Friday, February 20, 2009

Money, Money, Money, Muun-ney

The Love Of Money by The O'Jays

I took Duke down on the river for a run late yesterday morning. While walking on the trail I scuffed my hiking boot on a clump of dirt causing it to explode. When I looked down a wad of tightly crumpled green paper was just dropping to the ground. I reached down to pick it up and saw that it was a dollar bill. I started gently pulling it apart and realized it wasn't a dollar bill but four half-bills. Three of the halves were twenty dollar bills while the third one was cemented together by dirt, making it impossible to identify. They were all in pretty good shape but they did have some yellow stains on them. I was so busy examining the bills that I did not notice the smell that was coming from them. When I finally did I blurted out, "Oh, crap!"

It took me a second to realize that what I had just said was the literal truth. I had not kicked a clump of dirt at all. I had kicked a horse turd. The only way this money could have been in a clump of horse manure was if a horse had eaten and then later...(How should I put this?) lost it.

I had been walking while I pulled the bills apart so I turned around and went back to were I thought I had found them and looked around. I didn't see any more money so I decide to take what I had to the bank and find out if I could exchange them for newer bills. I had read that if you brought in a damaged bill, and you had at least 51 percent of that bill, you could exchange it for a whole bill.

After dropping Duke off at home and putting the bills into a plastic sandwich bag, I drove to the bank and told a teller my story. She decide this was a job for one of the bank officials so I took my small bag of bills to the office of one of the higher-ups. She, with some understandable reluctance, removed the pieces from the bag and started trying to put them together. When she was done only two pieces matched. She placed the remaining pieces back into the sandwich bag and dropped the bag into a "to be shredded" trashcan. I ended up with a new twenty dollar bill.

That should have been the end of it but it did not work out that way. A couple of hours after I returned home the idea popped into my head that I should go back to the bank and retrieve those remaining pieces just in case I found the rest of the money. I decide the odds of this happening were so slim that going back to the bank wasn't worth the effort.

This morning I took Duke down to river again for his run. When I reached the point where I thought I had found the bills I gave the ground a quick glance but saw nothing. About ten feet farther I glanced down again and saw another small wadded up ball of green paper lying next to the trail. I could not believe it. I had found the other half of the two remaining bills, but I knew it was too late. I should have gone back for those other pieces when I had the chance.

Although I knew these half-bills were worth nothing I decided to take them back to the bank. I knew the people I had talked to would be amazed that I had actually found the rest of the money. When I got there, the bank official I had talked to had someone in her office so I sat down and waited. When I finally spoke to her I asked her if she still had the money I brought in yesterday. She said yes and asked me if I had found more money. I nodded and held up the two pieces I had found. She left the room and came back a short time later with my sandwich bag. I asked her why she still had it and she told me she realized it wasn't a good idea to put the plastic bag through the shredder so instead she had set the bag and bills aside. She pulled the two larger bill pieces out of the bag and matched them to the two pieces I had just brought in. This brought my found money total up to forty-one dollars.

Now, there is usually a lesson in the things that happen to us. So, just what is the lesson here? That what may seem like sh*t at the time can actually be valuable? That if you ignore an opportunity the first time (me not going back to the bank for the bills), you will get a second chance? That.....well, what do you think?

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