may get sick, but it’s the only way we’ll be able to take care for ourselves.”
“No!!” Nanzi said, “You must stay here and be safe.”
But they didn’t.
“Mango???” Nanzi yelled out through the door as the villagers waded toward the village.