Saturday, June 14, 2003

For the past year or so I've been seeing these commercials for metal detectors. All metal detector advertising is the same: an excited guy (and it's always a guy) goes on and on about all the coins, rings, charms, bracelets, watches, etc. he's found while simply wandering around with his spiffy new metal detector. I can't help but be somewhat swayed by this advertising, even though I have firsthand evidence that most of us don't strike it rich with these contraptions.

When I was about eleven or twelve I collected coins and became obsessed with the idea of there being loads of old coins everywhere on our property. If only I had a metal detector! Eventually I got a fairly nice one for Christmas. It wasn't a cheap toy, either. So, I spent an inordinate amount of time over the next month or so scouring the properties of my parents and various relatives for untold riches. I found nothing. No, that's not true, I did find some things. I found rusty nails, rusty cans, etc. The best thing I ever found was half a horseshoe and that wasn't that remarkable because I found it just outside of the horse stall of the old barn in our backyard. Periodically over the years I'd get the metal detector out and give it another chance, but I only found more nails and cans.

My family has probably lived in this area for over two-hundred years. If I can draw any conclusions from my metal detector experiment it's this: my family must have been tight with money for multiple generations. If any of us ever even suspects we have dropped a coin we immediately drop to our knees and search until we find it. Even if it's just a penny.

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