by Mel Griffith
Recently one of the school system supervisors presented a plan to the board for collecting bad checks written for cafeteria meals. An outside agency would pay the school system in full for all bad checks and assume all work of collecting them and risk of not being able to collect them, all at no cost to the school system. Their income would come from imposing a $30.00 fee on the bad check writers. This plan appealed to me because it would relieve our employees of a bothersome task at no cost. It did not appeal to other board members who feared that people who wrote bad checks would be harassed by the collection company.
I am aware that most of us write a bad check accidentally from time to time because we have a mistake in the checkbook. We don't need to be harassed in order to pay up, we just correct the problem when it is called to our attention. I don't consider it harassment to be asked to pay what you owe. The only folks who would get harassed would be the deadbeats who have developed bad check writing into a finely tuned stalling tactic. The story is usually the same. First the check bounces. When that fact is called to the deadbeat's attention, the explanation is "the bank has my account messed up, I'll get it fixed." Then they keep explaining that the bank can't seem to get things corrected. Of course the bank never gets their account corrected, because the only thing wrong with it was that there was no money in it, something that the bad check artist probably knew in the first place.
For some strange reason my perfectly reasonable position on this question aroused the ire of the Bradley Weekly's new editor. He gave me almost a full page of free publicity, which will be great help in building name recognition for my forthcoming campaign for the County Commission. It appears that the editor thinks we have a Christian duty to accept bad checks and not try to collect them. I am not sure of his scripture text for this idea. He is concerned that some people are too poor to write good checks. As usual, he missed all the important points, the first being that if you don't have money to pay a bill, writing a bad check for it still won't pay it. It just causes folks a lot of extra trouble. Second, the truly poor get free lunches, so have no reason to write checks, good or bad to the school cafeteria. Not being from around here, Mr. Graham may not know that.
The Weekly editor, Barry Graham, noted that I had been farming for the last 30 years (actually, I have been in agriculture all my life, except for military service) and wondered if I had ever actually done any real work. Of course not. Everybody knows that farmers just sit around and collect money while crops and livestock raise themselves without any effort. In fact, if Mr. Graham ever gets tired of working hard and wants to take it easy. I recommend that he take up farming. A dairy or chicken farm ought to be about right. That way, when he got bored counting all the easy money rolling in, he could watch the livestock. If you do take up farming Barry, be sure to wear a good hat. We wouldn't want your brain damaged by the sun. You might need it some day so we ought to preserve it in its present condition.
By the way Barry, since you are so concerned about everyone being a good Christian, where do you go to church? And since you obviously know more than local people with doctorates, where did you earn your advanced degrees? I hope you will be able to provide this information soon because frankly, Barry, a lot of folks are starting to think of you as an ignorant, narrow-minded, hypercritical smart alec who doesn't know much about anything and we need some good solid information so we can help you overcome that image.
In case I should decide to run some ads for my campaign in the Weekly, will it be OK if I pay for them with a bad check?