The Rant 

A Florida man says that his son was taken advantage of by a Florida Panhandle strip joint. Seems the father gave his son his credit card to celebrate his graduation from Georgia Tech, and the boy ran up a $53,000 tab. This appears to be a case where the strippers were the ones who got a "happy ending."

I guess the young man, catapulted to an undergrad degree at the tender of age 24, did not learn the economics of real life in school — chief among them is to never give strippers a free shot at your credit card, no matter how drunk you are.

Much like their brethren the lawyers, strippers quickly size up a potential client for how much they can fleece from them, based on how much money they have and how stupid they appear to be.  

I have always supported honest entrepreneurs, especially when pitted against the stupid. It is good for society when money is not left too long in the hands of idiots. It is God's way of getting money into smarter folks' pockets. For the less religious among us, I call it economic Darwinism, and it often happens one crumpled $5 bill at a time. As the old saying goes, "A fool and his money are soon parted." In this case, a fool and his dad's money were soon partying.  

I do understand these men who spend silly amounts of money in strip clubs. I have had friends whose longest female relationships have lasted two table dances. Men go to these clubs to make themselves feel important because they are lacking in self-esteem or personal affirmation. They are paying for the illusion of being a big shot, and they convince themselves that these women actually think they are attractive. They usually get buyer's remorse when the stripper's cooing and ego-stroking ends, which invariably happens when the guy's money runs out. Who knew?

Surprisingly, the government, which likes to wet its beak in all vices, has yet to devise a way to muscle in on the strip-joint business. They've done better with our other bad habits. The feds pay farmers to grow tobacco, then tax cigarettes, and then push lawsuits against cigarette manufacturers. Governments are also into gambling big-time now, sponsoring their own state lotteries (akin to running numbers) and licensing casinos. And of course, there is booze, where government takes an inordinate cut via taxes on alcohol sales. It is best to view the government as a mob boss without the protection racket — or moral consistency. 

I don't go to strip clubs, but it's not because I have any ethical opposition to them. The average stripper is doing the best she can with the assets she has to make money and provide for her famiy. And I respect that — especially her assets. Basically, I don't go simply because I am too cheap.

As for the Georgia Tech grad, it sounds like he got a master's in finance that night — for $53,000! Welcome to the real world, son! Pain is an excellent teacher, and often, in a society that makes excuses for bad behavior, it can be the only teacher. Of course, ridicule helps, which is what I do. It is my way of giving back.

Experience is how we learn life's lessons. Experience delivers certain harsh truths to us Homo sapiens (and straight sapiens, too). This incident taught a young man the most valuable lesson in life: Don't be an idiot.

See, everyone has a role in our society, even strippers.

Ron Hart is a columnist and former resident of Memphis.


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