NOTE: I wrote this as a “Short Imagined Monologue” and submitted it to McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, a great site that runs a column of such monologues. It didn’t fit their needs, so I’m sharing it here because I enjoyed writing it.
It’s written by me, if I were an eighth grader in 2015.
The child labor market is tough these days. Fewer newspapers exist for us to deliver their news, and those that do exist tend to use adults with cars. Why? I’m not sure.
Who would you feel better about tipping? The 32 year old living in his Ford Aerostar, or me, an eighth grader? Who is more likely to maintain his mode of transportation? My bike is much cheaper to fix, I can’t buy booze, and I don’t have child support to pay.
No matter. The slow bleed-out of the news industry has forced us kids to revert to the same intergenerational job cannibalism that John in his Aerostar is guilty of.
And that’s why I’m selling lemonade this summer. Not only am I selling lemonade, I’m going to do it legitimately — like paying my taxes legitimately. I’ve lawyered up and created LLCs in Delaware and in Ohio. Health code paperwork? Filed and approved. FUTA tax set aside? Already there. Business checking account as a minor co-created with my dad? Ready to transact.
With the minimum wage rising, the labor-force participation rate in the dumps, it’s hard for kids to get good work experience these days. And I intend to keep it that way. Unless you want to work for me.
Shaker Heights doesn’t have food trucks, but I’ve learned from their detente with the brick-and-mortar crowd. Public opinion and support is nice, but when it comes to the banhammer of local government, it’s far better to have the law on your side.
The food trucks, their war was planned with the army they wanted, not the one they had. They did not heed Rumsfeld, and they were under prepared for a dog fight. They paid for it dearly, relegated to a few city parks with no free reign. I don’t intend to make that same mistake.
Why all this fuss, you ask? Yes, you’re right when you say “you’re just a kid and it’s lemonade.” I hear you. But now, hear me. I am going to fucking corner this market and make an assload of cash. XBox Ones and Playstations don’t pay for themselves, even if your dad is a tax lawyer.
How do I plan to win? Government. I’ve watched House of Cards, I know how it works. I’m going to be Raymond Tusk with ruthlessness of Francis Fucking Underwood. Those evergreen local news stories about how police or regulators are stopping kids from doing kid-like things… You know, selling lemonade or shoveling snow? Expect more of them.
Sun Tzu put it this way: “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.”
Market research? Oh, I’ve done it. Everybody loves artisanal shit, however defined. And it can’t have gluten. Why waste money on lots of lemons when you can use Crystal Light? I add one slice of lemon to that and customers will be happy as a fucking clam and none the wiser. So, enjoy my gluten-free artisanal lemonade for $1 a glass.
That girl from the Verizon advertisement, Susie? She doesn’t exist, but she’s a fucking inspiration even though she got it all wrong. If Susie were to be believed, “the small business with the best technology rules.” That’s just another things my fellow millennials get wrong. Technology is fungible. Ask Elon Musk. I did.
We’ve gone from the gilded age to the government age, and I’m here to play the game. And I’m playing to win. Don’t think I’ll stop at lemonade. Snow removal comes next, and we’re going to re-take newspaper delivery for as long as newspapers exist.
Long term plans, you ask? Once I’ve achieved critical mass here in Ohio, I’m going to move my operations to New York to take advantage of their StartUpNY plan with no taxes. When that deal expires, I’m going to invert my company and take it to Ireland.
Barring no complications, I’ll be able to retire just as I graduate from THE Ohio State University, and John will still be living in a van. God bless America.
Jimmy Swift is an eighth grade student at St. Dominic’s School in Shaker Heights, Ohio.