“Hey Ed how’s it going””
“Not so hot Jill, but I guess you can see that for yourself.”
“Sorry,” Jill replied with concern. “I wasn’t going to mention it but you do look pretty motley Ed. Seeing you now reminds of the time you got caught in that rockslide a few years ago. You look pretty hungry too—your ribs are showing.”
“Yeah, Jill, I’m missing a few chunks.” Ed regarded himself sadly. “Even the end of my tail is missing and I doubt that will ever grow back. They worked me over pretty good, I don’t mind saying.”
“What!? Who worked you over? What happened Ed?”
“Well, I was trying to catch rabbits at Red Gulch when a group of the Federal Coyote Police caught me before I even got any. They found I didn’t have a rabbit permit and said they were going to teach me a lesson—I guess they did. Nowadays it’s illegal for a coyote to catch rabbits without purchasing a rabbit permit first.”
“That’s nonsense Ed. I catch rabbits the next valley over and I don’t have a permit—and not just any rabbits, mind you, but plump, tender cottontails. What does a coyote do, if not catch rabbits Ed? It’s what we’re about—our ‘raison d’etre,’ if you don’t mind my saying so.”
“Don’t worry Jill, the Feds will get around to you soon enough. Mark my words.” Ed sadly replied.
“Well why don’t you just get a rabbit permit then?”
“It’s not so simple Jill. You need rabbits to buy a rabbit permit, but you can catch rabbits without one. So here I sit, unemployed.” Ed sighed.
‘Unemployed! How can a coyote be unemployed? We either catch rabbits or we starve. If you’re self-employed, you cannot be unemployed. It’s that simple—it always has been. So you’re ‘unemployed’ just like Ned over there. I haven’t seen him catch a rabbit in ages, but he’s all plump and glossy.”
“Well, Jill, I’m not exactly like Ned. I don’t have his connections to the government and I don’t have his mind. Ned gets a weekly allotment of rabbits from the Feds because he’s performing very valuable R&D that benefits all of us coyotes. Thank goodness for Ned.”
“Research and Development Jill. Ned gets ideas that are supposed to help all of us other coyotes be more productive in catching rabbits, even though I’ve never seen him catch a rabbit himself. It’s important and valuable stuff he supposedly comes up with. He says we need more coyotes performing government research. In fact, his thinking time is so important that the government now officially counts as part of our economy’s total production of final goods per year. That’s what they call Gross Coyote Product or GCP and Ned’s thinking, alone, actually makes our total value of coyote production larger. I only wish I had his brain.” Ed sighed again, sadly.
“What! Are you for real? This is the biggest crock of you-know-what I’ve ever heard. It’s a scam Ed. If Ned’s R&D, or whatever you call it, is so valuable, then let him prove it the old-fashioned way—by catching more rabbits himself. That’s how new or better ideas should be rewarded. If there is such a thing as “total coyote production,” it should be measured by summing up how many rabbits we catch in total. It should not be measured by adding up rabbits and ideas. What nonsense!”
“You just don’t get it Jill. Ned told me you’re a barbarian, not a progressive. It’s very important for the government to be able to measure the size of our total output in order to know what level of coyote services to provide for all our benefit and how many rabbits to tax and borrow from us in order to finance those services. Ned says we are lucky to have a coyote government working so diligently to protect the general welfare of all of us. According to Ned, whatever rabbits we give to them, it’s far less than they deserve.”
“And that’s not all, according to Ned, the coyote government has way underestimated the value of our total production or GCP because it has also failed to include qualitative improvements in output. Products get better over time as new technology or thinking is embedded in them. Ned says that’s important because a bigger economy means government borrowing and taxation can be increased to provide yet more government services for all of us. I just wish I could get some.”
Jill was shaking her head incredulously as she listened to this. “Qualitative improvement? How can that be? The only output we coyotes produce that matters is rabbits, and a rabbit is still a rabbit! What nonsense! Have you seen any ‘qualitative improvement’ in the rabbits you eat? I haven’t.”
“I wouldn’t know, Jill. It has been such a long time since I have eaten a rabbit, I probably wouldn’t be able to tell.”
Jill looked at him sadly. “Poor Ed. You really have had a tough time haven’t you? What have you been eating to survive?”
“Well at night I started sneaking into the organic farm and scarfing down quinoa, radicchio, edame and acai berries. I guess I’ve gotten pretty brazen because I’m so hungry—Now, I just eat in broad daylight right in front of the humans that run it. They’re OK. Since they don’t have guns, they just shout and run around beating pans. I ignore them. I don’t need a permit to eat this stuff because the coyote government doesn’t tax or regulate it. That’s why more coyotes, like me, are becoming vegan.”
Jill looked at him blankly. “Quinoa, acai berries, vegan…?” She echoed.
“Yeah, at least I’m getting my anti-oxidants. Ned says it’s just as well for me because a vegan diet is healthier anyway. Still, I can’t help noticing he still eats only rabbits, himself.”
“Ned only says that because he’s part of it! Government services! Listen to yourself! What are you talking about Ed? We’re coyotes! The main thing we need is to be able to catch and eat rabbits—and not have them taken away from us by other coyotes who are regulating, taxing, controlling or ‘thinking’ for us. We should eat meat not vegan. We can rely on ourselves, Ed. What we need is freedom—not some coyote clique or cabal that has just cleverly positioned itself to steal production from the rest of us. It’s the same old story wrapped up in new clothing. Government working hard to serve the ‘public interest’—the ‘greater good’. What blather! At rock bottom, a coyote is still either just catching rabbits or stealing them, no matter how elaborate or dressed up the explanation. Can’t you see that?”
“I don’t know Jill. I’ll admit all this stuff just my head spinning. I don’t have Ned’s mind and apparently I don’t have yours either. The only thing I know for sure is that I’m still hungry. Sometimes I just wish that I could get away from all these regulations, rabbit licenses, taxation, and measurement of coyote production. Wasn’t it better in the old days when we just caught rabbits, ate them at our leisure, let the sun warm our backs as we rested with full bellies, and enjoyed life? It seems like whenever we get too concerned with measuring stuff, especially somebody else’s stuff, bad things happen.”
“That’s better. Now you’re sounding more like the old Ed. There’s hope for you yet.”
“Seriously, Jill, is there still some place we could go and live like that? Like we used to?”
“Well, my cousin Toby says that it’s still possible to live like that in Wyoming.”
“Let’s go to Wyoming.”