Getting Rich the Hard Way
Ask a silly question, get a silly answer.
Teacher: If you have $4, and you ask your father for another dollar, how much would you have?
Johnny: Four dollars.
Teacher: Young man, you don’t know your addition facts!
Johnny: Ma’am, you don’t know my father!
Johnny’s father and my dad seem to have a lot in common. But my dad would have been proud of me yesterday. While walking home from the local coffee shop, I noticed a corner of a dollar bill on the ground. Not the whole bill, mind you, just a corner that had been ripped off. I thought not much of it, until two feet later I saw another scrap of the dollar bill… then another… and another…
I know and understand Calculus, and I realized that a lot of little things can add up to a lot, so I spent 15 minutes scouring the area for as many pieces of the dollar bill as I could find. I took them home and asked my sons, “Wanna do a puzzle?” We spent a half-hour reconstructing the bill and taping it together. The pictures below show the before and after:
The bill was not in good enough shape to be accepted by a vending machine (too much tape, I suspect, and the missing piece on the right side surely didn’t help, either), but it was in good enough shape for my bank to give me four shiny quarters in exchange for it.
I know that a penny saved is a penny earned. But what is a dollar found?
And the bigger question: What should I do with my new-found wealth?
I decided to buy a lottery ticket. The state gambling commission organized a raffle that boasted an infinite amout of money as the prize. To my great surprise, I won! When I showed up to claim the prize, they told me it would be disbursed as 1 dollar now, 1/2 dollar next week, 1/3 dollar the thrid week, 1/4 dollar the week after that, and so on.
But the joke’s on them. My winnings for the third week will include a one-third cent piece, and that’s gotta be worth something, right?
(Note: Almost everything above is true. I really did find the pieces of a dollar bill on the ground yesterday. As best I can tell, the bill had been on the lawn when it was cut by the blades of a power mower. And my bank really did give me four quarters in exchange for the taped-up, reconstructed version.)