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Liquid Hustle

I noted with considerable bemusement your article on the enterprising merchants hustling bottled water and other drinks at Baltimore intersections (“Bottle Rockers,” Feature, June 8).

On the one hand, I certainly approve of these folks taking advantage of free enterprise and filling a need some folks apparently develop in the hot weather.

On the other hand, I recently took an extended trip to the “flyover country” of central Arizona. There, even in parched desert where wells may reach hundreds of feet down and water can be a matter of life and death, virtually every gas station, convenience store, or supermarket has an automated water dispenser that will fill whatever container you put underneath it with filtered, cool water for 25 cents a gallon. The price is as universal as the price of a phone call used to be decades ago.  And every car has a water jug of a couple gallons’ capacity. Don’t have one?  They’ll sell you a big jug, water dispenser, or carboy for a few paltry dollars, too. It took my Arizonan wife over a year to stop automatically strapping a water canteen to her side every time she left the house once she moved out here.

By my calculations, the “DOLLAH WATTAH!” vendors here in Baltimore are charging anywhere from 30 to 50 times that price for water simply because it comes in a little bottle and might be colder. I’ve never been happier to pick up one of my wife’s habits.

Alexander D. Mitchell IV
Baltimore

Disability through the generations

I would like to comment on the recent article “Hardly Working” (Feature, June 1) and also the letters asking why so many people are on disability (“A Shirker’s Paradise,” The Mail, June 8).

Many people are on disability who do not really need disability because of the way the system is run—medically, legally, and psychologically. A disabled person is supposed to be anyone who, for medical reasons, cannot work. Many workers have paid into the system. When these workers become disabled later in life, the state must take care of them. Lately, drug addicts and alcoholics are permitted to collect disability because their drug addiction or alcoholism prevent them from maintaining a job. Also if they are physically and mentally disabled because of drug addiction and alcoholism, they are eligible.

Prenatal care for drug-addicted women is very essential to the development of the unborn child. If a drug-addicted woman does not take care of her body during pregnancy, the child will not develop properly. When the child reaches a certain age, he or she cannot learn or concentrate in school. The Social Security Administration will award a disability payment to the parent because the child has a mental disability. The child will receive disability until he or she is 18 years of age.

When the child realizes that he cannot learn in school, he or she becomes frustrated with school and life itself. The only way out is to mimic the parents’ and the life style around them. The child, as he or she becomes older, turns to crime, drugs, alcohol, and jail.

Another reason why so many people are on disability is because of the immigrant population. Once an immigrant child is born in this country, he or she is entitled to health, education, and social welfare because of the laws of the state. If one of the immigrant parents is legal; the child is a legal resident.

Charles Washington
Baltimore

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