Monday, November 30, 2015

The Greatest $151.47 I Have Ever Made

The optimist and the pessimist both die in the end, but each lives his life in a completely different way.
-- Shimon Perez

Proudest Money I Have Ever Earned
Here it is. My first paycheck from Teaching in Nicaragua, although I am not quite sure what the big blue Non Negotiable means. That will just have to add to what I am sure will be a the Great  Nicaraguan Check Cashing Adventure of 2015. Coming soon to a Theatre and quite possibly a Nicaraguan jailhouse because of attempted fraud, near you.

I have always worked. I ran a paper route from the age of  8 to 14. A lifetime to run a paper route as a kid. Coming in at 4'7 and 85 lbs I would not be defeated. Using a wagon in the summer and a sled in the winter I slogged and trudged those 6 years where finally I could carry the bag over my shoulder. It took me about a week to realize how inefficient that was so the wagon and sled came out of retirement and became less of a necessity and more of a practicality. The mailman had nothing on me. Oddly, the faded memories are busting through in full colour right now.  I have walked that route, Margaret Street, Caledonia Ave and Dell Avenue in Niagara Falls, many times as it is near my childhood home.What I will share is that I can still to this day is say the last names of each house I delivered to with the exception of 1 or 2. I worked my young butt off for about $3.50 a week.

I evolved into a food service worker. Starting as a Bus Boy I became a Bell Hop, waiter and a damn good bartender over the course of about 20 years. My very first real paycheck was for $19.74 if I remember correctly as a bus boy from Micheal's Inn in Niagara Falls. That was a proud moment. The years evolved and careers were formed. I made great "tips" in the service industry and by the time I finished my technology career I was well north of $100,000 a year plus. This allowed me to be sucked into all the trappings that money can bring. Truck driving in the oil patch brought me better paychecks then technology but it was inconsistent. I had proud job moments but during these times there was never a proud "money moment".

To recap. My first proud money moment was making $3.50 a week dragging a paper bag as an undersized kid. My second was for $14.74 as my first real paycheck as a wide eyed teenager. I do believe somewhere in there was a big payday at the Fort Erie Racetrack but let's not count that. Which brings me to today. A paycheck for US $151.47. Without disrespecting my past and the hard work I have done, this is without a doubt proudest "money moment".

Now let's be careful when we talk about proud "money moments". No truer quote has been said than "Money is the root of all evil". Money creates self importance and entitlement, a false sense of security, causes men to loose sight of what is important, can get you lost in the need for "stuff" to add fulfillment to you life and the constant desire for it is probably the biggest waste of time in a man's life and many people equate success with money not the person they have become. How much is enough? I can go into a lengthy post about this but I do not want to get side tracked nor sound trite or be self aggrandizing.

Why is this a proud money moment for me, after all it is only US $151.47?  I learned a new language, move to a new country, developed a new skill, found a job to practice that skill and reaped both the emotional and financial benefits to earn it. This little cheque for US $151.47 fills me with great pride.

Now the adventure to try and cash it.

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