Monday, April 19, 2010

The Purvis-Ness club

Next time someone rings your bell or knocks on your door, be prepared.  There's a new club that has decided to "promote the general welfare" of the neighborhood, and this is the story of how the club got started.  You'll want your wallet.

They first decided among the five of them to pay $5/month dues so that they'd have some money to spend on the supplies they needed for their programs.  The first was to interview the neighbors about any recent thefts or vandalism, and for that, they needed some microcassettes.

In time, their membership grew and the money they collected at the beginning of each month was a sizeable sum.  As their income grew, so did their ambitions, and they were soon working on weather-hardened webcams in strategic locations around the neighborhood feeding video into their private surveillance system.  But there was a problem.  Some of the members had not paid dues for a few months, but they still showed up and still insisted on being heard when they had input to the future plans.  One of the issues on which they disagreed with everyone else was the formation of a dues squad.  This was a team of 5 members who would stay on the case of any member who failed to pay his dues on time.

One of their best ideas was the outreach group.  This was an extension of the original idea to interview residents of the neighborhood about recent crime.  The outreach team would knock on neighborhood doors to spread the word about what the club was doing and find out if the neighbors would like to help.  Many of the neighbors, after getting to see some of the positive results of the club's work, were happy to pitch in a few dollars or even sign up to provide a monthly donation and become honorary members.

The trouble started when the outreach group and the dues squad started cooperating.  In time, everyone in the neighborhood was badgered into providing some money every month.

Whether the knock on your door from someone who will eventually force you to provide their club with some of your money against your will comes from the IRS or a wiseguy, you hopefully now have an idea how it all got started, and perhaps you have an idea of how it might have gone wrong, and what we ought to be teaching our children.