The Value Of A Dollar

Timothy - McKinleyville, California
Entered on April 9, 2009
Age Group: 50 - 65

I believe that kids today don’t fully appreciate how hard it is to earn money. I was 7-years-old when I learned my first valuable lesson about working for money, and about worms, too.

Worms, when I was a kid, were a lot bigger than they are now. They were as long as a stalk of celery and as big around as my thumb, and yet pretty harmless, despite tasting like mud. I discovered this one sunny summer afternoon when Delbert Biggs offered me a quarter to eat one. So I ate a worm and instead of handing over the quarter, Delbert just laughed at me and said, “Sucker!”

Worms are smaller now, and they’re probably loaded with all kinds of toxic junk, so I don’t eat them anymore. But one thing I learned that sunny afternoon continues to serve me well: Always ask for the money upfront.

Savoring bygone worms and business deals gone wrong, I often wonder whatever happened to the great role models of yesterday, like Delbert Biggs, who taught me the value of a quarter. And while I’m asking questions, whatever happened to another lesson I learned when I was a kid: A Penny Saved Is A Penny Earned? What I mean is do kids today know how to save their money? Do they need to? Or does mom and dad just rush out and buy them anything they want? Like $40 squirt guns and $500 Nintendo Virtual Reality Systems.

As a boy, I used to have to work for my toys. Kids today see something they want, whimper a little bit and Poof!, as if by magic, a brand new Nintendo Virtual Reality System. They have no idea what $500 is.

When I was a kid, I did: Two thousand worms.