China, September 21, 2013

The Fitzgerald Theater

Saint Paul, MN

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Listen (MP3)

GK: ......back after this message.

SS: Daddy?

FN: Yes?

SS: Will I ever have a home and a family like you and Mom have or will I always be scraping by on $15,000 a year even though I have a Ph.D?

FN: Darling, I'm afraid that due to the financial crash of 2008, the bailouts, low interest rates, the cost of ten years of foreign wars, your student loans, the burden of pension obligations, your generation will be living just below the poverty line for decades to come.

SS: But what can I do to improve my situation?

FN: You can do what people have always done, Darling. Move to where there's opportunity. (GONG)

SS: China?

FN: The Chinese economy is booming. And there are opportunities for American immigrants.

SS: But Chinese is such a difficult language to learn.

FN: You won't have to learn very much Chinese to be able to operate your own laundry.

SS: A laundry?

FN: All you need to learn is---- (TR CHINESE) "Starch or no starch" ---- (TR CHINESE) "Folded or on hangers" ---- (TR CHINESE) "It'll be ready on Tuesday."

SS: But I don't know how to do laundry-----

FN: You'll learn. You work hard, you put your children through college, they'll be mathematicians and doctors, your grandchildren will be painters and ballet dancers. It's the immigrant story.

TR (ANNC): Give me your tired, your poor, I lift my lamp beside the laundry door! (GONG)

Old Sweet Songs: A Prairie Home Companion 1974-1976

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