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McCoy: Minister of Electricity in a McCoy Banana Republic
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I'm pleased to report that our household has a new Minister of Electricity! Yes, you read that correctly. Our youngest son is the new Minister of Electricity for the McCoy family. You see - we're just like one of those third-world dictatorships. We have ministerial positions in the household, and we grant them exclusively to our family members. Except for the military uniforms, mirrored sunglasses, and overbearing Mercedes limos, we're no different from any other nepotistic bureaucracy. All hail the new Minister of Electricity! May no light bulbs go dark under your tenure and service to our fair household!

Before you call social services or those people with the nets, let me ask you this: "How do you pay allowances in your household?" Do you cajole and pester your kids to do their work? Do you just fork over the moolah, regardless of the quality of that work? Well, consider my approach. Establish a list of household chores, and then appoint the kids as Ministers to oversee the completion of those chores. My youngest - I mean, our new Minister of Electricity -now makes sure that all dead light bulbs are replaced in a proper and timely fashion. He also takes out our trash, so I guess that makes him the Minister of Sanitation too. Think about it. If you're a kid and you have chores to do, wouldn't a fancy title or two make the whole thing go a lot faster?

I introduced this concept to my family about eight years ago, and it fell flat. The older kids weren't interested in any of the positions I had open: Minister of Vacuuming, Minister of Mopping, Minister of Shower Scrubbing, etc.

I learned from my mistake. When I advertised this new position, I made it sound fun... and ambiguous. My youngest accepted the title right away, as he's a mercenary when it comes to making a buck. Now, when a light bulb goes out, all I have to do is call the Minister of Electricity and ask him to install a new 40 watter, or one of those little bulbs shaped like a candle. He learns a bit about home repair and everyone's happy. And think of the on-the-job training he's getting for a snazzy position in some despotic bureaucracy. Maybe we will get him a nice uniform and those mirrored sunglasses, after all. The Mercedes limo can wait.

David McCoy, a notorious storyteller and proud Yellow Jacket, lives in Covington and can be reached at