Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Stupid Thing of the Week

The other day, I took my niece to the library to check out a couple books. While we were there, I spied a five dollar bill on the floor by the DVDs and Books On Tape. "Hey, free money," I said to her, "Looks like we can go ice skating for free."

She just looked at the money, then said, "I'd better not."

"Why not?" I asked, trying to figure out her reluctance.

"It's not mine," she said.

"It is now, congratulations," said I.

Still, she did not move. "I don't want to get in trouble."

"You won't," I said, then, "Pick up the money."

She finally did, and said, "Well, shouldn't we turn it in? In case someone is looking for it?"

"If it was a wallet, or car keys, or a kidney or something, sure," I said, "but not for cash. There's no way to identify it, and nobody's going to ask if somebody turned in a five dollar bill."

She pocketed the money, but I could tell she still had reservations about it. We tried to go ice skating, but they close early on Thursdays, apparently (either that or it's a conspiracy to keep me from exercising).

I forgot all about it until the other night, where my sister mentioned that she had chastised her daughter for picking up the money. She has an Adrian Monk-like obsession with germs, so I assumed that was her reasoning. "What, because it had been on the floor? Or just because money is dirty?"

"For taking money that didn't belong to her," my sister said.

"It didn't belong to anyone," I said, "it was dropped on the floor."

"Well, she should have turned it in, or left it there."

I argued with her for a moment about the unlikelihood that someone would even consider going to the Lost and Found for cash, and probably didn't even know it was gone, but in her mind, it was dishonest of me to tell her kid the money was hers if she found it.

I guess she never heard that ancient teaching of the Buddha, the one that ends with "losers weepers."

Rish "You Owe Me Five Dollars" Outfield

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