A very strange request

Rick Ryckeley's picture

Well it’s happened again. The Wife has left me. For those who are regular readers of this column, the news may come as a surprise. Others may be wondering why it has taken so long for her to come to her senses.

Fortunately for me, it’s just another business conference. She’ll be back soon – but her leaving isn’t what bothers me. It was her strange request.

Before departing, The Wife said she needed $50, all in ones. She was busy at work and asked me to go by the bank. I went and got the money, returned home and had to take a nap. My imagination had run wild during the entire trip and I was exhausted.

Just what did she need 50 one-dollar bills for anyway? I would have to wait until she got home for the answer, but it did get me to wondering. What could one buy with such a tidy little sum.

Growing up on Flamingo Street those 50 ones would’ve given me a brain freeze all summer. A jumbo lemon lime Mr. Frosty float from the 7/11 cost only a dollar. Each one was guaranteed to give you one heck of a brain freeze. And by the end of the summer there would still be $10 left. Just enough to buy a wrist rocket sling shot, which gave me a distinct advantage in any dirt clod battles.

In Mrs. Crabtree’s third-grade class, 50 ones equated to 50 kisses at the county fair’s kissing booth. That’s when a kiss was just a kiss. Back then the only thing you could catch from a kiss was a cootie. Of course, I never really saw a cootie before, but that year Goofy Steve was out of school for a whole month. Rumor had it, he was eaten up with them.

I wonder if The Wife is going to visit a kissing booth at her conference. If so, she’s going to need more money. With inflation those one dollar kisses gotta be worth well over $100. And as far as cooties are concerned, she should be safe. Surely they have a shot for those pesky little buggers by now.

While attending Briarwood, home of the mighty Buccaneers, $50 kept me alive and well for little more than a month. Back then lunch was $2 and that was the cost of the daily insurance policy Down the Street Bully Brad sold. Whoever purchased the policy would have protection from being beat to a pulp by the school bully for a day. Brad had a money-back guarantee. He was the school bully.

Now that I’m older, $50 is still a lot of money. It just takes on a different meaning. Fifty dollars is the cost of a nice dinner out with The Wife. And afterwards she promises that no one will beat me up, except maybe her.

Go speeding through our little town and the ticket will set you back about $50. Not that I’ve gotten a speeding ticket, mind you. I’ve just heard a rumor that’s what it will cost.

Finally, 50 is the amount of one dollar bills I have in the dollar bill shoebox. It’s hidden in the bottom of the closet. Please don’t tell The Wife. I’ve been saving for her birthday cake.

When she got home from work, she started to pack and asked if I had gotten the money. I handed her the band of 50 ones without asking why she had made such a strange request. She smiled as she placed the money in her purse. She said, “I know you’ve been wondering about this all day. The ones are for tipping the airport baggage checkers, the cab driver and the bellhops at the hotel.”

As I hugged her and kissed her goodbye, I said, “Try to bring back a few of them. I’m still a little short and have a cake to buy.”

Happy birthday, my love — your special cake is on the way.

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