Vol.XVI No.VI Pg.6
August 1979

Cheap Skates And Pikers

Robert F. Turner

Verily I say unto thee, read these quotes appreciatively, for they represent much searching through "Wit and Wisdom of Safed the Sage," by William E. Barton; Pilgrim Press, Chicago, 1919. The following is from p. 101-f. Perhaps my judgment is faulty, and this material is not worth the effort of condensation and presentation; but I am hard pressed to find a better way to get us to really see ourselves. Perhaps these caricatures of human follies, drawn 50 years ago, will reflect some light upon today's ways — for human nature changes little.


There were two men who were partners in business, and they did divide Their Prosperity, share and share alike. And there came a Great War. And there was a Committee which waited on these two men, and said unto each of them, Lend thy money to thy Government. In so doing thou shalt gain for thyself Four and One Fourth Per Cent, and make the World Safe for Democracy.

And one of them considered, and said, God hath prospered me with a moderate prosperity; I will subscribe all I can afford. And he subscribed for a Thousand Shekels bond.

And the other asked him, How much hast thou subscribed? And he said, A thousand shekels. Then said he, I will go thee Fifty-Fifty. I will also subscribe for a Thousand Shekels.

But he thought within himself, Peradventure they raise it not all the First Crack out of the Box, then will they come around again; and if I subscribe a Thousand Shekels, then shall I have nothing left wherewith to come back at them again. So he subscribed Five Hundred Shekels. And he said to THE Chairman of the Committee. If thou lackest, come back; for thou canst always count on Yours Truly to do his share, and Then Some. And the Committee gave to each of them a Button whereon was written, Trouble me not, for I have Subscribed for the Liberty Loan.

Now when the Committee had canvassed the town, behold they were short of their Quota. And they said, We must hustle around and make it up, lest they tell in Gath that we are Slackers, and publish in the streets of Ashkelon that we be Pikers. Then came the Committee back to these two men. And the one who had subscribed for a Thousand Shekels said, I have gone the Limit. But the other said, Sure Thing. And he subscribed an Hundred Shekels.

And the Committee gave unto him another sign to fasten on with his Button, whereon was written, I have given PLUS. But the other man had only his one Button. And all men did honor the man who had given Six Hundred, because he had given Plus; but they honored not the man who had given a Thousand Shekels the first time around.

And the man who had given Six Hundred, he talked much about how the men who gave the Plus subscription had Put the Loan Across and enabled the town to Go Over the Top; but in his soul he knew that he was a Piker and a Cheap Skate and that his Middle name was Ananias.