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Tuesday, March 9, 1999

The Things We've Handed Down

by (Mike Knight)

Tonight as I read the Fool, my two-year-old son Jackson is sleeping on my spare bed in our extra bedroom where I have my computer. He likes to fall asleep looking at Pooh or Wishbone or Goodnight Moon while I read the Fool and check my portfolio. I am listening to Marc Cohn's "The Rainy Season" CD while I check the numbers of the day. The last song on this CD is a track called "The Things We've Handed Down."

The song is about a man (or woman) dreaming about what his unborn child will be like and what parts of him will be handed down -- both good and bad. I certainly know the things my parents handed down to me, and thankfully I can say most of them I like. My father and mother brought our family out of the gutter and broke a long cycle of abuse and alcoholism. They have worked themselves to the bone attempting to break the chains of poverty that have haunted my family for generations. My father was the first in our family to ever get a college education (supported by my mother working at Howard Johnson's as a waitress). His example led to his three children all going to college and getting good middle-class jobs.

He handed down to us the need for an education and a work-your-butt-off work ethic. He (and my mother) brought us out of the green stamp line and into the middle class.

I am going to take our family to the next level, all thanks to the Fool. Starting this year I am investing $2,000 for my son and then $40 dollars a week thereafter. He will be a Fool from the beginning and will end up a very wealthy man. He won't have to scrub dishes in some all-night cafe or work third shift at the local roller-bearing factory. He won't have to eat PB&J for a week straight while in college and he won't have to spend four years humping a ruck sack all over Fort Bragg to earn his college tuition like his ol' man did.

Nope, my son is going to the next level. The thing I am handing down is a life in Foolishness, free from the chains of poverty and a life of just getting by. I will end this Fribble by encouraging all of you fellow Fools to do the same for your children, or nieces, or nephews, or whomever. Hey, my son is going to need some fellow Fools to hang out with in Paris!


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