Monday, April 5, 2010


The best things in life are not free.  In fact, nothing is.

Love, for example.  Most of us know a happy, continuing relationship isn't all taking.

Or mulch from Boxerwood Gardens or a local dump site where you can get loads of the crumbled leaves and chipped wood sanitation workers retrieved from curbs and sidewalks.  Even if an attendant will fill your pickup, you have to show up and then unload it yourself.

The air we breathe?  If you live in a place like Los Angeles or Peking, you know it isn't free.  The rest of us, deep inside, suspect it may not be.

A sip of water from a public fountain?  Even if it's "pure," a little bit of your tax money or the dollars you spent at the host probably helped pay for it.

A movie at a local university, a walk in the woods, a bicycle ride?  Besides the getting there, all of these things require a trade-off -- you could have done something else with your time (a/k/a "opportunity cost").

"There ain't no such thing as a free lunch" or "TANSTAAFL," as a basic economic principle, has been around a long time.  According to Wikipedia, the phrase appeared back in the 1930s and 1940s.

Many of us parents hinder our children's education on this principle.

"They discover it," says Virginia.  "Don't worry, be happy."

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