2010.05.05 A chicken for your thoughts

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

The exchange of services known as bartering was a lot more common in days gone by. The downtown of every little community was lined with an array of stores that were owned by someone in town.

It was easy to make arrangements to bring a dozen eggs to a hardware store owner in exchange for a new saw. (Prices were quite different, too.)

You might build a garage in return for a car or a tractor. I don’t know a good exchange rate. I’m just making up some examples.

There’s still a lot of bartering going on and I presume it increases in difficult economic times like the present.

There’s a state senate candidate in Texas who talks of bartering as a simple way to control health care costs. This is Sue Lowden’s health care reform:

“I think that bartering is really good. Those doctors who you pay cash, you can barter, and that would get prices down in a hurry. And I would say go out, go ahead out and pay cash for whatever your medical needs are, and go ahead and barter with your doctor.”

She says that in the “olden days” before health care, our grandparents would bring a chicken to the doctor, noting that doctors are very sympathetic people.

I don’t know how well Louden thought this thing through. Sure, bring a chicken for an office visit. I actually went to the doctor recently trying to shake a lingering respiratory thing and I would have needed more than a chicken, unless my doctor was a very sympathetic person. A $65 chicken would have cut the deal.

Suppose I would have needed some blood work done. Now you’re talking about...what...$300 worth of chickens? And at this point I would no longer be dealing with the local doctor. Now I’m offering chickens to a large medical company. Maybe it would work. Perhaps they could use them in the hospital food service department.

When I reported this on the Observer website, I had to place it in the Gone Crazy category. So many people seem so very nuts these days. Sure, there’s more to bartering than chickens and the approach could help some people with some medical costs, but this isn’t health care reform. Are you crazy?

Before long, a person would need a very large chicken farm. Fortunately, the people at Buzzbomb.it created the Lowden Plan Medical Chicken Calculator so you can figure out just how many chickens are required for an honest exchange.

A visit to the emergency room? 257 chickens. A colonoscopy? 514 chickens. Every ob/gyn visit will run you 41 chickens, followed by the 2,166 chicken birth. Four times that for colon cancer.

The fine print on the calculator recommends bringing extra chickens for an office visit because prices vary among doctors. In addition, consider other livestock since not all physicians accept chickens.

Besides, for major surgery it’s going to be a lot easier to pay in head of cattle.

DELIVERY—Let’s change the conversation from the delivery of babies to the delivery of newspapers.

I received a few surprises this past winter when I heard from some Florida readers that their paper arrived the same week it was mailed. I can’t remember ever hearing that statement in past years.

Those were the surprises. I also heard the usual, that delivery took a week or more and occasionally two issues would arrive on the same day.

Now back to the surprises. I think Brent Heximer’s delivery set a record. He wrote over the weekend to let me know that his Dec. 9 edition finally arrived—nearly six months late.

Brent lives in the dangerous delivery land known as California. The worst stories always come from that state, although like Florida, some subscribers have surprisingly good delivery. Think about it, each issue of the paper has to somehow travel 2,281 miles to Brent’s home in Culver City. Google Maps provides instructions for reaching Brent’s house via bicycle. That adds 250 miles to the trip and would require nine days. This might provide a clue to the weekly delivery problem. The trip is also listed as a 30-day walk, but even that fails to explain the six-month delay.

Brent said his long-lost edition was “pretty grubby on the cover.” I looked back and sure enough, that was our annual Grubby Cover edition.

“I’m just excited to learn that Santa will be in Fayette on Saturday,” he said.

  • Homecoming Court
    HOMECOMING—One senior candidate will be chosen Morenci’s fall homecoming queen during half-time ceremonies Friday at the football field. In the back row are seniors Mikayla Price, who will be escorted by Mason Vaughn; Madison Bachman, escorted by Kiegan Merillat, and Mikayla Reinke, escorted by Griffin Grieder. Senior Ariana Roseman is absent from the photo. Her escort is Garrett Smith. In the front is sophomore Abbie White, who will be escorted by Ryder Price; junior Madysen Schmitz, escorted by Harley McCaskey and freshman Madison Keller, escorted by Jarett Cook.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks

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