Sunday, February 11, 2007

Grasshopper Charlie

A few weeks ago I wrote that the Grasshopper and the Ant fable was hooey. I know too many people who do everything right yet get crushed. Ants. I also know a few people who break rules and laws, yet thrive.
Grasshopper Charlie, a relative, is one such fellow. He has more balls than a pachinko parlor. Charlie doesn't bother with such trifle as "laws", "honesty," or "other people's feelings." That's Ant stuff.
I first learned of his mischief when he lost the house he shared with his wife and kids thanks to gambling binges. Of course it wasn't his fault, he said, because he was an addict. He straightened out, got religion, and even wrangled a new home for his family.
It an act. He'd found new suckers to leech money from and was gambling (and partying) on the sly. When his wife caught him, he said it wasn't his fault. In fact, it was her fault, he said, because she was a nagging, annoying wife (whom no one else would want) who drove him to it. She bought it.
A few incidents later she barred him from her checking account. He called her, from work (so he claimed) begging to have access again. He truly needed just a little bit to save his business, he claimed. She agreed, telling him to go easy, as she needed most of it to pay their daughters school tuition.
Guess who couldn't pay for her daughter's tuition that month? Charlie drained the account. What's worse, he spent it at a strip club. When caught, Charlie shrugged and said it he was "entertaining clients." She threw him out.
My brother and I figured he'd scheme his way back to her. Perhaps he'd feign religion again. We joked that he'd probably come to the door dressed as a minister to enhance his credibility.
He showed up at her door clutching a bible the size of a phone book. A thick gold cross hung from his neck. He'd gotten religion for real this time, he claimed. She bought it.
After a few more rounds of getting booted from the household and crawling back, Charlie picked up a new hobby: DUI collecting. It's not his fault, he explains, it's his mean nasty awful wife (whom no one else would want) who drove him to it.
At least he's getting caught! I thought. One thing that steams me about Grasshoppers is their ability not to get caught. At last, one would pay.
Or will he? I hear he hired a lawyer to who specializes in getting people out of DUI charges. If the scheme works, Charlie won't be punished, nor will he have it on his records. In a way, he's buying himself out of trouble. Amazing. His lawyer must be a Grasshopper too. What kind of guy earns a living by making sure repeat drunk drivers stay on the streets? How many Ants will get killed thanks to him? Scary stuff.

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