A shrewd senior citizen had just retired and bought a house down the road from a middle school. He moved into the home in June, so the first few weeks of his retirement were spent in peace, as school was out of session for the summer.
When classes began in August, he awoke from his afternoon nap on the first day of school by three young boys romping down his street. Expelling their pent up energy from the day, the three boys hooped, hollered and beat on every trashcan or mailbox they came across.
The cacophonous parade continued day in and day out, and finally the gentleman could not stand it any more, so he came up with a plan. When he heard the boys begin their procession down the street, he walked out to his front porch to meet them when they arrived in front of his home. Waving them over, he said, “Wow, you guys are really having a blast aren’t you? It’s great to hear kids express their enthusiasm and musical gifts. In fact, I enjoy it so much, I’ll give each of you a dollar every day if you promise to continue.” The boys were ecstatic. They agreed with eagerness and continued their noisy after school ritual.
A few days and dollars later, the retiree came out on his porch to pay the boys, but this time, he conveyed some bad news. “This recession is really hitting me hard boys,” he said to the middle-schoolers. “I’ll have to cut your daily rate in half, but I’d still like you to continue playing.” The boys weren’t happy, but they agreed to accept 50 cents each per day instead.
Again, a few days later, the older gentleman greeted the kids once more. “Sorry guys, I haven’t received my Social Security chick yet, so I can only give you 25 cents now. Is that alright?” The boys were heartily annoyed. “A lousy quarter?” the ringleader pronounced. “No way! We’re not going to waste our time for only 25 cents. We quit! Come on guys,” he said, and the trio stomped off the front porch and quietly walked down the street.
The old man turned around, smiled wryly to himself, and enjoyed peace and quiet through the duration of his retirement.