How Much Did the 12 Days of Christmas Set You Back?
My daughter, Tax Write-Off the First, had a class assignment to estimate the total cost of buying all of the presents listed in the song, The Twelve Days of Christmas. It started out well, but turned into a fire-hazardous parent-fail before we made it to the five golden rings.
CHILD: What’s a partridge-in-a-pear-tree?
ME: Those are two different things. One’s a bird and the other one is, well, a tree.
CHILD: I’m just putting down fifty cents. (determined scribbling sounds) How much do French hens cost?
ME: Were they free range and humanely killed?
CHILD: I guess so.
ME: Then I wouldn’t know. We can only afford chickens that smothered to death on the fumes of their own poop within the confines of the tiny crate they spent their entire lives in.
CHILD: (eye rolling) I’m guessing a dollar each. I don’t think you know what a calling bird is, so I’ll ask my friend’s mom for that one. How much do gold rings cost these days?
ME: We can’t afford real chicken and you think I know about the street value of gold rings? Okay, but first you have to determine if they are stolen or not.
CHILD: Is Dad busy right now?
ME: Very. What comes after the five golden rings again?
CHILD: Well, the six geese-a-laying and the seven swans-a-swimming are still poultry answers, so I’ll come back to those. What about eight maids-a-milking and nine ladies-dancing?
ME: Hmm, those are tough. You’re getting into minimum wage and labor law issues here. Are the dairy girls in a union?
CHILD: I don’t think so.
ME: That makes it easier. But all the rest of the items on this Christmas wish list involve humans. Unless you plan to get involved in actually purchasing the lords-a-leaping on the black market, you’re going to have to pay these people, either hourly or by the day. And this is Alabama, so you’re going to have to factor in the cost of paying off the cops to look the other way on the new immigration law.
ME: And are they freelance pipers-piping? Remember, any of these people who happen to be performers of any kind you might have to pay the industry standard charged by the artists’ guild.
CHILD: Can you just write me a note saying I lost my homework like you did when I had to paint that solar system project?
ME: Hey, don’t take that tone with me. You know why the solar system project didn’t work out. It’s not my fault that your teacher doesn’t know about Pluto.