WEBCommentary Guest

Author: Larry Simoneaux
Date:  March 22, 2009

Topic category:  Other/General

Mudrock on bonuses.

I’d seen the news and had just about gagged. It was the story about some of the “best and brightest” at AIG getting $165 million dollars in bonuses for having, basically, run the company into the ground. Anyway, I couldn’t get my arms around that one and, with anger rising fast, I knew there was only one person I could turn to for a rational outlook on the matter.

I found Mudrock, my personal muse, hunched over the front bumper of his ’68 Mustang.

“What the heck are you doing now, Mudrock?”

“Mountin’ up a set of coupla-million-candlepower aircraft landing lights is what I’m doin’.”

“Good grief. Why are you putting them on your Mustang?”

“Blue-white lights.”

“Blue-white lights?”

“You gettin’ hard a hearin’ too Lar, or can’t you follow a simple sentence anymore?”

Mudrock’s never had much patience with anyone who couldn’t immediately understand whatever thread of logic (for lack of a better term) he was trying to present.

“I heard you, but I still don’t understand why you’re mounting those lights.”

“Ever been drivin’ at night an’ had one of them cars with the blue-white lights come at you from the other way?”


“Ever think that it was just a bit irritatin’?”

“As a matter of fact.”

“Well, I done had enough, an’ I’m gonna do some table turnin’ on ‘em.”

“Ever consider that when you blind them, they might just run smack into you?”

“Some things that need doin’ always carry a bit of risk. Figure, though, that they might jus’ take the hint an’ get some normal headlights installed instead of drivin’ aroun’ botherin’ the heck out of ever’one else on the road.”

I thought that his idea might be just the other side of legal, but I had to admit it did have a certain rugged attractiveness to it.

“Mudrock, I didn’t come here to find out how to get people to change headlights. I wanted to ask you about the bonuses AIG paid to a bunch of their people.”

“Them fools went on an’ did that?”

“The word was that the contract was ironclad and couldn’t be broken.”

“Good grief, that ain’t nothin’ more’n political double talk to duck the blame - ‘specially since I’d bet it’s gonna come out that there’s more than a couple of our elected poohbahs who’re right smack in the middle of this whole goat rope. Still, there ain’t no contract that had to be broken. In fact, there’s a way we could’ve had ‘em beggin’ to give that money back.”

“And how would that have been?”

“Lar, who owns the biggest piece of that company now.”

“I heard the government has an 80 percent stake in it.”

“Which means that you an’ I an’ a whole lot of others like us own it. So what they ought to have done was go ahead an’give out them bonuses, but, by the Almighty, do it at a public meetin’ that we - the owners of that company - were sure as shootin’ goin’ to have.”


“An’ at that meetin’, we’d have invited about 200 people who’d jus’ lost all of their retirement savin’s - and maybe been fired to boot - to be there jus’ to congratulate the bigwigs on their great an’ good fortune.”

“Uh, that meeting would’ve gotten ugly fast.”

“No foolin’, Lar. I see you still got that acute sense of the obvious I always said you had. Anyways, facin’ that crowd, my guess is that by the time they’d have got to the third bonusee, he’d have been turnin’ it down and the first two would’ve been askin’ if they could give theirs back too.”

“Think they would’ve learned a lesson?”

“Doubt it, Lar. You have to keep after folks like that, but I bet it would’ve been fun watchin’ ‘em squirm a bit.”

“You know, it might have worked.”

“No doubt in my mind. Oh, an’ if you think this is the last of the money that we gonna see go down the tubes, you’d best be wakin’ up an’ smellin’ the coffee. Most politicians couldn’t organize a one-car funeral let alone anythin’ the size of these bailouts. Too, you’d best remember that money’s been disappearin’ whenever politicians are aroun’ it since about the time Moses was in short pants an’ that ain’t gonna change, no matter who’s in charge or what he says.”


“Right. Now, how ‘bout you stand in front of my car an’ tell me what you see when I hit this here switch.”

Larry Simoneaux

Biography - Larry Simoneaux

Larry Simoneaux is a regular columnist for The Everett Herald in Washington state. He is a retired ship driver for the US Navy and NOAA.

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