One must give Charlie credit for actually writing about what he knows. For once upon a time, Charlie himself was -- by his own definition -- a moocher.
This goes back to the late 1970s, when Sykes had just ended his first marriage. From Milwaukee Magazine's July 2000 profile of Charlie Sykes
Divorce records show that custody of the couple's 2 1/2 year old daughter went to the mother. Chris Sykes was working as a dental assistant, bringing home $120 every two weeks. Charlie made a biweekly salary of $404. When they divorced, Charlie was ordered to pay monthly child support payments of $303.
Sykes at times had difficulty making payments. Several times, he slipped into arrears; for three months in early 1980, his ex-wife went onf AFDC. Sykes eventually made payments directly to his former wife, according to court documents. He gained legal custody of his daughter when she was 17.
Now, how does Sykes define a moocher?
Someone who believes there is always a free lunch and that somebody else should pay for it.
Someone who expects others to pay to clean up their messes.
Someone who lays claim to something to which they are not rightfully due.
Someone who shifts the cost of their own irresponsibility onto others who have behaved responsibly; who, as a matter of choice, takes from or relies on the efforts and resources of others.
Someone who takes unfair advantage of others to enrich themselves or otherwise bail themselves out.
A recipient of the transfer of wealth created by others (without just cause) or who lives off of the productive efforts of others and appropriates the fruits of their enterprise without making a proportionate contribution.
Someone who voluntarily seeks to be dependent on others.
Let's face it: Sykes -- a child of Fox Point and upper middle class privilege, who had all sorts of educational and social capital that the "moochers" he demonizes every day can only dream of -- was a moocher. By his own definition. I'm suspecting Charlie doesn't talk about this in the book.
As always when put on the spot, Sykes got snippy and defensive in the Milwaukee Magazine article, saying he made up for those mistakes.
"There was a lot going on. I'm not going to talk about back then," Sykes says today. "But I have always supported my daughter. My daughter really spent a great deal of time with me, I paid a great number of her bills, I put her through college, I put her throught private high school, all the ballet lessons, clothes, a lot of things ... Of all the things that I am most proud of, it is the way that I have raised my children."
"A lot going on." What, is Charlie blaming the environment? Or claiming he wasn't responsible for his obligations? "A lot going on." There always is.
He was taking pride in his parenting in this article, of course, not long after he ditched wife No. 2 for his current spouse.