Theory of Achievement

So Rick Perry, President Barack Obama and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad walk into a bar…  It’s not a joke; it’s a scenario we imagined as a real possibility as all three were descending upon Manhattan this week.  (As long as they stay away from Miss Lily’s. It’s already crowded enough.)

We like to call this scenario “fantasy bar fight.” It’s probably fair to say that many New Yorkers aren’t too happy with any of them to varying degrees, and not just because the resulting security chaos means it takes four weeks to get across midtown in a taxi instead of the usual three.

We’ve examined the President’s new job plan, and subsequently have been attempting to make lemonade from lemons, but retailing homemade beverages to make money is far more complicated than it was when we were 10.  (The permits alone! And turns out our lemonade stand isn’t OSHA compliant.)  But maybe it’s for the best. If we were too good at the whole money-making thing, we’d just be taxed into oblivion—at least according to Bill O’Reilly, who expressed concern this week that any federal tax increases would effectively “tax achievement.” “Let’s take me,” he said, redefining achievement in his own charming way. “If Barack Obama begins taxing me more than 50 percent, which is very possible, I don’t know how much longer I’m going to do this.”

Which actually makes us root for a tax increase a teeny tiny bit. (Is that a promise?)

We’re sure Mr. O’Reilly believes he’s doing god’s work, if a little less literally than Michele Bachmann or, depending on which god we’re talking about, Mr. Ahmadinejad.  But it’s a little unclear what constitutes god’s work these days. According to a Baylor University study, one in five Americans believe God controls the economy, which is not exactly the sort of career we had in mind for Him. (“They say the invisible hand of the free market is really God at work,”  sociologist Paul Froese and co-author of the Baylor survey told USA Today.) If so, God’s invisible hand has been about as steady as Eli Manning’s earlier this week in the season opener at MetLife Stadium. But the Giants managed to pull off a win, which is more than we can say for God, looking at those unemployment numbers.  Maybe He’s just concerned about those high taxation rates that come with achievement.

In any event, we’re looking forward to the exodus of our early fall visitors.  We all have work to do—underachievement milestones to hit, illegal lemonade stands to run and the like. Or maybe we’ll scrap it all and go to Miss Lily’s.