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Haven’t gotten my $1,200 yet. Good thing I’m not waiting for it.
For some people that $1,200 is a little life line to the next week or month of doing without. That $1,200 would put food in the fridge and maybe pay a back bill. But there’s no pocket money in $1,200, especially for a family with one breadwinner and some kids, a nice dog and a sarcastic cat. Maybe you get pocket money with $5,000 or more. Most of us don’t get access to those kinds of dollars.
But $1,200 is nothing to sneeze at.
Like most people, I’ve been broke. Even working, I’ve had to drag through weeks of want, with bills piling up behind me like a dam about to break. And relatively speaking, being broke in the U.S. is still a better broke than in many other countries, although that means little if you have nothing else to help you get through the week except the expectation of getting $1,200.
So what does one do with $1,200 if you don’t need it? There’s always that trip to Sweden on some tiny cruise ship without all the bells and whistles. You might even have to help row the boat, but what memories you’ll have.
Or how about sending that $1,200 to old Aunt Helen, who helped you when you were broke and attending college. Sure, you had to eat her fruitcake and drink her muddy coffee, but that was a minor sacrifice in exchange for helpful cash.
How about sending that $1,200 to the old codger whose tires you deflated because his dogs were barking and because he yelled at you when you were a little kid. That poor guy had to buy new tires because you thought the only way to flatten them was by poking them with a knife.
Then there’s the girl you stood up. Send her the $1,200. She thought you were telling her the truth when you invited her to that country western concert and dinner and she went out and bought a whole wardrobe of cowgirl clothes right down to those fancy blue Tony Lama boots and then you never showed up. And she really loved you, you cad, you. Surely her efforts and heartbreak are worth a bit of an apology and $1,200 back pay.
There’s a lot of things to do with an extra $1,200. Buy enough beer to last you all of April, get a nice diamond ring, buy a second car or a fancy bicycle that will go 80 mph with a good wind, or buy a new freezer and fill it with beef, pork and chicken, despite your already bulging food stores.
In other words, that $1,200 or parts of it can be parked in a needy someone’s mailbox or slipped under a door. They don’t need to know who you are. You’re not Batman for crying out loud. But you can help all sorts of people if you don’t need that cash. You know who you are. And you know where the need is in your neck of the woods.
So cash that baby and spread the wealth. It might be the best money you ever spent.
Roger Verdon is retired and lives in Lindsborg.