John Hardin / @ 7:25 a.m. / Op-Ed

HARDIN: Dime Bag Day 2016!


Lemonade Day is coming up this Saturday June 4th. Have you heard of Lemonade Day? Lemonade Day was designed to teach kids about capitalism and running their own business by encouraging them open a lemonade stand. They’ve had Lemonade Day in the northern part of the county for a few years now, but our 2nd District County Supervisor Estelle Fennell introduced me to a woman named Lynette who told me that they received a $3,000 grant to help get Lemonade Day off the ground in Southern Humboldt.

How about that! I never made anything like $3,000 from all of my childhood lemonade stands put together. Maybe we should have Grant Writing Day instead. Certainly more people around here make their living by working for non-profits than do by selling lemonade.

Then Brian Elie told me a story of an inspiring young entrepreneur. I don’t know his name, and I’m sure I wouldn’t use it if I did, but Brian showed me a picture of a rather pissed-off looking young man, about 20 years old, with a shaved head wearing a white, wife-beater T-shirt. I didn’t recognize the kid in the picture.

“He hit me!” Brian exclaimed, and proceeded to tell me about this young go-getter. One day recently, as Brian approached his office, behind the bagel shop in Garberville, he noticed this young man involved in what appeared to be a drug transaction, behind his office. Brian said he yelled at the kid: “Hey, don’t do that around here!” to which the kid replied “Fuck You Asshole!” Then, Brian said he saw a cell phone laying on the ground. He picked it up. That’s when the kid attacked Brian physically, and slugged him. I guess it was the kid’s phone.

The cops eventually caught the kid, and sent Brian the photo to see if Brian recognized his assailant. He did. Brian said that all of the text messages on the phone were notes like “I ned n 8th.” Can you believe it? That kid was hustling nickel bags of weed in Garberville! That’s like selling bottled water to a drowning man. “What a spunky young businessman.” I thought.

Then I thought to myself, “Where would this community be without thousands of energetic, self-motivated young men, just like the one Brian told me about, who work so tirelessly, all across this country, to sell the product for which Humboldt County is so well known?

I’ll bet a good percentage of Humboldt County’s successful businessmen began their career as one of those young men. It must take an enormous army of resourceful, motivated young street dealers to insure that every Jr. High and High School student in America has access to Humboldt County’s most famous export. Yes, this community owes its prosperity to the hard work, determination and can-do spirit of young entrepreneurs just like the kid who punched Brian Elie in the face, outside of his office.

All over this country, every day, nice people like Brian get cursed at, punched and worse, by the wonderful people who work so hard to make this community prosperous. Talk about aggressive marketing! As the price of cannabis continues to fall, marketing will only become more important. That’s why, here in Southern Humboldt, we need to rethink Lemonade Day.

The Lemonade Stand is cliche and passe. Nobody around here makes money on lemonade, but more than 500 families in SoHum have made more than a million dollars each, thanks to an army of drug-dealing street thugs just like that enterprising young man who slugged Brian Elie. You can find them operating in every single town in America.

Besides destroying communities and terrorizing neighborhoods, every year, an alarming number of this tremendously successful marketing team die violent deaths well before their time. More still find themselves incarcerated, serving long, work-related, prison sentences. I cannot stress how important it is to the economy of Humboldt County that children growing up today learn the skills they need to fill those empty shoes. That’s why I encourage all of you to join me in making this Saturday June 4, the first official Dime Bag Day in Southern Humboldt.

Here’s how it works: If you grow weed, you can sponsor a child on Dime Bag Day by fronting them an ounce of pot. The child then takes the marijuana home, splits it up into quarter, and eighth-of-an-ounce bags, and decides how much to charge for them. By doing this, children learn about math and fractions, weights and measures, materials costs and profit margins. Then on Saturday, June 4th, all of the kids come to town and try to sell their weed. Anyone can participate, and we encourage everyone to come out and support the kids.

This Saturday, on Dime Bag Day, if a kid comes up to you and offers to sell you some weed, say “Yes, Please.” Even if you have plenty of weed, or don’t smoke weed at all, buy some weed from a kid on the street on Dime Bag Day. We want these kids to have a positive experience, and for this early success to bolster their confidence. Just give them your money, and try not to haggle too much about the price. Don’t make them bust a cap on your ass.

This is a great opportunity to teach kids about business and how the economy really works, so get the whole family involved in SoHum’s first Dime Bag Day. Your kids will learn the value of a dollar, gain valuable business experience, and get a taste of the exciting fast-paced life of a street dealer. They’ll also give those Lemonade Day sucka’s something to spend their hard-earned money on.

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John Hardin writes at Like You’ve Got Something Better to Do.


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