According to a study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a family with a child born after the year 2000 can expect to spend about a quarter-million dollars to raise that child to the age of 18; which is apparently the age at which this study believes all children become constitutionally prohibited from asking their parents for money.
Although the study included expenses such as housing, healthcare and doctor visit co-pays, stock in Banquet Chicken Nuggets and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese as well as the gallons of gasoline necessary to drive a child to hundreds of play dates and sports camps/competitions it failed to consider the annual financial strain suffered from 1) Impulse purchases of 70%-Off Spiderman paraphernalia at Target 2) A near intervention-level addiction to Mini-Golf 3) Vending Machine Gumballs at Hollywood Video 4) Plastic garage sale dinosaurs 5) Gifts for the dozens of birthday parties that children are invited to over the course of the year and 6) How any and all loose change in my pocket going jing-a-ling-a-ling winds up in Jack’s and Adam’s piggy banks.
Like most parents, Kathleen and I have found it necessary to supplement our income in a variety of ways. Kathleen, for instance, picks up hours at a friend’s dry cleaner while I most recently have served as both a Geography Tutor for the Miss Teen USA representative from North Carolina and as The Jerry Lewis Telethon’s principal script writer and sensitivity coach.
Last month though we realized that we were depleting the coffers faster than we were replenishing them and together we decided that to ensure the opulent quality of life to which we had grown accustomed (23 inch cable-ready color Television, paying bills on time, jumbo eggs, plastic garage sale dinosaurs) we would have to partake in acts of a somewhat illicit nature. We’re not proud of what we are doing, but when it comes to Jack and Adam there is no sacrifice we won’t make.
Since making that fateful decision to operate above the law, every Friday we load a 27 foot Winnebago painted to look like Celine Dion’s Tour Bus with thousands of black market Disney DVDs and plush characters manufactured locally in an abandoned warehouse by seasonal migrant apple crop workers. Once loaded up we make the 7-HR drive to Ottawa, Canada to rendezvous with our contact who then delivers the cargo to local toy stores to be sold as copyright infringing trademark violating Canadian-Branded Disney products. Currently the ten top demanded items we’re delivering on our next trip are:
1. Winnipeg the Pooh and Winnipeglet
2. Lightning McQuébec (from Le Cars)
3. Mickey Mousaskatchewan
4. Mike Ottawasowski (From Edmontonsters Inc)
5. Manitobaloo the Bear (Le Jungle Book )
6. Torontoy Story Une and Deux (DVD )
7. Montréaladdin (DVD)
8. Chicanada Little (DVD)
9. Pinocchiontario (DVD)
10. Albertarzan (DVD)
The Celine Dion Tour Bus has thus far proven to be a perfect subterfuge going through customs at the border; as usually they just wave us right through. If we are stopped I normally announce in a berating tone that Ms. Dion is Canada’s National Treasure and how dare a lowly customs agent presume to think it is acceptable for him to question her integrity let alone disturb her while she is resting.
We realize we’re risking Felony International Trafficking Charges punishable by 2-5 years in a U.N. Detention Center, a $500,000 fine and season tickets to the Toronto Blue Jays, but with both Jack and Adam’s birthdays coming up in October and the Stock Market wreaking havoc on our juice box futures we simple can’t afford to stop.
Paolo just called to tell me that I’m needed at the warehouse to review the final edits on “Finding Nemontréal”.; believe it or not we actually got Alex Trebek to do the voice of Nemontréal’s father. Now, since none of our high-quality black market knock-offs are currently available stateside our Ottawan contact Jean-Luc, beginning this week, will put some of the items up for bid on Canada’s version of eBay called eB,eh? As a special offer to the readers of this blog though, if you send me a request by the end of the week, I’ll mail you an advance copy of 101 Canadalmations before it is released next month.