A Penny Earned Is a Penny Spent

9 Oct

by Roger White 

Powerful thing, motivation. Think about it. With proper motivation, master sculptor Gutzon Borglum led a small army of workers from 1927 to 1941 to transform a stark South Dakota mountaintop into the 60-foot high carvings of presidents Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln we now know as Mount Rushmore. With an amazing store of motivation, Latvian immigrant Edward Leedskalnin took 28 years to single-handedly construct the astounding Coral Castle in southern Florida, a bizarre collection of more than 1,000 tons of limestone monoliths—all fashioned together so intricately and mysteriously that the estate is a major tourist attraction today.

Yet more unbelievable than that, given the appropriate amount of motivation, a 14-year-old daughter who normally wouldn’t deign to put her dirty dishes in the sink is now dynamo girl—washing the family cars, plucking weeds from the yard, sweeping sidewalks, and (gasp) even cleaning her room. To fully appreciate the (gasp), one must experience this room for one’s self. But if I shared an actual photo of this, this…place with all of you ones then this one would surely be shunned by our young one for a long, long time. And we might risk a visit from a certain one wearing a CPS jacket. But I digress.

Borglum’s motivation was fame, spiced with a hefty dose of national pride. Leedskalnin was inspired by mad genius. Our kiddo? Cold, hard cash. And the fact that she’s been coveting some $100 pair of shorts that she simply must have because “all the girls are wearing them.” Personally, I think shelling out a nice, crisp Ben Franklin for some scant fabric that will likely be passé within three months time is ridiculous, but who am I to argue fashion? I still have a leisure suit in the closet. A green leisure suit. And saddle shoes. Besides, if I can spring for a fiver here and there to avoid yardwork, I say give the kid some real-world responsibilities. Heck, she’s even learning the fine art of negotiation. You should have heard her working her grandmother; she would have made a used-car dealer proud.

Bubbie: “Jamie, I hear you’re needing some money. I’ll pay you five dollars to wash my car.”

Jamie: “Five dollars? Your car’s filthy. Look at it. Twenty.”

Bubbie: “You’d charge your dear, old Bubbie twenty dollars? I’m on a fixed income! Seven.”

Jamie: “It’s a mess! How do you drive that thing? Fifteen.”

Bubbie: “Eight.”

Jamie: “Ten, take it or leave it.”

Bubbie: “Do the windows and hubcaps?”

Jamie: “You’re a hard one, Bub. Deal. Cash up front.”

I must say, watching our entrepreneurial offspring make sky-high stacks (as they say on “Breaking Bad”) has now motivated Mom and Dad. Thanks to our beneficent Bubbie, who has grown weary of her massive collection of mint-in-box Barbies, we’ve recently found ourselves in possession of several hundred anatomically exaggerated blondes in everything from Bob Mackie gowns and Queen Elizabeth garb to Harley leather. Our first instinct was a giant garage sale, but Bubbie scolded us into submission. These are collector’s items, she insisted. Look them up!

So we did. Sweet ghost of G.I. Joe’s grandma, she was right! Apparently, the first edition Harley Davidson Barbie goes for about seven hundred dollars. Another one in that same series lists for almost as much. Whole bunches of these tiny babes sell for pretty pennies, based on how many they made and how hard they are to find. And then there are the variations and errors. On some models, they may have run out of brown paint for Barbie’s eyes, so they made five or six of that line with blue eyes. Or a certain doll may be mistakenly looking left instead of right. Or a certain Ken doll may accidentally have three testicles. To true collectors, these rare gems are the golden fleeces of Barbie hunting. And these crazed toy hunters are willing to pay beaucoup bucks to get them.

OK, I was joking about the Ken doll. Stop searching. But hey, if you need your weeds plucked, I know a kid…

 

Roger White is a freelance writer living in Austin, Texas, with his lovely wife, two precocious daughters, a very fat dachshund, and a self-absorbed cat. For further adventures, visit oldspouse.wordpress.com.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: