The Sidewalk Option.
All residences in the city are required by law to have a public sidewalk. Unless you want to opt out, in which case you can do whatever you want in front of your house. Keep your pitbull there, or have a firing range, or your local tea party group meetings. But if you choose not to have a public sidewalk, you’re not allowed to use anyone else’s public sidewalk. And your dog can’t use anyone else’s tree lawn, and your kid will have to walk to school in the middle of the street. But if you don’t have any kids, what the hell difference does it make? Why should you have to pay for a sidewalk so other people’s kids can walk to school?
The Water and Sewer Option.
All businesses and residences are required to be hooked in to the public water and sewer system, and to pay a fee based upon the amount of their water usage. Or you can opt out. Water falls for free out of the sky. Connect rain barrels to all your downspouts. Put up a windmill to pump the water up to a storage tank on top of your roof. Or go fill up some buckets at the lake and haul them home. But, you will need to purify the water yourself. It’s easy! Just set a 40-gallon pot on top of your stove each morning until it comes to a boil for five minutes. Skim off the scum and its ready to use. Also, go in your yard and dig a big hole (minimum 15 feet deep) and build an outhouse on top of it. When it gets full, spread the nutritious man-made manure on your garden. Wait until you see your neighbors’ expressions of gratitude when you offer them some of your freshly dug potato crop.
The Public Nuisance Option.
It is the option of any citizen to make him or herself a public nuisance. Play Britney Spears at top volume until not only your parents but also your next-door neighbors are pounding on your bedroom wall and screaming at you to turn it down. Telephone your boss threatening to come in with your swine-flu infested children, unless he agrees to either give you some bonus sick days or move your desk to at least as nice a spot as his weeping fig plant. Leave your half-emptied shopping cart barricading the express checkout lane while you run out to the parking lot to see if you left the 50 cents off coupon for Bran Flakes in the glove compartment.
The Library Option.
All homeowners in the city are required to pay a tax to support the public library. Or you can opt out, and use the free market to buy your own books, music, DVDs, computers, research materials, and nice little ladies to read picture books to the kids. Who needs all that crap anyway if you’ve already got cable TV and AM radio? Why should you have to pay for a bunch of “free-thinking” freeloaders to have a place to read about how people descended from monkeys, while they listen to satanic music and sneak peeks at Internet porn?
The Air Option.
It is optional to breathe the air. If the air smells good, breathe freely and enjoy it. If it stinks, hold your breath. Anyway, you should be happy if the air stinks. Stinky air means that factories are open and your neighbors are working. What’s the matter with you people? Do you want to breathe, or do you want to work? Make up your minds, already.
The Dollar Option.
The dollar is legal tender for all debts, public and private. It says so right there next to George Washington’s wig. But maybe beans are better. Next time you go to the store, ask for your change in beans. I prefer pinto beans, but kidney or navy are good, too. Save your beans in a jar next to your stove. When it’s full, you can make a nice pot of chili. Or just start issuing your own currency: “In Bob We Trust.” Take your picture with a digital camera, maybe slap a cartoon on the back and print up a big batch with the free laser printer that came with your computer. The current national debt is almost $12 trillion. That’s over $38,000 per person. But if you just opt out of the whole international monetary system and start doing all your business using beans, or “Bob” bucks, you can leave all that behind.
The Public Art Option.
Private art is used by individuals in their own homes to engender wonder and the miracle of creation, or at least to match the curtains. Public art, on the other hand, is generally used to enrich the mayor’s brother-in-law. The best public art is usually too large to ever move, and so solid that vandals can’t even make a dent in it. An artist displaying his privates in public will find it difficult to make a living, except in a few Scandinavian countries. However, many private bankers and financiers who have openly displayed their backsides to the public have been rewarded with billions in bailout money and bonuses.