Mike ErvinIn these times of economic austerity, we all have to make sacrifices. Well, you know me. The one thing I am first and foremost is a patriot. So I’m ready to do my patriotic duty.

If we really care about the future we leave for our children, people who need public assistance, like me, will have to change our attitudes. The public assistance I rely on is a program where the state pays the wages of the crew of people I hire to come in every day to wipe my butt, etc. But I know I have to accept the fact that the public treasury is not a bottomless pit. The world doesn’t revolve around me. There are other people in my state who are also in dire need of public assistance, such as the owner of the local NFL football franchise. He needs a new stadium. The one he’s using now is obsolete. It’s nearly five years old. And football stadiums don’t grow on trees, you know. This new stadium will cost a billion bucks. And the owner insists that the taxpayers pay for it all or he’ll take his team and leave town. And if that happens everybody will be pissed off at me for being so greedy and hogging up all that public assistance money.

I have to face facts. I must learn to do without. My state is in a financial mess. And the reason we’re in this mess is because our financial priorities have been all out of whack for many years. Like for instance, the people who wipe my butt were paid a hefty $13 per hour while the owner of the football team barely made enough to purchase a third yacht. This is simply not sustainable.

Fortunately, our new governor is a successful businessman and he knows what to do when financial priorities are out of whack. He’ll put them back in whack. And then everyone will look at our state and say that our financial priorities are truly whacked. Our new governor is a straight-talking man of action. When he saw that the state didn’t have enough money to pay its bills, he cut taxes, leaving the state with even less money to pay its bills. I’m not sure how that works but apparently it does. All that big business stuff is waaaaay over my head.

So I’m trying hard to change my attitude and realize that in America, having one’s butt wiped daily is a privilege, not a right. There’s nothing about it in the Constitution. But I admit I’m having a hard time making the adjustment. I can’t help but worry that the day is coming soon when no one will be around to wipe my butt. Faced with this pressing anxiety, I did what millions of people do when the future looks bleak and they need guidance and reassurance. I opened up the Good Book — and in the pages of Oprah’s magazine I was reminded that the future is within my control if I only have the courage to take charge. The first step is to identify the one thing I want to happen in my future more than anything else. I determined that the one thing I want to happen in my future more than anything else is to have my butt wiped every day. The next step is to envision a way to make that one thing I want to happen more than anything else become a reality. All I could think of is to have a public assistance program where the state pays people to come to my house and wipe my butt.

That envisioning stuff didn’t go well but that’s OK. Oprah’s magazine says it’s important to take a break from our troubles now and then by practicing self-love. Pamper yourself by buying a new dress. So I tried that. It didn’t work. I was still a big ball of stress. I even tried executing the recipe for quick and easy papaya salsa on page 468. Nothing .

Clearly there’s something wrong with me. Maybe I don’t love myself enough. I have to work harder at changing my attitude. It’s my patriotic duty.