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Mary Poppins Adopts Tim Ferriss’s 4-Hour Work Week

“Children, you’ve both been promoted to the position of intern. In addition to straightening up the nursery, you will also clean my room and fetch my tea.”

A Cloud Above London

Mary Poppins closed Tim Ferriss’s book with a snap. “This is practically perfect in every way! Clearly, I need to outsource my grunt work if I want to spend more time dancing with penguins in chalk paintings.”

“Spit spot!” she told herself, opening her umbrella as she jumped off her cloud. “And off I go!”

Jane and Michael Banks’ Nursery

“Children, you’ve both been promoted to the position of intern. No longer will I straighten up your nursery with my magic. Frankly, it was a poor use of my skills.”

They looked at each other, puzzled, as Mary Poppins continued.

“In addition to the nursery, you will also clean my room and fetch my tea. And though this position is unpaid, I will provide a spoonful of sugar to make the extra work go down in a most delightful way.”

As Jane and Michael continued to stare, mouths open like codfish, she snapped. “Well?! Get a move on!” and zapped them with her umbrella.

On the Roof with Admiral Boom

“My dear Admiral, while your time-keeping work has had quite the impact – literally, the shoe factory across the street will never be the same – it only occupies you for ten minutes each hour. 

“You spend the rest of your day spying on the neighbours and trading gossip with Mr. Banks on his walk home. While I wouldn’t go so far as to call you a ‘Peeping Tom,’ which is illegal and punishable by fines and imprisonment, I think we can agree that you need something more positive to do during your retirement. Like watching Jane and Michael for fifty minutes out of every daylight hour.”

“Now see here!” he roared.

Mary would hear none of his protestations. “They can play in the street while you observe them from this spot on the roof. 

“These are your Golden Years, sir. It would be a shame to spend them in prison.”

With Bert on the Second Tuesday of the Month

“Oh, it’s a jolly holiday with you, Bert. Gentlemen like you are few!” 

Burt doffed his cap and smiled. 

Mary Poppins continued, “This is why I know you’ll help me with a teeny, tiny task that isn’t a good use of my time. Sometimes, Mrs. Banks sends me to the market to buy things. I don’t know why. Last time I forgot the fish because I needed to get a senior citizen off the ceiling of his home and suck all the laughter out of his day.

“I’m simply swamped.

“I thought, ‘I’ll ask Bert to do all the shopping. He works for tuppence, which is next to nothing, and is the exact size of my budget. We both win! 

“Plus, I’ll throw in a bag of crumbs so you can feed the birds. Or yourself. I don’t imagine you eat too well on a chimney sweep’s pay.”

With Mr. Banks, in the Drawing Room

“Sir, taking Jane and Michael to work was the best thing that ever happened to your career once the institution recovered from Michael’s run on the bank. You even managed to build in time to fly a kite up to its highest height!”

Mr. Banks could sense a request – or was it a threat? – coming and braced himself.

“I know that technically it’s my job to watch your children but you’ve never actually paid me. And it’s hard to hire low-wage assistants to take on my grunt work if those pounds don’t cross my palms.”

Mary tapped her umbrella against the ground. Hundreds of soot-covered chimney sweeps poured out of the fireplace and circled Mr. Banks, singing “Votes for women!” while tearing at his clothes.

“I’m going to ask nicely, once.”

Mr. Banks pulled out his wallet and handed her everything he had.

On a Hammock in Tahiti

Mary watched via nanny cam as Admiral Boom taught Jane and Michael to load his cannon. An ocean breeze cooled her rosy cheeks. Her assistant called to give her the latest earnings reports from the 4 nanny jobs she had since outsourced to various other desperate, unpaid suckers.

“You’re three minutes late,” Mary told him, “I expect my assistants to kick their knees up and step in time!”

Managing an army of assistants had its drawbacks. For one thing, the chimney sweeps left black smudges all over her office, and the dancing penguins she brought in to clean had a terrible time getting them out. But thanks to a few easy tweaks, she now earned six full-time salaries working an hour a day.

Sipping from a fruity cocktail, Mary Poppins thought to herself, “Some people say exploitation is wrong. But I think it’s supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”


Author’s Pick

Marx Brothers Duck Soup, https://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/are-you-preparing-dinner-for-children-or-starring-in-a-post-apocalyptic-drama, and the Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells. (Note: These aren’t nearly as murdery as they sound. The lead character is a genderless robot/cyborg who is snarky and wonderful.)

Anything else?

My homemade tea recipe: 1.5 c milk 1.5 c water, about 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 2 star anise, 9 green cardamon, 2 thin slices of fresh ginger, and honey to taste. Boil it all together and then add in 1 tablespoon of Prince Charles tea from Murchie’s.

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Teresa Douglas

Teresa Douglas is a Mexican American woman living in Vancouver BC. The pandemic radicalized her, turning her into a satirist (a.k.a. extremist). Her work has appeared in Points in Case, Slackjaw, Funny_ish and Little Old Lady Comedy. She is an editor at Greener Pastures Magazine.

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