Our Federal government, after a fair amount of wrangling, decided we should all get some money to help the nation bounce back economically.
As of this writing, I’ve yet to see any funds.
But if the “guvmint” says, “The check’s in the mail,” who are we to doubt?
The total package is two trillion dollars.
That’s a 2 with 9 zeroes after it.
That’s a lot of money.
Frankly, two trillion is a lot of anything.
Oh, by the way, the money we’re getting is actually ours but that’s a whole different kettle of fish.
People will say, “Two trillion” as easily as saying, “Get off my lawn!”
Any idea how much two trillion is?
You could spend a dollar a second and it would take you 23,148 days to exhaust it.
That’s more than 63 years.
Two trillion dollars is a lot of money.
Years ago, on a windy day, I was riding my bike and I saw something blow across the road and get stuck in some tall grass along the ditch.
I hopped off my bike and discovered it was a twenty dollar bill.
I took that twenty home and showed my parents and they asked me what I was going to do with it.
I was 10 years old and I had $20.
I didn’t even have to work for it.
So I went to work on planning how to “invest” my new-found wealth.
I poured over the back pages of my comic books for hours.
I thought about those neat x-ray glasses.
(You know, they said you could look right through clothes!)
The Charles Atlas ad said I didn’t have to be a 98 pound weakling anymore.
They advertised those tablets you could light with a match and they’d make a black snake.
But I think I settled on a big sack of stamps.
I collected them in those days and I thought I might find one of those rare numbers and make this $20 prize seem pretty wimpy.
I still had money left over.
Probably bought a Mad magazine and a bottle of Mountain Dew.
I might have splurged on a Hostess Sno-Ball, too.
Maybe even a few packs of baseball cards with that dusty, pink piece of wood reputed to be bubble gum.
I was always hoping for a Cleveland Indians team card in those days.
But this was all about $20.
Around that same time, I remember my Dad gathering us all around the kitchen table for a big announcement.
Mom, my 3 sisters and I heard him tell is he was going to be making $10,000 a year!
Our minds were overwhelmed.
One of my sisters asked if that meant we could get Oreo cookies every week.
We thought we were going to be on “Easy Street.”
Today, a family of 6 on 10 grand a year is probably living under a bridge or at least in a big van.
Down by the river!
$10,000 is nothing like $2,000,000,000.
But, you could also go to the gas station and get several gallons of gas with just one of those dollars “back in the day.”
Quite a few years latter, Neav and I were living in Selma, Alabama, squeezing pennies and living paycheck to paycheck (most weeks).
I was in the USAF than and the guys on the flight line had a pool for the MLB All-Star game.
One hundred squares, 25 cents a piece.
Not sure if my wife approved but I invested a buck.
Got 4 squares.
If the final score was on the block you wagered on, you’d win $25.
We just happened to be a little short that month for car insurance money so that betting bonanza would help keep a creditor at bay.
It was 1970 and we Cleveland Indians fans were pretty pumped because our up-an-coming catcher, Ray Fosse had been picked to represent the “Feather Heads” in the mid-summer classic along with pitcher “Sudden Sam” McDowell.
In the bottom of the 12th inning at Cincinnati’s Riverfront Stadium, the score was tied at 4.
In the first-ever night game, Cincinnati’s Pete Rose is headed for home and Ray Fosse is behind the plate.
I realize that if Rose scores, the National League wins 5-4 and that’s the square I possess in the pool.
A $25 bonanza is less than 90 feet away.
I am torn.
We need the money to pay for car insurance.
I want my Tribe catcher to do me proud but I sure could use that $25.
Rose plows into Fosse at home plate, the ball is jarred loose and the Nationals win 5-4.
We can keep our car insured.
But the collision at home plate injure Ray Fosse’s shoulder and he never really came close to his early playing years after that game.
His All-Star career was over.
I still don’t like Pete Rose…although he did help us win $25.
Wonder if he bet on THAT game?
So, whether it’s a $20 wind-blown bill, or a big $10,000 pay raise for a family of 6 or a $25 baseball betting pool pay-off, today, my share of a $2,000,000,000 relief bill can’t come close to the excitement those others created.
It’s like the $14 I received as a share for the first band job I ever played.
Yep, $2,000,000,000 is a LOT of money but I’ve experienced a lot more excitement with a lot less money in my life.
Spend it wisely and let’s get this nation humming again!
Maybe I’ll be a bag of stamps.
Or a Ray Fosse baseball cards.
Perhaps a package of Oreos.