Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Penny For Your Thoughts

When Ms. SpoolTeacher was a  just a little latchkey kid young girl, she and her sisters and all of their friends had the pleasure of no such thing as electronic gadgets and would just roam the neighborhood on their bikes or bare feet.
(There was that one Christmas when they got tape recorders, but that only kept its fascination until the newness wore off; then back to bikes and bare feet.)

(Oh, yes, and the year they got pocket "transistor" radios. Now those they used to death, listening to the Beatles on their sleep-outs in the yard.)

Christmas gift babydoll nighties

An all too frequent thing they'd do was go up to the nearby U-Tote'Em and get a nickel's worth of high fructose corn syrup candy, (it was probably real sugar then).

Her first lesson in economics came at a fairly young age and it stands out to her even yet as one of her first reality checks.

Bubble gum was an essential item and for the most part one piece was enough for her. She liked Pixy Stix or SweeTarts. (Ooh, makes her pucker just thinkin' about it.)

They would have had to have collected soda bottles from wherever they could find them and turned them in for the deposit because her mother didn't have money to waste on candy. (Although it does seem that she would give them each a nickel here and there. The rich girl up the street, whose parents owned the only furniture store in town, always got a quarter).

None-the-less, they felt pretty powerful and consumer-ish leaving with a little brown paper bag filled with penny candies.

One day, something seemed a little Bazooka with the bubble gum. What was it?
For all she knew, this is the way it had been for some time and she had just become cognizant enough in age and reality to take notice of it. What was it that was different all of a sudden...hmm, hmmmmm...

It was smaller. Sure enough, that's what it was, it was smaller.
But it was still a penny. What! ...What! "Should be half that much", she thought, "It's half as big as it used to be."
What a ripoff! (that was the word of the day)

She became inflamed. Just who did they think they were, changing her Bazooka Bubble Gum without her approval. "I didn't agree to that!" she thought.

Inflation. She was starting to understand that already, knowing prices were always going up and poor Mom having an ever harder time to make ends meet; but to cut something in half and charge the same price..Ripoff!

Still inflation. She had just never seen it like that and this time it really made sense. (She's a highly visual learner)
"...inflation also reflects an erosion in the purchasing power of money – a loss of real value in the internal medium of exchange and unit of account in the economy. "
"Well, that's the last time I'm gonna buy Bazooka bubble gum again, ever."
She thought that would really get 'em.

Funny, the things that make an impression, even teach life's lessons. A silly piece of bubble gum got the message to her loud and clear.

She's never understood though, why things have to keep going up. It has never quite made sense. It's just a vicious circle.

Today when she took a check to the bank, they informed her that starting July they will have to add a service charge to her account. You know, things are tough for the banks and all...

"Well", she thought and actually said out loud, "I'll just have to open an account with the credit union." (there take that).
"Well", the bank attendant replied, "I'm afraid it won't be long before the credit unions will have to do the same."

"Well then", Ms. SpoolTeacher said, "I will just have to insist my clients pay in cash or charge them an extra fee."

Vicious circle. It doesn't make sense.

On top of which, the penny is going extinct because it costs two cents to make one.

What a crazy world. 

A tomato is still a tomato though. That's one thing we still have...
And Little Red-Haired Girls to keep us in perspective and remind us of what really matters.


  1. I was about 10 when I got my first radio. It was a 4 tube metal cased red little thing that plugged into the wall. It shocked you when you touched it. I had never even seen a portable radio or TV and the closest thing to a cell phone was Dick Tracy's wrist radio. I made crystal sets in those days.
    I never noticed inflation until they reduce the size of the Three Musketeer candy bar and you got one cocoa flavored bar instead of a three flavored bar. It went from a nickel to a dime and I quite buying it. Now I don't pay any attention to inflation. It is what all governments do until the money fails.

  2. Her first "personal" radio was a pocket "transistor" radio. Story amended to include a picture. She liked the smell of the vinyl. Imagine, how simple it was to be made happy in those days.