Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Pedro for President! 

by NA
No, not that Pedro.

I live in a smallish building on the Upper West Side -- five families, 6 floors and a basement. Each of us lives on a separate floor, but we all share some common areas in the building, like any other condo. We have a small garden out front. We take turns taking the trash to the curb; we take turns shoveling the walk. We all pitch in to tend the garden and clean up common areas. 'Tis a harmony of the highest order, 4th Nephi-style.

Or so it should be. Some of us are more lazy than others, which means every once in a while, the snow doesn't get shovelled or the trash builds up. When there are only a few families, and we all take turns, a particular family's failure to contribute becomes extremely obvious. We all come from very different backgrounds, so some of us have never performed this type of manual labor before, while others had several crappy jobs through high school that their mother got for them that made them do all kinds of junk like this for the worst pay imaginable and you had to work with total coke fiends.

Anyhoo... enter Pedro. One of the families knows a super from down the street, named Pedro. For $150 a month, Pedro has offered to shovel our walks, take out the trash and periodically clean up our sidewalks. Pedro does a very fine job at his other building, and has enough spare time to work on ours, too. $150/month, $30 per family, seems a reasonable amount. But I have a weird aversion to hiring Pedro to do these tasks for me. I'm worried that it will fragment the culture of our building, making us rely on others to do work which is rightly our own, while causing each of us to participate a little less towards the common good. This all seems to cut against the grain of my pioneer blood and the spirit of the mormon work ethic. Isn't it good for me, in some way, to get out there and shovel my own walk? What are the effects of hiring people to do our work?

Pedro would be a good President. We have a contract with Pedro to perform services, and he fulfills these tasks gladly as promised. We have him work for the collective good, and in exchange we each work a little less. Pedro is the central government executive branch, performing our work in exchange for our money. We all participate a little less, and pay a little more, but the tasks get done more efficiently and we live worry-free. Pedro is Big Government. Vote for Pedro!
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