Over dinner on their first night there, Dan was holding forth with what were obviously a set of talking points he'd gleaned from one of his Marxist professors. After thoroughly denigrating the alleged excesses of Capitalism and effusively lauding the supposed virtues of Socialism, he paused long enough for me to interject a question into his monologue.
"Tell me ,Dan," I asked him, "Have you ever lived under a socialistic system?"
"No," he admitted. "Did you?" The sneer was almost audible.
"Well, actually, I did," I said,
"Really?" he recoiled.
"Yeah," I said, "for about four years when I was younger."
"Wow!" he said. "How Was it?"
"Well," I Said, "It was kind of nice. The government furnished your food and housing. And medical care was free, of course. And if you got sick or injured, you still got paid, even though you couldn't work. You had to buy your own clothes and things like tooth paste and cigarettes, but they were all reasonably priced at the government store."
"That sounds great!" he said. "What else?"
"Well, you had a range of jobs you could take," I continued, "but once you chose one, you were pretty much stuck with it. And whatever their job was, everybody got paid the same amount of money. Your time off was pretty much your own, but when you were on the job, you were expected to perform 100%."
"Well, that certainly sounds fair," he said.
"You know," I went on, "the thing that impressed me the most was the attitude of the people. Everyone was anxious to help everybody else. It was like we were all in this thing together and there was a sense of camaraderie and a common cause toward which we were all working that bound us into a unit. I think that's the thing I miss the most."
"Ohmygod!" he gushed. "That sounds awesome. Where were you, in Cuba?"
"No," I said. "I was in the Marine Corps."