Monday, April 17, 2006

Oh the guilt, the guilt

Fate was smiling on me last week. I don’t care how others see it.

My wife Wendy and I went for an afternoon walk, taking a popular route used by many people daily. My palms had been itching lately, which some interpret to mean an unexpected cash windfall is near. As a habitual change-spotter, I'm always picking up dimes, nickels, even the occasional quarter. I was due for a big score.

I caught a glimpse of green paper off to the side and snatched a fifty spot that was lying in the grass. Whoa! Wendy could not believe it. Fifty dollar bill. Now I've run the circuit. I've found a bill of every denomination in major circulation--$100, $50, $20, etc.

So I passed along the good news to my dad via e-mail. His response?

"Yesterday I took a walk on the rail trail, and there was a bike that some one stole laying in the shrubs, it was brand new. I felt bad for the kid who lost it. I also feel bad when I find money that people lose, you know like fifty dollars (guilt trip, guilt trip)"

I passed along the news to my sister-in-law. Her response?

"Some poor soul (literally) is now out of fifty bucks. How do you sleep at night."

I sleep OK, I guess. What am I supposed to do? Approach each passerby and ask, "Did you lose this?" Give the money to a worthy charity? Post a "found" ad in the personals of the local newspaper?

After pondering the ethics, I went to the local video store and picked up three movies, including "Dawn of the Dead" (the remake) and "The Chronicles of Riddick." After hearing my movie choices, both my wife and my eldest son thought I might have been better off just letting the fifty lie.

Oh, no. It was all fate. If I hadn't found the $50, I wouldn't have gone movie shopping. If that video store didn't have Dawn of the Dead (only one copy was left), I probably wouldn't have bought any movies at all. See, you had to buy three to get the special deal, but Dawn of the Dead was the only movie I REALLY wanted.

So I guess it was a combination of fate, necessity and impulse buying. How often do those cosmic forces come together at once? There are forces beyond even my control. You just can’t feel guilty under those circumstances.


Blogger Deb said...

I've been on both sides of that coin. I've lost money before, and found money. I feel sooooooooo guilty when I find money; I'm like your sister-in-law, I worry about the person who lost it, but it's impossible to find the legit owner.

10:01 AM  
Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

If you really do feel guilty, though, you can send me the change, Dave.

11:12 AM  
Anonymous kristy said...

Is Dawn of the Dead the one with the mall zombies? I love that! Of course, I would have donated the cash to Crime Stoppers, but that's just me...

2:43 PM  
Blogger MrsDoF said...

I clicked on your name at Silver Fox Whispers, and well, here I am.

Nothing quite like the good feeling of found money, which can be used for anything your little heart desires.

When middle son was in junior high, he was walking home a way he didn't usually travel. The snow was beginning to melt, and he spotted something sticking up out of the slush. It was a very soggy $50, had obviously been there quite awhile.
He did the same thing you did....a trip to the video store, with some comic books and colored pencils on the side.
He also gave his younger brother a $5, saying that was the 10% to be given away like he was told to do in Sunday School.

4:06 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Good choice Dave... I have both of those movies (plus the original Dawn of the Dead and all the other Romero zombie flicks) in my library. But I ah, notice you didn't mention the third movie Dave. What are you trying to hide?!

4:58 PM  
Anonymous schnoodlepooh said...

I just don't know how you could find the rightful owner of the $50. If you had just left it there, some other passerby would have picked it up. It's pretty unlikely, IMHO, that the person who lost it would know where they lost it and come back to look for it. You gotta feel sorry for the poor sap who lost it, but under the circumstances, what are you going to do?

5:13 PM  
Anonymous bonnie said...

Perhaps you should make an appointment with Vicki, so that she might analyze your guilt issues regarding green-related stuff.

6:42 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

No use you both worryin' about it Dave , leave that to whoever lost it.

4:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I notice you didn't write that you also bought Wallace and Gromit with that 50 bucks. Why? Oh wait I know why....lame.

6:53 AM  
Blogger bornfool said...

As Hoss might say: somebody lost $50 falls into the category of "too bad."

Big Dave-1, careless person-0.

8:25 AM  
Anonymous Maria said...

What a great donation to your favorite charity that fifty dollars would have made. Now sorry Dave, it was not my intent to cause more guilt. Just a suggestion for next time. Must be my Catholic childhood catching up with me. It is what the nuns would have suggested.

8:44 AM  
Blogger LZ Blogger said...

I can't think of something nicer unless it would have been a lost WINNING Lottery Ticket. Talk about buying some old movies! ~ jb///

3:30 PM  
Blogger Lucy Stern said...

I think you had the right to pick it up. If you had not, someone else would have. Once when we were on vacation, my son found four one dollar bills on the ground. He picked them up and asked me if he could keep them. I said yes and he and his two sisters marched over to an ice cream shop and bought some ice cream. If there had been a name and address on the bills then I might have said no. People need to learn to be careful with their money. I lost twenty dollars once. I had put it in my pocket, instead of my purse and it fell out. My loss and someone else's gain. I learned to put all my money in my purse.... Won't do that again.

If you had found a suitcase or brief case full of money then you could take it to the police station to see if any one would claim it. Now, that I would feel guilty about taking and keeping.

7:57 PM  
Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

Today, Apr. 19, I adopt Big D's idea for an Advice Column.

1:32 AM  
Anonymous Terri said...

Don't allow guilt to ruin your good karma.....that bill was waiting there just for you.
But then again, guess you could have placed that ad in the Lost and Found section of your paper. Think of the million new friends you would have made.

5:51 AM  
Blogger Kelly said...

hmmmmmm I wonder what denomination of 'found' money dictates whether we keep it or not? Certainly a 'bag full' warrants turning in ( or does it?)~~ but where is the line drawn for guilt? $20?~$50?~$100?~~~ do we all have our own 'must not keep' line?
Dang!!~~ and all I wanted to do was get up and read a few blogs this morning~~Now I'm bafuzzled.

4:41 AM  
Anonymous gary said...

i remember dad saying that if you find some mony there's a good chance of more being around.i hope you far as what to do with it ,that's your choice.

6:17 AM  
Anonymous Melissa said...

I would have picked it up, donated half to charity and kept half for myself. Just me.

7:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


1:09 AM  

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