“I always knew I was going to be rich. I don’t think I ever doubted it for a minute.”
Here’s a question: If you see a penny on the ground, do you pick it up?
Some of you might if the penny were heads-up since that is supposed bring you good luck, but the question is really about the value of the penny. Is it worth your time and effort to bend down and pick it up a penny?
Today, many of us just don’t get excited about a penny, but as a boy, I was often scouring the ground in hopes of finding a penny and always looking for a way to make money. I didn’t have Warren Buffet’s premonition, but I did have visions of finding so many pennies that one day I could be rich.
When I wasn’t looking for pennies, I was looking for glass soda bottles. Each could be worth 2 cents if I took them to a local store.
The money went for really important things: baseball gum and cards, candy.
If I were lucky enough to find a lot of bottles, I bought a comic book; once, I had enough to buy a kite.
At that time, I usually had to make a kite out of sticks, twine, newspaper and several rags tied together for a tail.
Once I used my fortune to buy a deck of playing cards.
Not so fast.
I know some of you are thinking that I started playing poker at that age, but I used the cards to get a motorcycle.
Well, actually, I used the cards to turn my bicycle into a motorcycle.
I would use clothing pins to attach the playing cards to my bike and place the cards in the spokes.
Now, I had a motorcycle or at least a bike that sounded like a motorcycle.
Another time, I saved and saved pennies from my soda bottle venture and along with some birthday cash I finally had enough money to buy a telescope.
That was an important purchase because at night I could watch for UFOs and Aliens. I saw several, but no one believed me. I decided that I had to earn enough money to buy a camera so I could get pictures and prove I wasn’t telling a big story.
That’s when I began to realize that it’s not enough to work and get “some” money … you have to forever continue to look for ways to make a fortune. That meant I was going to need a lot more soda bottles.
== “Being rich ain’t what it’s cracked up to be. It’s just worry and worry, and sweat and sweat and a –wishing you was dead all the time.” The Adventures of Tom Sawyer ==
I needed to improve my soda bottle franchise. Scavenging side roads, alleys and vacant lots for bottles was not producing the income I needed.
That’s when I started going door to door, pulling my red wagon behind me.
“Yes, what can I do for you son?”
“I’m working to get rich. Do you have any soda bottles you don’t want?”
If they were generous, I would get a couple of bottles.
A toothless man gave me an empty whiskey bottle. I thought that bottle was going to be worth a LOT of money, so you can imagine my disappointment when the store refused to take it.
== “How to get rich … whenever I meet people, that’s usually what they want to know from me. You ask a banker how he makes bread. You ask a billionaire how he makes money.” Donald Trump ==
Pulling my wagon with clinking bottles down street after street, day after day, I slowly amassed a fortune. Each night, I could run my little fingers through the pennies and let them drop like pieces of gold. Yes, I was rich and getting richer.
I continued my business venture until I hit my target. I was ready to buy my camera.
I put my jars of pennies in my wagon and headed for the Ben Franklin store. I had already decided that was where I would fulfill my dream of buying a camera, and after all, the store was named after the man who understood my venture: A penny saved is a penny earned.
When the store owner saw my jars of pennies, he was not as excited as I was, but after a few moments, he asked, “So, how many pennies do you have?”
“500,” I said proudly. “I counted them over and over.”
“And what do you want to buy?”
“That camera,” I said pointing to the one on the shelf I had envied for what seemed to be my entire life.
The store owner smiled, “How much do you think that camera costs?”
“500 hundred pennies.”
He slowly shook his head and began to teach me the higher mathematics of life … and at that time, I learned … “where” the decimal point goes in a number … is really, really important.
“Son, you have 500 pennies. $5. That camera costs: $50.”
I left without the camera, but I still had my pennies and at night I would still pour them out and run my hands through them.
I shut down my business venture and began spending my fortune until eventually it was gone.
I couldn’t tell you what I bought, but decades later, I saw a quote from comedian Steve Martin that summed up my expenditures:
“I love money. I love everything about it. I bought some pretty good stuff. Got me a $300 pair of socks. Got a fur sink. An electric dog polisher. A gasoline powered turtleneck sweater. And, of course, I bought some dumb stuff, too.”
(Tomorrow, I plan to post about my latest court battle with KMOV.)