Tuesday, December 15, 2020

A couple of "Kubota" stories


A few years ago, Kubota and I were in the truck. I was on Pinch Highway, just west of Otto Road.

I was driving east and was moving along at no more than a walking pace.

The Thornapple River was channelized and is directly north of Pinch Highway and about four...maybe six feet lower in elevation. Because of the proximity and the elevation difference, there is a right-smart slope down to the surface of the river.

"Dad, why are you driving so slow?" Kubota asked.

"I am looking for the best place to dispose of bodies" I responded.

Kubota assumed I was joking. "That is NOT funny!"

Using the same logic, I wonder how hard it would be to use a magnet to collect undocumented drill motors in rivers, canoes being more likely to capsize in some places than others.

The price of living

Recently, Kubota and I had a conversation regarding how much money he needed to make to have an independent life.

It was as if I was speaking Swahili.

He had never approached the subject of jobs, wages and hours/week from the standpoint of what he needed...how much is "enough" in this economy, in this zip-code.

The median, household income in our area is about $50k. Generally, two people in the household are working.

The median income sets the prices and expectations of a neighborhood. It strongly influences the rents and house prices. It puts a stake-in-the-ground regarding the kind of vehicles you will see parked in driveways.

Half of $50k is $25k. $25k divided by 52 weeks is about $500 a week.

So I informed Mr Kubota, "I think you need $500 a week, gross, to live the way you want."

"That is $12.50 an hour and 40 hours-a-week" I told him.

I got some mumbling in return. It sounded like "Nobody is hiring full-time."

I shook my head. "Then work two jobs or three jobs. At a minimum, you need 40 hours a week and just a skosh over minimum wage. They don't all have to be at the same job."

It had clearly never entered his head to use math to guide him through decisions.


  1. The most essential ingredient for a young person to get out on their own is a hunger to be productive. It is essential to their finding a way to support themselves.

    It is easiest to instill this in them when they are young and rightfully can enjoy the fruits of their labors. In this I am referring to before graduating high school.

    Even so, economic conditions as well as location can have a negative impact on the most motivated of your offspring. To the young person they do not see 'getting off on their own' as a positive and that is the first battle that must be won. Once the mindset is right, the rest will take care of itself.

  2. I agree with Glenda. Having a work ethic is the best thing.

    However, having said that, one of the best things that I had growing up was the ability to get a decent minimum wage job as a teen. (I also did my own work by mowing grass and later fixing TV sets for people, which paid a bit better than minimum wage.) The problem nowadays is that the communists want to cut off that opportunity by making the minimum wage a "living wage". The minimum wage is not supposed to be a living wage, it is a starting point for teens to get work experience and that all-important work ethic.

    Besides, if a business can't afford to hire a teenager, then the minimum wage always and everywhere is the same - zero.