This I Believe

Juliana - Orem, Utah
Entered on May 24, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I believe money is only paper

The teller gives me a half-hearted apology with a nasty smirk on her face, as I’m staring at her, flabbergasted, sitting in the drive through. It’s payday, and the money-gripping tycoons at Far West Bank have taken every penny I own; they squeezed me dry like a dirty sponge. I’m bawling out of disbelief, and can’t quite get a hold of myself. My pounding head is flooded with despair; I can’t stop wondering what I’m going to do for money, bills, tuition, food, and gas. And I can’t stop crying. My face is splotched in red spots, perhaps my body’s way of demonstrating my utter despair for the whole world to see. My over-active tear glands turn my face into a horrific fortress and the streaming mascara leaves a hauntingly black aftershock, deeming my face worthy of a Tim Burton character.

In the aftermath of my Black Thursday, I begin to consider the importance of money. It occurs to me that no matter how many zeros are printed on a bill, it still has the same function as a token at a traveling carnival. You dash into the carnival chock-full of tokens, about to explode if you don’t start using them. Some are used in investments; the novelty games that disclaim a magnificent return, or prize if you spend your tokens at that booth. Others are used on necessities, like the Ferris wheel, or a crusty pretzel. Before you know it, those tokens are gone. Just like my money.

Why am I addicted to my money? Why does my world crash off its axis when I have none? Money is just a token to the carnival of life; except the monetary scale is bigger. I stuff money absent-mindedly into the slots for gas, food, entertainment, tuition, etc., and get the congruent thrill and adventure for an inconsequential period of time; much like a robot performs its programmed monotonous tasks, without any voluntary interference.

Am I programmed to rely on money? Has materialism and consumerism been so ingrained into my sub-conscious that I have no conceivable way to function if my fueling money for the materialistic beast runs out? Before my Black Thursday, I would have said yes. I know better now. Much like a phoenix, rising from the ashes of my formerly chained to money, ignorant, burning inferno state; I now believe that money is only paper.