Back in the early 1800s, when I was about 19, my grandmother gave me a five-gallon water bottle for me to use to save change in. Like a good little grandson, after she gave it to me, I completely stopped spending coins and put every single cent I received in the bottle. Even if I had a pocket full of pennies and my bill came to $3.01, I would still give the clerk $4 just to get change back so that I could save it. Matter of fact, I’ve had a few knock out, drag out fights with various store clerks who have offered to give me a penny or two so they wouldn’t have to count out ninety-some cents. I always declined. “I need the change because it’s laundry day,” I’d always say, even though it was a complete lie. Hey, don’t judge me! Yes, I lied, but only because I had a goal to follow my poor, old granny’s wishes. Doesn’t that count for something? Oh, and don’t tell Granny I called her old. Let’s just keep that between you and me.
Well, fast forward 12 years and the water bottle was almost full. In fact, when I moved a year ago, the movers, who had no problems lifting the sofa or the dressers, complained about the weight of the bottle. One of them even threatened to sue me for undue stress. Fortunately, because it was so hot that day, I was able to bribe him with some cold water, and he dropped the charges that he’d filed with his iPhone. I didn’t even know there was an app for that. Anyway, thinking that I could pay off a few of my credit cards, and maybe splurge on a new shirt or two, I began to ferociously roll the coins so that I could take them to the bank. It was like having a part time job. I’d get home from work, throw on a bad Netflix movie or two, and start rolling.
After a week or so, I’d rolled over half the coins in the bottle. My living room looked as if a piggy bank had exploded right there next to the coffee table. Poor Porky. Although I can confirm that no piggy banks were actually harmed during the writing of this blog, maybe we should have a moment of silence out of respect for all the other piggy banks that weren’t so lucky this year. Now would be a good time for someone to break out into song and sing “Gone Too Soon,” or “End of the Road.” Do I have any volunteers? Seriously, I think Porky would want it this way.
At that point I had rolled $910 in quarters, $90 in dimes, $36 in nickels, and $21 in pennies. It was as if I’d won the lottery. Immediately, I called my travel agent to make plans to go to Disney World. However, when I was told that I didn’t even have enough money to cover the flight, I snapped back into reality and decided to go with the original plan and pay off some bills. Feeling pleased with myself, I took the quarters and dimes, which were all that I was willing to carry with my 31-year-old arms that were no longer under warranty, and I practically skipped all the way to the bank. After making my $1,000 deposit, I came up with the brilliant idea to head to Merchant Tire and Auto to get my 65,000 mile maintenance done for my car. I mean, if I could treat myself to a few new shirts, the least I could do was treat my car to some new oil or something.
After getting my car checked in, I asked the WONDRFUL guy at the front counter how long the service would take. “A long time,” he replied, without even a hint of a smile. I should have known then that I was in trouble. Because I hate to ask people for help, I opted to call a cab to take me home while I waited for my car instead of calling one of my friends. Ten minutes into the cab ride I learned the value of a true friend when the meter hit $25. Do you know how many caramel lattes I could have gotten for $25? About five. Yes, I counted. I may have teared up just a little bit when I handed over the money, but because I’m a man and being a man requires a healthy display of manliness every now and then, I slammed the cab door in protest when I got out. How dare that driver cut into my coffee fund!
About an hour after I’d gotten home, the phone rang. It was Merchant Tire. When the guy asked if I was ready, I knew the verdict wasn’t good. Reluctantly, I asked, “What’s wrong with the car?” After he repeated my question back to me—another bad sign—the guy went into a speech longer than The Gettysburg Address. No lie, at one point I could have sworn he said “four score and seven years ago.” Five minutes later, after learning that I needed everything from new tires to new locks and door handles—basically a new car—the total came to over $1,800. I could have crapped on myself right there in the middle of my kitchen while wearing my Sponge Bob boxers.
After having a bit of a conniption fit that involved me pulling out my hair, sliding down the kitchen wall, throwing a dish or two, and rolling around the floor, I did what any rational person would do: I planned a bank heist. Fortunately, when I couldn’t find a ski mask to match my boxers, I canceled the plan. I mean, what would happen if I got caught? Can you imagine me in an orange jump suit? And although I’ve done a couple push-ups over the past year or so, I don’t know how well I’d fit in with all the other inmates. I mean, what if they don’t like my blog? And what if they don’t like my Scooby Doo pajamas with the matching slippers? Obviously, that would be my biggest concern. The rest would be a piece of cake—I think.
In any case, the moral of this story is, don’t save. Every single time I save a little money, some random expense comes along to offset everything I’ve set aside. Notice that my car didn’t need repairs until AFTER I’d deposited the money into the bank. See what I mean? And if it isn’t car repairs, then it’s a cable bill, or your hamster dies and suddenly you have to pay the funeral costs, which aren’t cheap by any means. Some have said that I should be grateful that I had the money to fix my car. Instead, I’m grateful for having friends and readers like you that I can simply ask for the money when the next “emergency” pops up. Matter of fact, I see that Kohl’s is having a sale this weekend. Oh, I feel an emergency coming on!!! You wouldn’t let me down, would you?
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