BARTERING MY SKILLS
Project 365 wants to know what skills I have that could help me survive a barter economy. They threaten to disclose my findings at wepostdaily.wordpress.com
This got me thinking, what skills do I have?
I am addicted to reading and daydreaming, but these aren’t skills, at least not saleable or barterable ones. I also talk far more than is good for my neighbors’ sanity, but this, if it could be construed a skill, is a negative one. Unless, of course, it can be turned into a money spinner, by making others pay me to shut up. But they could also decide to beat me up to shut me up. That wouldn’t be too good a way of earning my livelihood. I am no ninety pound weakling who gets sand kicked in the face till he buys a bullworker, but they could still gang up on me. What else can I do?
Oh yes! I have another skill, which is met with mixed reception. I can make people laugh. Those I laugh with, enjoy it. Those I laugh at, don’t. In fact they resent it. Even get downright abusive, if not violent, at times. And laughter usually has a target, which everyone enjoys, with the exception of the target. This is a skill I could make a living out of, although it will be fraught with danger. I could be a sort of standup comic in the barter world. But the danger would be that, unlike today, where you pay cash in advance and laugh while being insulted or yawn when bored or hearing the same ancient cracks for the nth time, in the barter world I would be paid for in produce. Some of it will be fairly large, like, say, watermelons or jackfruit. And some would be hard, like potatoes and eggs. And disapproval at quality, vintage, taste or target of jokes could be expressed by delivering these with speed dispatch and force, by hurling them at me. That, although legally would construe payment, might be rather uncomfortable.
I could of course be the King’s Jester, or Vidushak, who is protected against such missiles, but he is not immune to the Kings wrath. And that causes far more harm than flying tomatoes; it could make you six inches shorter from the top.
I do have another skill, but with a restricted market. I can tell stories that children are riveted by. But the spell breaks as they reach their teens. And I can’t hold adults with my storytelling skills, as my blog’s readership establishes so cruelly and absolutely. So troubadour or Bhat are out. Maybe I could make a living entertaining little children? This would be an uncertain living at best, given the fickle nature of my clientele.
Then it struck me! The perfect job for my skills and temperament! Moreover, it was ideally suited to a barter economy. It’s the guy no one minds, everyone makes allowances for, laughs at, and along with, indulges, feeds, treats as a lucky charm, leaves children with, not expect any productive work or even chores from, not consider for any post, job or matrimony, and no one bears him any ill will. In fact it is considered unlucky to harm him. His utterances are often taken as oracles. He is allowed to utter unpalatable truths, even those concerning powerful people, and remain unmolested. On the contrary, it is appreciated. The Fool speaks the truth, people say, and laugh. He must be the brightest guy in the village, perpetually playing the fool, insulting people with impunity, flirting with the maidens without fear of commitment, not having to toil for a precarious living, but being fed and cared for by the community as a whole.
It is the Village Idiot. I have finally found the ideal vocation for a man of my talents in the barter economy. And if you don’t believe me, ask the admins of this site, whose combined patience help me post these stories.