Three accountants and three teachers arranged to travel together to a conference they all wanted to attend. At the train station each accountant bought his own ticket and then watched as the three educators purchased only one ticket between them.
”How are three people going to travel on only one ticket?” asked one of the accountants.
“Watch and you’ll see,” answered one of the teachers. They got on the train and the accountants took their seats while all the teachers crammed into a restroom and closed the door behind them. When the conductor came around he knocked on the restroom door and said, “Ticket, please.” The door opened just a crack and a single arm emerged with a ticket in hand and the satisfied conductor took it and moved on. The accountants agreed this was quite a clever idea so after the conference they decided to save some money and copy the ploy. When they got to the station, they bought a single ticket for the return trip but to their astonishment their travelling companions didn’t buy any tickets at all. ”How are you going to travel without a ticket?” they asked. ”Watch and you’ll see.” When they boarded the train the three accountants crammed into a restroom and the three teachers squeezed into another one nearby. Shortly afterward the train departed one teacher slipped out of his restroom and walked over to the one where the accountants were hiding. Then he knocked on the door and said:
Generally speaking, I’m not a big fan of accountants; that’s why I decided to start this week’s column with that joke.
You see when I read through this year’s budget speech I felt an urge to say nice things about Botswana’s finance minister and the way the government looks after the country’s long term financial security, but I didn’t feel comfortable doing that without taking a poke at the moneymen first.
What I really like about O.K. Matambo’s proposals is that they, in theory at least, set up the government as a good example for how ordinary citizens should conduct their financial affairs.
“We are demonstrating that Government has the discipline to limit its expenditure and therefore the budget deficits… We are committed to doing more with less and proving that we can live within our means.”
Basically, what he is saying is that there are two ways to balance the books. You can bring in more money to cover your spending habits or you can bring those habits in line with how much money is available; and it is really good to see that the government is planning ahead and looking to build up our recently depleted reserves so we will once again be in a good position to deal with future world economic crises.
Okay, I’m not going into specifics here but all the same that’s good stuff. Very different from ‘do as I say, not as I do’ policies such as the death sentence where there is one set of rules for what the public can do and another for the government.
Yeah, that’s about right; a backhanded compliment to the finance department without being kind to politicians in general. Continuing in that vain…
One day a florist went to a barber for a haircut. After the cut he asked about his bill and the barber told him, “I cannot accept money from you, I’m doing community service this week.”
The florist was pleased and left the shop. When the barber went to open his shop the next morning he found a thank you card and a dozen roses waiting for him at his door.
Later a policeman came in for a haircut and when he tried to pay the barber again said, “I cannot accept money from you I’m doing community service this week.” The cop was happy and left the shop. The next morning when the barber opened up he found another thank you card and a dozen donuts.
Then a member of parliament came in for a haircut, and when he went to pay his bill, the barber informed him, “I can not accept money from you. I’m doing community service this week.”
The Member of Parliament was very happy and left the shop. The next morning when the barber opened up he found a dozen MPs waiting for free haircuts.