A wise old gentleman retired and he bought a modest home near a junior high school. He spent the first few weeks of his retirement in a peaceful and silent place. Then a new school year began. The very next afternoon, everything changed. Three young boys, who were full of joy after they left the school, walked down the gentleman’s street. They were beating almost on every trashcan they met. They did the same thing every other day. The wise old man got an idea and decided to do something about it.
The next afternoon, he went out on the street to meet the young boys. He stopped them and said,
“You kids are a lot of fun. You know, I used to do the same thing when I was your age. Will you do me a favour? I’ll give you each a dollar if you‘ll promise to come here every day and do this.”
The kids were so happy to hear this and continued to beat the trashcans.
After a few days, the old man greeted the kids again. But this time he had a sad smile on his face.
“This recession is a bit harsh on me,” he told them. “From now on, I’ll only be able to pay you 50 cents to beat on the cans.”
The noisemakers weren’t happy about it, but they accepted his offer and continued their job. A few days later, the old man met them again when they were drumming on the street.
“Look,” he said, “I haven’t received my Social Security check yet. So I’m not going to be able to give you more than 25 cents. Will that be okay?”
“Only 25 cents?” one of the boys exclaimed. “If you think we’re going to waste our time, and beat these cans around for 25 cents, you’re silly! No way. We quit!”
And the old man enjoyed peace and calm around his house for the rest of his days.