The Free Ride

I am not sure how much of my life has been a free ride. It is not a subject that I go much into, though I am sure that there are people who would wish me to do so, and to feel guilty for it. Not going to happen – I have real things to feel guilty for and I reserve my remorse for them.

But back to the freebie. Was my childhood a free existence? Well, I got fed, clothed, housed, and educated for free. And well, I might add. Part of it was my parents’ doing, part of it was state or provincial government. I guess you could say it was ultimately all upon my parents and their tax dollars. And I started to paid it back 30 years later with the birth of my daughter.

I got to live in a free democracy, and that was likely the parents and grandparents again – through their selection of a good place to live and vigorous defence of it. And now we live in Australia and it is also a good and free place.

I got a free car when I was 18, but this was also a free car I paid for with high school work and abstinence from guns, drugs, girls, alcohol, and all other cars until that point. Then I was adjudged sufficiently stable to be trusted with a four-cylinder Renault. The car lasted me 7 years and was sold away when I got married. It did not survive the second owner’s poor driving skills, but my marriage is still going strong 45 years later. I regret selling the car but would not exchange it for the wife…

Note: the wife sold her new MGB at the same time to go overseas with me. We BOTH regret not putting it up on blocks and waiting until we came back from England in less than a year…

My daughter also got a free car from me when she was 18, and it served her well for 20 years. It is parked as a blockship in the car port of my studio.

Free employment? Not a bit of it. I bought every bit of equipment for my surgery – and had to pay cash for it as I was a new practitioner. I used it for over 30 years and got value  – some of my old student gear is in my hobby workshop organising tools and making scale models. I’m STILL getting value from a clinical cabinet bought in 1968!

Free house? well, actually yes – two of them. Our family had enough money for my parents to build their own little dream home and hand the old one they owned to me and the wife. Then that little dream home passed to me with their passing and became The Little Studio. It will go to my daughter, along with the family home we built in the 80’s. I think this is only right – I’m certainly getting my fun out of it all.

Free car now? Hah. Nothing about a car is free anymore. The best that can be done is to choose something that is the least size and cost that will actually accomplish what you need to do and then keep the running costs down. Driving at or under the speed limit is a good start.

Free food? Well, we could grow our own, except we don’t want to. But we have certainly discovered that you can eat cheaper at home than out at the restaurants. By a factor of 5x to 10x.

Free electricity? The roof is covered in panels and I daresay they do throw back electricity to the grid that is taken off our consumption, but it seems to have been an encouragement to leave lights and fans on and I think it all works out even in the end.

Free water? Free sewage removal? Free rates? You might as well ask for Free Willy.

 

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