This comes just in time for us, for we are taking our first cruise this summer. We have talked about going on a cruise for years but have dragged our feet on booking it, her because she starts feeling queasy just looking at a postcard of the ocean, and me because I have a morbid fear of being stuck with a few thousand people I can't stand for longer than the length of a standard sporting event or concert.
But we bit the bullet and bought our tickets for a trip up Alaska's Inside Passage a couple of weeks ago. No sooner had the charges been confirmed than my girl said to me "What if there's a bunch of Kansas welfare recipients on the ship?"
I was aghast. "I hadn't thought of that," I admitted. "That could ruin our entire trip. Who could enjoy orcas splashing and glaciers glaciating with a bunch of welfare people standing alongside of them?"
"They'll probably just stay inside and watch TV, like they usually do at home instead of looking for work," she said, sounding only half convinced.
"I don't know about that. At the very least they'll send their filthy children out to the Jacuzzis to soak the grime off them instead of giving them a proper bath. And I'm sure they'll eat all the Hot Pockets and Pop Tarts off the buffet."
"Let's just cancel the whole thing."
"They won't give us all our money back. Let's try to be optimistic. As far as I can tell, very few cruise ships dock in Kansas in the first place. Ours, for example, leaves from Seattle."
"I assume you've seen The Grapes of Wrath?" she said grimly. "They can get there."
"Yes, but can they really afford to leave Kansas, once they've bought their monthly necessities, like candy bars and lottery tickets?"
She had done her homework. "A family of three that collects welfare in Kansas gets up to $429 a month."
"Really? Four hundred twenty-nine US dollars? Every single month?" I sighed resignedly. "I know if I was experiencing that kind of sudden cash windfall, nothing would keep me from splurging it all on a luxury cruise where I could mingle with real, hard-working Americans and revel in the fact that the state was paying me to binge-eat and drink and stomp along the streets of quaint Alaskan villages with them. Unless of course, the wise men and women of the Kansas State Legislature had the foresight to ban it."
"I doubt that's going to happen," she said.
But then it did. Our vacation is saved! Thank you, Kansas!