At What Price?

thV4WJ3ENNHe was an old man. Perhaps not that old, as it is considered, but wisdom sometimes advances a person. The phrase old and wise seems to flow easily from the lips.

“Suppose you found a $100 bill on the sidewalk,” he said. “What would you do?”

“I’d try to find the owner,” I said. “I might even take it to the police station. If there were people or businesses around I would make inquires.”

“Would you do the same with $50?” he said.

“Yes,” I said.

“What about a twenty?” he said.

“Sure,” I said, “I’d try to find the owner.”

“You find a quarter on the sidewalk,” he said. “What do you do?”

“You pick it up,” I said with not hesitation. “I think there is a limit you try to find the owner or not.”

“Why?” he said.

“Finders keepers losers weepers,” I said.

“The fact that somebody weeps means your fortune?” he said.

“It’s just an expression,” I said. “I really didn’t mean anything by it.”

“But you so quickly grabbed hold of it as quickly as you grabbed the quarter form the sidewalk.”

“What should I do, just leave it there,” I said.

“Was it something you worked for?” he said. “Did you earn it? Have you been employed to rid the streets of loose change?”

“Since you put it that way,” I said. “I suppose I would leave it lay, but won’t somebody else just come along and pick it up.”

“So the fact that somebody else might claim it disturbs you?” he said. “That sounds even more serious. It sounds like envy.”

“So it is best to leave it lay?” I said.

“Well,” he said. “Nobody’s looking.”

I mused for a moment.

“Now what if it happens to be a dime?” he said.

“Well a dime is far less than a quarter,” I said.

“And a quarter is far less that 50 cents,” he said.

“So you have to draw a line somewhere,” I said.

“Isn’t it interesting,” he said. “how cheaply we will sell our principles for?”



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