The other day I saw six dollars on the ground. I was walking down the stairs into a subway station. At first I just saw a dollar bill. That prompted me to stop, think for a half second if it was worth picking up, and finally decide, “Nah.” But then I noticed a five dollar bill next to the one dollar bill. This changed things. With six dollars I could buy a whole lot more - well at least a Cheesesteak from the deli around the corner.
I quickly glanced around to see if the money belonged to anyone. Nobody seemed to be looking for any money. So I reached down and picked up the six dollars. Then my guilty conscious took over. What if the person who lost this money, desperately needed it? Worse, what if they found out it was me, and then tracked me down and confronted me about it? It could belong to that kid who was the leader of the bicycle gang from “Better Off Dead” - you know, the guy who kept taunting John Cusack with the phrase, “I want me two dollars!” Only this time he would be saying, “I want my six dollars!” (Which would make perfect sense with inflation and all.)
Then I thought about what this newfound money would do to me. It would probably turn me into a greedy bastard. If I could find six dollars on the ground, what’s next? Seven, eight, maybe even fourteen dollars? Afterall, hadn’t I learned what a buried treasure does to people? Didn’t I recognize this after studying such noted literature and cinema classics as John Steinbeck’s “The Pearl”, John Huston’s “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre”, or Bill Paxton’s “A Simple Plan”? Would my six dollars somehow single-handedly destroy an entire Mexican village? Would a pack of Mexican banditos who didn’t need ”no stinkin’ badges” come after me? (Wait, why do these stories always take place in Mexico?) Or would Bill Paxton shoot me in the back in the snowy fields of Minnesota? (Ah, back to good ole Americana.)
After going back and forth with all of these thoughts flowing through my brain for approximately 1 second, I decided I would indeed take the six dollars. Who cares if I would eventually be followed by teenage bicycle gangs, Mexican banditos, or Bill Paxton? Bring ‘em on! Besides, I deserve this money! I’ve probably been swindled of six dollars sometime in my life.
And so, I put the six dollars in my pocket and caught the F Train. I still haven’t spent it yet.