from the May 2017 issue of Charter & Choice Journal
by Macon S. Uppton
Charles T. McSwagg arrived late to the interview, pulling up thirty minutes after our appointment in a shiny new Mercedes.
"Sorry I'm late," he said, getting out of the car. "The Bentley was almost out of gas."
This kind of bold problem solving is a good example of McSwagg's bold approach to the Charter-choice lifetsyle. He explained further over twelve cups of coffee. "I want access to an excellent automobile with a full tank of gas. The Mercedes was almost out of gas, so the only solution was to look at some choices of other excellent cars that had full tanks of gas." And then he went back to testing the twelve cups of coffee.
I might have raised my eyebrows.
"I like just the right balance of sweetener and cream in my coffee," he said. "So I have them bring me several different combinations so that I have access to the excellent cup of coffee that I'm looking for."
I asked if that wasn't rather expensive. He shrugged. "We make compromises," he said, and I looked closer to see that each of the cups only held a small amount of coffee. McSwagg selected the cup he wanted, swept the rest off the side of the table and onto the floor, and as the waitress swept up after him, we began the interview.
CCJ: What led you to first adopt the charter-choice lifestyle?
M: I made a bundle investing in the charter school movement, and I found the approach of options over improvements to be a powerful one. Why should we have to fix things, or pour more money into the things we already have? Shouldn't we instead just have access to a variety of better options? Wouldn't that be a great way to approach life?
CCJ: So, how many homes do you currently own?
M: I think I'm up to ten. Of course, I've moved out of several of them. My first home had carpet that wore out and, after a bad windstorm, there was serious roof damage. So of course my only option at that point was to move into another home.
CCJ: Isn't that a waste of the home?
M: My first wife lives there now. I think she's comfortable as long as she stays in the front parlor and on the first floor.
CCJ: Your first wife...
M: Yes, my first wife and I had some conflicts and disagreements about how to manage the house; thank goodness I had access to many excellent alternative wives and was able to move on.
CCJ: Did you consider repairs for the home, or counseling for your marriage? If there were problems that could be solved with time and work--
M: Well, that would just be making excuses. There's no reason the house couldn't be excellent and my first wife couldn't be excellent. But they weren't. I just wanted access to other excellent options.
CCJ: So how many wives--
M: Well, my second wife was injured in a car accident, and my third just started to really show her age. I'm grateful that I had access to those other excellent options.
CCJ: But couldn't you just--
M: There's just no point in trying to fix things when you can have other, better things, instead. Leave the things that need fixing for other people. Poorer people.
CCJ: Don't some of your wives, or, um, optional possible wives, find this system sort of... of-putting?
M: Well, now you sound like several of my children. But as I've explained to them, if a relationship isn't serving my needs right now, today, then I see no reason to invest more time and effort in it. And time is limited. If I spent five minutes a day with each of my children, I'd never get anything else done. But I do want access to the option to have excellent children, so I have several on stand-by.
M: Why ground them when you can just replace them?
CCJ: Why try to fix it when you can just replace it?
M: Exactly. Now we can-- oh, bother.
CCJ: Did you just spill some of that coffee on your pants?
M: I did. I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to cut this short. I need to go buy a new outfit.