A Cold War Fable for the 47 %

vintage illustration businessman 1950s

Sweet Dreams

A charming little fable that ran as a 2 page ad in Life Magazine 1951 could easily be a delightful bed time story suitable for all Republicans to read to their children, especially today.

One can easily imagine Mitt Romney reading this cautionary tale of entitlement  and our culture of dependency  to any of his dozens of grandchildren.

Entitled “The Chipmunk Who Found Complete Security,” it was published by Gulf Oil Corporation producers of fine petroleum products. The little moral fable was originally published in the Gulf Oil Companies employees stockholders magazine, The Orange Disc. Since it first appeared Gulf had received an extraordinary number of requests for permission to reprint in various journals and pamphlets; it had even been adapted for a television show.

A Fractured Fairy Talevintage Cartoon illustration chipmunks 1950s


Once upon a time, a young chipmunk named Everett ( ie.Vladimir) was graduated from college and came home to visit his father, an elderly gentlemen who lived under an oak log near Covington, Ky.

The first night he was home, Everett swaggered down the tunnel into the burrow dining room and helped himself to a big meal of his fathers choicest seeds. Then he selected one of his fathers best cigars a full inch long and all Havana ( pre-Castro, natch)

“Its  nice to have you home again, son,” Mr. Chipmunk said.

“Yep,” said Everett. “Must be.”

“But,” said Mr. Chipmunk, “I suppose you’ll soon be leaving to look for a job.”

Everett flicked his cigar ash onto the rug. “Not a chance, Pop. Definitely not a chance. The fact is, I don’t like the whole economic system today.”

Mr. Chipmunk twitched a whisker ever so slightly.”What’s the matter with it son?”

“No security,” Everett chirped. “The way I see it , the state ought to take over. Give you a safe job, give you a snug, warm place to live, give you plenty of seeds toe eat, give you free medical care ( a precursor to Obama care) give you free clothes, give you-“

Mr. Chipmunk gently raised a protesting paw.

The  American Way

“Now, just a minute son. I’m proud of the American system. Lived by it all my life. I’ve worked hard, managed to save a few seeds every year, and we’ve not done too badly. The mortgage on our log is fully paid up. I was able to send you through high school and Chipmunk Aggies. And in a year or 2 I think I can retire!“

Everett grinned at him. “Wise up Pop! Wise up! Why beat your brains out? If the state’ll give you everything, what’s the sense of scurrying all over the forest trying to earn a buck?”

Mr. Chipmunks tail snapped irritably. “Now listen son. In the first place stop calling me Pop. In the second place, you’d find that if you got complete security you’d lose your freedom. If the state were to give you everything, it would control everything. Control you body and soul. I don’t believe you’d like that.”

Everett burst out laughing. ”Tow it, old timer, stow it! You just haven’t got the word yet, that’s all. But you’ll learn.” He whacked his father a jovial blow across the stripes. “Say, sport, how about lending me the car tonight? Big dance going on down in the meadow.”

vintage cartoon illustration chipmunks 1950s

Mr. Chipmunk reached into his pocket for the keys, “Drive slowly son. Lots of rabbits tearing around in cars these days. You can’t be too careful.”

“Don’t worry about this lad, Pop. I can drive circles around any olsd rabbit that ever came down the path.”

Next morning at7 o clock the phone rang beside Mr. Chipmunk’s bed.”Sorry to bother you sir,” said a voice, “but your boy had an accident last night. Smashed up a couple of rabbits in a convertible. Frankly sir, he’d been drinking. We had to put him in jail.”

“I’ll be right over,” Mr. Chipmunk said tensely.

vintage cartoon illustration chipmunk 1950s

Twenty minutes later Mr. Chipmunk arrived at the jail, a formidable structure the chipmunks had built by inverting an iron wash tub and imbedding the rim in solid rock. The Sheriff led him to Everett’s cell. Everett was alternately yelling and gnawing on the bars. “Lemme out!” he squawked. “Lemme out of this place!”

Mr. Chipmunk stared sadly at his son for a moment. Then suddenly he gave a little chuckle.

“What’s so funny?” Everett screamed. “Get me out of here!”

Mr Chipmunk put a paw through the bars and patted Everett’s head. “tell me, son,” he asked, “are they keeping you snug and warm?”

“Sure, but-“

“Are they giving you enough seeds to eat?”

“Sure, but-“

“Are they giving you free medical attention?”

“Medical attention, he says! Get me out-“

“And I dare say the good Sheriff will find a safe easy job for you-on the rockpile. Am I right, Sheriff?”

“Right,” said the Sheriff.

“And I suppose that the Sheriff will even give you a free suit of clothes- a little number with horizontal stripes.”

Everett looked aghast at his father. “Cut the comedy, Pop!” he wailed. “Get me out of this place!”

“No son,” said Mr. Chipmunk. “I’d like you to stay right here for a few days. I think you’ll find it a rewarding experience.”

vintagecartoon illustration chipmunks 1950s

“Why?” Everett screamed. “Tell me why, Pop!”

“Because my boy,” Mr. Chipmunk said, it’ll give you a very good idea what its like to get complete security from the state.”

Mr. Chipmunk winked at the Sheriff, put on his hat, and walked out of the jail.

vintage illustration cartoon chipmunks

This vintage ad ran in an issue of “Life” Magazine from 1951 devoted to American Industrial might. It’s cover featured industrialist Charles E. Wilson, president of GM the mightiest American institution. GM which was the biggest, most successful and most profitable manufacturing enterprise “in the history of man” Life gushed,”resembles another historic edifice the Egyptian pyramid.”

© Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sally Edelstein and Envisioning The American Dream with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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