Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Grasshoppers 5 Cents

As a child, my allowance was $1 per month. Yes, folks, one American dollar. ONE. I think the sole reason we got an allowance to begin with was so that Dad could say ‘Hey, you get an allowance. Buy it yourself.’ Although I did not appreciate it at the time, it has helped me become more thrifty later in life. I remember saving up for about 3 months to buy a fish bowl. I think at that point I begged my parents to spring for the 99 cent fish so I didn’t have to wait another month. Good times, I tell ya’. But that is merely background information for this post. It was this lack of cold hard cash that drove us to find ways of making additional income. Despite the fact that we could go to the Country Store and purchase a number of wonderful candies for nickels and dimes, it still was not enough to support our endeavors. Sometimes we would to extra chores to earn some spare change. We also collected pop cans from the side of the road. Since aluminum is worth approximately .0000034222 cents per metric ton, it was a very lucrative business. One summer, Nate and I came up a genius idea. (Maybe Rach was involved too…I can’t remember. Rach?) We would soon be rolling in the dough. Raking in the cheddar. Makin’ some sweet moola. We gathered up all the grasshoppers we could catch from the field next to our house. We contained them in Mom’s milk can. We then crafted a very catchy sign, something to the effect of ‘Grasshoppers, 5 Cents Each’ on a piece of cardboard. We walked out to the main road and put it where people may or may not have been able to see it. Then we went back, sat on the milk can and waited. And waited. And waited. Surely some passing fisherman would stop and purchase a few hundred grasshoppers from two cash-poor grade schoolers. We continued to wait. If one of us had to use the WC, the other one would wait with the grasshoppers in case we had a customer. Amazingly, despite the fantastic value we were offering, no one stopped by. I am sure it had almost nothing to do with the fact that there really was little traffic past our sign. Just a farmer or two here and there, passing on his way to irrigate and maybe a few random people. At one point, when I went inside, Nate removed a few grasshoppers and faked a sale so that I would feel like we’d actually made some cash. The only problem was there was no cash. Eventually our grasshoppers wilted in the heat. We wilted in the heat. We gave up our enterprise and went back inside to determine how much allowance we had left to buy Big League Chew and Fireballs until next month.

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