Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Conversation between Chip the Geek and Joe the Plumber

I met Joe the Plumber!

I was standing in line to vote on election day, sort of minding my own business, contemplating a country where the president actually was a rational thinker who relied on empirical knowledge and logic to make important decisions…instead of a superstitious ideologue with a testosterone problem and lo and behold, Joe the Plumber was standing right behind me in line. Not one to shirk the opportunity to speak to a celebrity I introduced myself to Joe and made the snap decision to identify myself in the lexicon that he has grown used to.

“Hi Joe, I am Chip the Geek and I must say I admire the body of work that you have brought to the country in such a short period of time”.

“Thanks Dude…hey what kind of geek are you anyway?”

“I am a computer geek…the worse kind….however I am not big on playing computer games.”

“Not even Grand Theft Auto?”


“Dude, you really are a geek”

“Yep…but can I ask you some questions about the plumbing business, because I really would like to make $250K a year, and it sounds like you have got that whole thing wired”.

“Yep…I’ve still got a way to go to get to the magic 250…but I’ve got a plan and I don’t want some friggin’ politician screwing it up for me”

“So Joe, it’s kind of hard to make that kind of money by yourself unless you charge customers a lot per hour” Joe nodded in the affirmative. “I mean jeez…how many hours do you have to work a week to get to that number?”

“Dude, I ain’t working no more than 30 hours a week…you can only turn so many valves in a given week.”

Being the geek that I am, I immediately start doing the math on my Casio Calculator Watch. “So let’s see, 30 hours a week times 52 weeks in a year”.

“Dude, I take a week for Thanksgiving and two for Christmas, and one for Speedweek”.


“Yeah, you know…in Daytona Beach.”


“So let’s see, 52 weeks minus 4 equals 48 times 30 hours a week equals 1538 hours a year”.

“Dude that is a lot of hours”

“Word. Anyway, we divide $250k by those hours and your hourly rate is roughly $165.00 an hour. Jeez, that’s good money to unclog a toilet!” (bad joke)

“Wow…that is good money…do plumbers make that?”

“I don’t know…you are the plumber”

“Oh yeah…well now you see why I am so concerned about the top tax rates.”

“I gotta say Joe, I thought the whole deal about you was sort of overblown, but I see how you could be making that money at some point. However, as I say this to you I am already thinking about some problems with the model”.

“The model…we are talking about plumbing”.

“Oh yeah..sorry, us geeks talk about things like business models and shorten them to “the model.”


“So for the model to work you would have to instantly move from job to job and not have an hour here and an hour there for transportation and paperwork”.

“Right you are Dude... I guess out of an 8 hour day we can actually bill about 4 hours.”

“So I guess what your saying is that you would have to charge more like $330 an hour to get to $250K.”

“That’s right ….now you see why Obama is targeting people like me…”

“Yeah…I think I get it now…my lawyer, my doctor and even my broker are voting for Obama…but they don’t make $330 an hour…so they obviously are not being targeted”

“Exactly Dude…you know, you are a geek and you still get it. You should consider becoming a plumber”.

“Joe…thanks for the advice...you know computers and the Internet are sort of a big collection of pipes and fittings…so maybe a geek like me would be natural.”

Joe the Plumber nodded sort of knowingly at my last comment, we shook hands and wished each other good luck.

Whether or not I decide to become a plumber, I do know we will be seeing Joe down the road. This is a man who has conquered his chosen avocation and is moving on to politics and television. I have a feeling we will be seeing him standing next to very hot Alaskan chick (you know who I am talking about) in four years carrying his tax message to the masses. A very compelling ticket indeed!

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