Friday, January 20, 2012

Occupy Cato Jr.

This is my friend, Cato Trenchard, Jr. As you may have already gathered from the picture, he's a bit down on his luck. On top of everything, he's in debt up to his ears. 

Cato and his lovely wife, Sidney, have three children, Gordon and Thomas (the "twins") and Algernon, the eldest. The twins are in elementary school and Algernon is a junior in high school with an interest in quantum computing, a wicked talent for mathematics, and a popular blog devoted to The Art of Speed Tweeting. 

Cato's having a bad day. A day he's had for 6 months, 3 weeks, and 2 days straight. Cato lost his job and instead of confiding in his wife and working as a team, our buddy Cato decided to take it upon himself and work the problem. He's taking charge. 


Cato began spending his days at the library utilizing their business center in search of new employment.


At first, it seemed as if there were millions of jobs out there on the Internet, only, the closer he looked, the more he realized that his family might notice being uprooted to Alaska.


Cato took one look at the list of so-called savvy tech skills. He wasn't exactly what you would call a card-carrying member of the Geek Squad. In fact, just the opposite.  His 7-year old son, Gordon, had to program his iPhone for him, which, I might add, Cato can barely work. 


Cato realized he needed to brush up on his resume writing and began the long, painstaking process of documenting his professional life. 


As the books told him to do, Cato assessed his strengths and weaknesses, and listed out his skills and major accomplishments and why someone would want to hire him.



Slowly, Cato began writing about his feelings on the projects he had completed during his career. Big mistake, Cato, didn't you know, we don't teach our citizens to think! Simply wait here while we design an app for you to apply on line. 


You know, Cato, we laid out the laws dictating our land hundreds of years ago, while we amend them on occasion, we only truly honor them when people fork over loads of cash to attorneys that protect the system we allow to be used against us in a court of law. 

Cato told me that he read that government is the biggest identity thief in the world. "Yep, that's right, a world class identity thief," he said.  "Don't like it? That's okay, we're always welcome to protest with the other schmoes. Don't forget to take along a protective face mask." 


*Please note, Cato has just informed me that these masks only provide minimum protection against mace and tear gas. You see, Cato just read a book on tear gas exposure and said that the best defense against tear gas is a gas mask. 

Cato recommends these helpful hints for dealing with tear gas: 


1. If planning on attending a protest that could potentially turn into a riot (or be perceived as one by the Oakland police), beforehand, soak a bandana or paper towel in lemon juice or cider vinegar and store it in a plastic baggie. If in the presence of tear gas, you can breath through the acidified cloth for several minutes, which might give you enough time to break free of the panicked crowd and get to higher ground. From here, you'll have an advantage point whereby you can use your Point and Click camera to capture the scene and post it on YouTube. Here, you will become an instant Internet legend and someone will offer you a job (that is what you think, right Cato?) ;D

2. Steampunk Goggles are very cool and provide some nice protection for the eyes, which you'll need to clearly see your way out of the riot toward said higher ground whereby you'll embark upon your new career in film. 


3. For you kids who took swim lessons out there, grab a pair of your (or your kids') swim goggles. The tight-fitting ones work best. 

4. If you wear contact lenses, take them out and break out your old glasses. The first reason, is that people rarely hit other people who are wearing glasses. The second reason is that your eyes will burn like crazy if you don't. If you are exposed to tear gas, remove your contact lenses immediately. 

*The Ad is in Swedish. 
**The copy says that Medocular has saved more than 10,000 people from sight problems. 


Why am I telling you this story? 

It's because Cato did something very important today. He sat down and opened a book that bore his name, Cato's Letters by Trenchard and Gordon. At the time, Cato just wanted to feel important for a moment and having your name on the cover of a book, despite whether or not you wrote it, does feel better than sifting through the morning bills. 


"On November 5, 1720, the London Journal, launched a series of letters under the pseudonym "Cato" in honor of Cato the Younger (95 - 46 B.C.), the implacable opponent of Julius Caesar whose unswerving dedication to republican principles and liberty won him immense admiration in the 18th century. 

Warning: If you plan to read Plato's treatise on the immortality of the soul and are presently being opposed by Caesarian forces, and anywhere near the city to Utica, make certain your dwelling is free of sharp objects. 


The Cato Letters attacked the government on a wide range of issues, which, over the course of three years the letters were to appear, dealt with almost every aspect of political theory and practice then regarded as pertinent to contemporary British life. The letters were written with such vigor and eloquence that they soon made the London Journal the nation's most influential paper and a particularly vexatious irritant to the administration. The immediate occasion of the letters was the bursting of the South Sea Bubble, which had precipitated a financial crisis of huge proportions earlier that year. The authors of the letters, John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon, had taken the position, shared by the more radical Whigs and soon borne out by the evidence, that the crisis was due in large part to the machinations of the officers of the South Sea Company, who had connived with members of the government and the royal court to bilk the public, even at the cost of triggering a financial debate. 


That's strange, Cato thought, sounds oddly familiar. Could it be that Locke was right, that we do derive our liberty directly from our nature as human beings? Twelve of the 138 letters here are devoted solely to the South Sea Company financial debacle and the dangers inherent in such financial enterprises. 



All of a sudden, Cato felt an American Zen moment coming on....


Cato decided to sit for a spell and read the Cato Letters. As I left Cato reading in the broken down, cushy armchair provided by the public library, I heard him say that Cato Jr. would someday have his day in court. 


The Case of Cato Jr. 
vs. 
The United States Federal Government






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