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Should children be allowed to work in sawmills
Creators ^ | MARCH 2, 2005 | John Stossel

Posted on 03/05/2005 1:17:09 PM PST by flixxx

Should children be allowed to work in sawmills?

What if they're Amish?

Under federal law, anyone under 18 is forbidden to work in a sawmill. Well, almost anyone. Last year, Congress declared it permissible for a 14-year-old to work in a sawmill if a statute or court ruling exempts him from having to attend school past the eighth grade. That's code for "if he's Amish," and in case you don't get the message, the statute specifies that such a person must be supervised by "an adult member of the same religious sect or division."

So if an Amish parent wants to raise his children to an Amish lifestyle and send them to work in a sawmill when they finish eighth grade, he can do it. But if a child is not Amish, he is forbidden to work in almost any job until he is 14, in most jobs until he is 16, and in a considerable number of jobs until he is 18. Why? Because to "protect children," Congress and the Department of Labor have decided they know just which village it takes to raise a child: Washington, D.C. But the truth is that Washington's labor laws now hurt children more than they protect them.

They almost took away Tommy McCoy's dream. At the age of 14, while other boys and girls his age cheered from the stands, Tommy was on the field with the Savannah, Ga., Cardinals. He was the batboy.

When the feds descended on Savannah to order Tommy fired, there was enough publicity that Robert Reich, then U.S. secretary of labor, reviewed the case himself and made an exception for Tommy. According to a Harvard Business School publication, Reich's advisers warned him that he would undermine the child labor laws. "If you allow this," went the argument, "tomorrow we will see 14-year-old peanut vendors and 13-year-old parking-lot attendants; there is no shutting that door."

Would that be terrible? Granted, most kids don't dream of being parking-lot attendants, but for some children, such low-glamour jobs may be the only available routes to a dream -- the only way to pay for a computer or a guitar. For some, these jobs are where they'll develop the basic skills they'll need later for more serious jobs.

I've accompanied Labor Department cops as they barged into "sweatshops violating child labor laws." I expected to see horrors, but I never did. What the cops call "sweatshop," I call "employer." No teen ABC interviewed after the raids said he was being abused. All of them wanted the work. As the employers sullenly completed government paperwork, the teens would slip out the back door and find another illegal job. The bureaucrats didn't help kids; they only took choices away.

One young grocery bagger who lost his job because someone asked about child labor laws told us, "I was really sad because, they're not ... making us work. I mean, we wanted to do this."

The batboy was lucky because Secretary Reich, who had but newly taken command at the Labor Department, decided to use his power to make an exception to avoid looking like a fool by cracking down on batboys.

The Labor Department also gives a special exemption to child actors and farm workers and -- for some reason -- to wreath makers. Is that how American law should work? Special breaks for some, often those who lobby best? Should the right to work depend on some Washington big shot saying, "We can make an exception -- when we choose"? Why is an anonymous grocery bagger less entitled to his freedom and to his dreams than the Olsen twins?

The bureaucrats say without these laws, children will be abused. But there are millions of employers in America, and they compete for workers. That marketplace competition protects workers better than job-killing Labor Department rules. If McDonald's treats a kid badly, he can usually get a job somewhere else. In a free society, people normally take jobs because they think they're better off with them than without them. If you are forced to take a particular job, that's called slavery, and the Constitution and criminal law are on hand to address the matter.

Who is best able to figure out whether a job would benefit a particular child? The child himself, who must live with the decision? His parents, who presumably know and love him? The child and parents together? Or the government, which, unless he can get a special exception, will protect the child from following his dream?

Give Me a Break.

John Stossel is co-anchor of ABC News' "20/20." To find out more about John Stossel and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Government
KEYWORDS: amish; childlabor; stossel; tossel
I worked my butt off a a kid on my father's farm...you learn how to balance work, school, sports and fun...
1 posted on 03/05/2005 1:17:09 PM PST by flixxx
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To: flixxx

Kids should be allowed to work in sawmills. It build character and teaches them to pay attention.

- Johnny "Stumpy" Harrison


2 posted on 03/05/2005 1:28:48 PM PST by Mike Darancette (MESOCONS FOR RICE '08)
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To: flixxx; mikrofon; Charles Henrickson
Should children be allowed to work in sawmills

Of course.

They're little shavers.

3 posted on 03/05/2005 1:32:56 PM PST by martin_fierro (I wood say that.)
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To: Mike Darancette
- Johnny "Stumpy" Harrison

hilarious. That is too funny.

4 posted on 03/05/2005 1:35:12 PM PST by sockmonkey
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To: flixxx

Well if we rid ourselves of child labor laws then maybe wal-mart will build a few factories here.


5 posted on 03/05/2005 1:39:22 PM PST by jpsb
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To: flixxx
I worked my butt off a a kid on my father's farm.

I'll be damned before I ever haul hay again.
They have machines for it now, but BACK IN THE DAY... ;-)

6 posted on 03/05/2005 1:39:59 PM PST by humblegunner
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To: Mike Darancette

LOL


A sawmill is a dangerous place no matter how old you are. I worked in a sawmill for a few years and had some close calls and I paid attention. I caught a 6 inch diameter log across the chest once.


I was working near a big industrial sized wood chipper when a log got to the chipper blades, caught and slammed against the shroud and busted off. I looked up just in time to see it spinning across the room at me and I jerked my head out of the way. It caught me across my chest and broke 4 ribs and cracked my sternum. I wore the flak jacket they provided after that.


7 posted on 03/05/2005 1:41:36 PM PST by cripplecreek (I'm apathetic but really don't care.)
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To: flixxx
If a young man or woman works to buy something they want a car etc.

They will drive the car with care because they do not want to hot rod it or wreck it because it is their responsibility.

It is a shame that younger children are not allowed to work as it will help them become adults.

Most children I know lay around watching TV or playing games on a computer.

They have a lot of money, which they don't earn and are not allowed to grow up.
8 posted on 03/05/2005 1:49:15 PM PST by HuntsvilleTxVeteran (Rush agrees with me 98.5% of the time!)
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To: cripplecreek

The title of the article caught my attention. My brothers and I grew up in a logging/sawmill family. We owned the only sawmill that provided lumber for 100 miles and logged all our own timber. No one ever lost a finger, hand, foot, arm or had any other accident. My father "taught" safety to us. What a concept.... parents actually being allowed to be parents. The age of introduction to the mill was 9. We started shoveling shavings and sawdust out from under the machinery. By the time we were 12, we were full time loggers and mill workers. Every one of us has gone on to win performance awards in highly-skilled positions of life.


9 posted on 03/05/2005 1:49:41 PM PST by Integrityrocks
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To: Integrityrocks

Integrity does rock doesn't it?


10 posted on 03/05/2005 1:51:48 PM PST by cripplecreek (I'm apathetic but really don't care.)
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To: cripplecreek

Nothing better!


11 posted on 03/05/2005 1:52:35 PM PST by Integrityrocks
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To: Integrityrocks

When I was twelve my family bought a pathetic, broken down country store in the middle of nowhere. I pumped gasoline and sliced lunch meat on an electric slicer and cut cheese with a big sharp knife. Yeah, it helped build character but there is no way I would have let my daughter near that electric slicer when she was twelve. Makes me shudder when I think of it now. Kids are kids and they don't have the body strength or maturity that is sometimes needed.


12 posted on 03/05/2005 2:05:54 PM PST by hardworking (-O-U)
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To: flixxx

The broader question is, are our national child labor laws benevolent or destructive?

I don't think we want to see little kids working in sweat shops 18 hours a day. But the idea that kids can't work at all is crazy. Why is it better to hang around getting into trouble than doing a few hours honest work every day?

Most of my kids have worked when they got old enough, and it has always been a positive experience for them. Play time is important too, but after kids pass a certain age they need to have something to do and some sense of what it means to earn your own money.


13 posted on 03/05/2005 2:06:32 PM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: cripplecreek
broke 4 ribs and cracked my sternum.

Ouch...I've had ribs broken before, but only one at a time - and it was hard to get a good breath with just that.

14 posted on 03/05/2005 2:12:05 PM PST by ErnBatavia (ErnBatavia, Boxer, Pelosi, Thomas...the ultimate nightmare Menage a Quatro)
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To: Cicero; forester; Carry_Okie; farmfriend; eldoradude
Who in the heck has any sawmills for kids to work in anymore??? CA has had nearly 95% of it's mills closed over the last decade!!!

Now that we have Schwarzenegger's stupid Sierra-Nevada CONservancy, we'll soon have the remaing private timberland shut down an the remaining 5% of mills, with it!!!

Then the kids can't even play in the sawdust piles on weekends!!!

15 posted on 03/05/2005 2:12:13 PM PST by SierraWasp (The Dems have lost whatever "redeeming social value" they ever had!!! Just ask Zell...)
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To: ErnBatavia

I was lucky it caught me broadside and not on the pointy end. I assume it's kinda like having Sammy Sousa or A-rod taking a home running swing at you. It wiped me off my feet.


16 posted on 03/05/2005 2:19:44 PM PST by cripplecreek (I'm apathetic but really don't care.)
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To: HuntsvilleTxVeteran
"They will drive the car with care because they do not want to hot rod it or wreck it because it is their responsibility."

That is absolutely true.

I would not buy insurance for my sons when they became old enough to get a driver's license.

So prior to the age of 16, they were working at restaurants, hobby shops, and golf courses to make the $1000 a year they would need for insurance.

When they had a collison or speeding ticket, they had to pay the increase premium.

One son could not keep up with his rising payments so he had to quit driving.

His car is sitting in my driveway right this very moment.

17 posted on 03/05/2005 2:37:09 PM PST by tahiti
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To: flixxx

I have always thought that in eighth grade one should have the option of ending and go on to work. There are a lot of children who neeed to get on with their lives and will work and perhaps eventually go to night school/


18 posted on 03/05/2005 2:38:37 PM PST by mlmr (The "Naked and the Fred"....is back!)
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To: hardworking
>When I was twelve my family bought a pathetic, broken down country store in the middle of nowhere. I pumped gasoline and sliced lunch meat on an electric slicer and cut cheese with a big sharp knife

My little sister
used to honk the local moose.
Until it bit her!

19 posted on 03/05/2005 2:41:41 PM PST by theFIRMbss
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To: Cicero
"The broader question is, are our national child labor laws benevolent or destructive?"

I think the "broader question" is are national child labor laws constitutional?

For the sake of argument, I will acknowledge, reluctantly, that Congress has jurisdiction and power for such a federal law emanating from the "commerce clause" (when did a "foreign nation," or "one of the several states" or "Indian tribes" become a private business?), but such power has to respect the Bill of Rights.

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others (rights) retained by the people.

Is not the decision as to whether children work or not a right "retained by the people," or their parent(s)?

20 posted on 03/05/2005 2:42:53 PM PST by tahiti
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To: SierraWasp

Here in Vermont we have a water-powered sawmill nearby, which has been restored but is only occasionally run.

But there are several folks with portable sawmills nearby that can be hitched up behind a truck or tractor. We had some of our cedars sawed up for lumber, and I'm planning to do the same thing with some white pine and hemlock. I have a portable planer I bought to smooth the planks off. It has paid for itself in almost no time when you look at the money saved on lumber.


21 posted on 03/05/2005 2:45:55 PM PST by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: flixxx

My son had severe reading disabilities. So instead of pushing for college, I apprenticed him to an auto mechanic at age 14. Yes, a mechanics shop is a dangerous place but I had confidence in the owner.

My son spent the first year working part time as a tool "gopher" and couldn't wait to start doing brakes and such - the first jobs he was allowed to do. He started collecting his own tools at that age too. I remember the day he came home with his first $5 tip at age 15. He was thrilled.

He sat for and passed his ASE exams at age 18. (You are not allowed to take the exam without 2 years full time experience). At 20 he is an auto technician and the main mechanic in a private shop. He LOVES what he does. He has continued his auto education, taking seminars and getting certificates.

It's probably the best thing I ever did for him. But I hate to think of what could have happened if some liberal schoolteacher had spotted him out and reported us. They could have squashed the dream, all in the name of nanny state protection.


22 posted on 03/05/2005 2:49:23 PM PST by I still care (America is not the problem - it is the solution..)
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To: humblegunner
I'll be damned before I ever haul hay again.

You got that right. Hell on earth, 90 pounds at a time.


I also did some logging as a teenager. Never again.

-ccm

23 posted on 03/05/2005 3:18:54 PM PST by ccmay (Question Diversity)
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To: flixxx

I had to get up in the morning, at ten o'clock at night, half an hour before I went to bed, drink a cup of sulfuric acid, work twenty-nine hours a day down mill and pay millowner for permission to come to work, and when we got home, our mum and dad would kill us and dance about on our graves, singing Hallelujah!


24 posted on 03/05/2005 3:26:30 PM PST by evolved_rage (OLAP SCHMOLAP)
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To: Integrityrocks
By the time we were 12, we were full time loggers and mill workers

I never was employed in a mill, but by 14 was proficient at operating a chain saw. You are correct about the importance of being taught how to safely use a tool or machine.

Some kids are capable of handling that responsibility. OTOH, some adults never will be.

25 posted on 03/05/2005 3:32:37 PM PST by Freebird Forever (Support your local gunsmith.)
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To: ccmay
Hell on earth, 90 pounds at a time.

You know it.
Three cuttings a year, during summer no less.

And folks wonder why I ran like hell to the big city.

26 posted on 03/05/2005 3:33:19 PM PST by humblegunner
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To: humblegunner
Hayleage the best thing that ever happen to a hay bale. Chop it into the chopper box blow into it the silo.

\ The worse job was stacking the bales into the hay mow always hot always dusty.

27 posted on 03/05/2005 4:03:39 PM PST by riverrunner
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To: SierraWasp
California imports nearly 80% of its construction lumber from out of state.

The greenies foist environmental regulations that subsidize crappy harvesting abroad while torching our own forests into weed infested landslides. Then they bitch about water quality and endangered fish!

28 posted on 03/05/2005 4:26:31 PM PST by Carry_Okie (There are people in power who are truly evil.)
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To: evolved_rage
That's funny! My kids roll their eyes when I tell them about their soft and spoiled lifestyles, and I think they think I sound like you.

-ccm

29 posted on 03/05/2005 5:29:26 PM PST by ccmay (Question Diversity)
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To: evolved_rage; Carry_Okie; farmfriend; Ernest_at_the_Beach; NormsRevenge; calcowgirl
I read you reply about a half hour ago, thinking how I had to hike uphill through 10' snow drifts to light the coal fire in our one room school house after pulling 36 teats by hand in our dairy barn that had escaped reform school bullies in the hay loft that I had to spear with the three tined hayfork in order to light the school fire before the sun came up.

Then I had to hike home uphill again through those now refilled 10' drifts to shovel the driveway so's my dad could drive to his cushy hospital administrators job with the chains I had to install on his corn green '53 Oldsmobile...

But even by waiting thirty minutes and taking another 10 to write this reply, I still haven't stopped laughing out loud at you excedingly honest and distraught reply!!!

30 posted on 03/05/2005 5:31:00 PM PST by SierraWasp (The Dems have lost whatever "redeeming social value" they ever had!!! Just ask Zell...)
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To: ccmay

Oh yes, hay bales are much worse than straw bales...and we detasseled corn in the summer too...I remember my first summer, we got $2.10 per hour and thought it was great...times have changed.


31 posted on 03/05/2005 5:46:01 PM PST by flixxx
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To: flixxx

If you bought Nike sneakers, you support child labor. If you shop at Wal*mart, you support Child Labor. Corporations do not care who makes their products as long as their money keeps rolling in.


32 posted on 03/05/2005 9:29:23 PM PST by dirtydanusa (100% American, no Jap cars, no Chinese shoes.)
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To: SierraWasp

Man you had it tough, I had to throw green hay in bales that weighted over 120 lbs to the top of the hay Wagon in 105 degree heat,....that was hard.

Then I had to unload a big old dualie truck with 5 foot side boards filled with wheat into a grain bin when the auger quit working...it was 110 degrees that day,...took all day and 10 gallons of ice tea.... wore myself out going to the outhouse.


33 posted on 03/05/2005 10:09:46 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach (This tagline no longer operative....floated away in the flood of 2005 ,)
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To: humblegunner; SierraWasp
Nowadays here is what kids get to do, down by the beach:


34 posted on 03/05/2005 10:14:02 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach (This tagline no longer operative....floated away in the flood of 2005 ,)
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To: dirtydanusa
Corporations do not care who makes their products as long as their money keeps rolling in.

Nor do they care who buys their products. How are we able to do that with no one having a job? Are you one of the lucky ones with a job? Do you work for a corporation? Do you use anything made by corporations? Can you get from one place to the next without corporations? Most corporations are excellent corporate and patriotic citizens. You can't do without them so why slam them?

35 posted on 03/05/2005 10:21:02 PM PST by Mind-numbed Robot (Not all things that need to be done need to be done by the government.)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Buncha lazy, largely illegitimate smart/dumb a$$ trustfund babies!!! May a nest of sea hornets swarm their crotches on that there boatload of pantload babies!!!


36 posted on 03/05/2005 10:30:01 PM PST by SierraWasp (The Dems have lost whatever "redeeming social value" they ever had!!! Just ask Zell...)
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To: humblegunner

"Three cuttings a year, during summer no less.

And folks wonder why I ran like hell to the big city."

You know it. My boss was about 60 and worked my teenage ass into the ground. August in eastern Washington - in the top of a metal barn - bails of wet peas... But at $3.00/hr I was making more than any of my buddies.


37 posted on 03/05/2005 10:43:47 PM PST by stormer (Get your bachelors, masters, or doctorate now at home in your spare time!)
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To: tahiti
Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others (rights) retained by the people.

Is not the decision as to whether children work or not a right "retained by the people," or their parent(s)?


1) Since the Roosevelt Court, "work" has been a subset of "commerce" and "interstate commerce" has been ruled to include all commerce, from wheat to marijuana.

2) There are no "other rights" except abortion and sodomy. And if not for the first 8 Amendments there would be no such thing as rights at all.
38 posted on 03/05/2005 11:38:55 PM PST by UnbelievingScumOnTheOtherSide (Give Them Liberty Or Give Them Death! - Islam Delenda Est! - Rumble thee forth...)
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To: flixxx

Child labor isn't all that bad.
The kids stay off the street and make their own cash to spend.
A child spending his/her own cash has more respect for the item they purchase than one spending Ma and Pa's money.


39 posted on 03/05/2005 11:54:38 PM PST by Chewbacca (When it comes to Social Security, I'm Pro-Choice. I want to be able to opt-out.)
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To: HuntsvilleTxVeteran

"If a young man or woman works to buy something they want a car etc.

They will drive the car with care because they do not want to hot rod it or wreck it because it is their responsibility."

I went to work plastering for my father when I was 14 so I would have a "car" on the day I turned 16. I knew it was against the law and just kept my mouth shut.

I spent the 2 years building y 40 Ford with a 3/8s x 3/8s flat head and had it ready for the day. I street raced nightly and 2 years later replaced the flathead with a big olds overhead and was going 129 in the quarter in 1953 which was pretty quick for a street coupe in those days.

I already had racing in my blood since I first drove a rail at Santa Ana when I was 12.


40 posted on 03/05/2005 11:55:49 PM PST by dalereed
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To: ccmay; evolved_rage
>My kids roll their eyes when I tell them about their soft and spoiled lifestyles

I've heard Pete Townsend [!]
describe how he takes his kids
for drives through London,

pointing out the flats
where the Who used to live and
he'd do the writing

and try to describe
the shabby/awful/dreadful
life they put up with

while making good stuff.
Townsend said, "My kids just roll
their eyes, say, 'Yeah, so?'"

41 posted on 03/06/2005 11:21:04 AM PST by theFIRMbss
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To: theFIRMbss
ewww, not sure I want to hear "Pete Townsend" and "kids" in the same sentence...

-ccm

42 posted on 03/06/2005 7:14:43 PM PST by ccmay (Question Diversity)
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To: ccmay
>ewww, not sure I want to hear "Pete Townsend" and "kids" in the same sentence...

Happy Jack wasn't old, but he was a man.
He lived in the sand at the Isle of Man.
The kids would all sing, he would take the wrong key,
So they rode on ahead on their furry donkey.

The kids couldn't hurt Jack,
They tried, tried, tried.
They dropped things on his back,
They lied, lied, lied, lied, lied.

But they couldn't stop Jack, 'or the waters lapping,
And they couldn't prevent Jack from being happy.

But they couldn't stop Jack, 'or the waters lapping,
And they couldn't prevent Jack from being happy.

The kids couldn't hurt Jack,
They tried, tried, tried.
They dropped things on his back
They lied, lied, lied, lied, lied.

But they couldn't stop Jack, 'or the waters lapping.
And they couldn't prevent Jack from being happy.

43 posted on 03/07/2005 7:13:50 AM PST by theFIRMbss
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