When I was a kid, I remember my grandmother giving me this passport sized folder, booklet thing with a squirrel on it, that you were supposed to put your dimes into. It had little pockets for individual dimes, and the point of it was that if you were diligent to save enough dimes to fill all of the pockets, you'd have a couple bucks or something.
The thing is, I don't ever remember getting enough dimes to fill it. I didn't have an allowance. In fact, the one time I did casually broach that subject, it was greeted with such a frosty reception, I knew never to go back there. I was poor, not stupid.
Back then, dimes were big money. Anything silver was big money. And paper, whoa Nelly! I'm certain that I was driving a tractor before I was allowed to touch paper money. No, my currency back in those days was the penny, which they don't even make anymore because it costs more to produce than it's worth in actual value. But, unlike my children, if I happen to come across one on the street, I'll still stop to put it in my pocket.
I pick up any money I find on the ground. It makes me feel lucky. I mean, why wouldn't it? In an instant, fate has bestowed upon you, funds which have required no effort to earn. Other, of course, than the bending down part, which unfortunately requires more effort these days than I like to admit. But, that's getting off track here.
It's my belief that I have a knack for finding money. Now, I'm not talking about a bag of non-sequential 50's or anything. I'm still a small change guy. Self trained in the art, through years of high school spent looking at the ground to avoid any chance of accidentally making eye contact with someone. A thing I try not to do anymore, but still retain the subconscious reflex to spot a quarter in a snowdrift like a Jackfish drawn to a Len Thompson red and white.
What can I say, we don't get to choose the things we excel at.
Anyways, a couple weeks ago I was looking for my backpack. I use it as a carry-on when we go on vacations, but I wanted to put my shoes in it to go to the track to try to do something about that bendy at the waist issue I mentioned earlier. Stuffed down in the bottom of one of the pockets, I found a 10 dollar Cuban convertible peso bill. I immediately remembered putting it there a year ago as part of some money we had left, in case we wanted to pick up a snack or something at the airport when we left Cuba. Then, just this morning when I was waking up The Boy to come out and help with the chores, because he had a day off school, my eye caught the corner of a 5 dollar Cuban convertible peso bill stuffed under something on the shelf in his room.
Now, none of this money has any value here and can't even be exchanged for Canadian funds. And even if I could, those 15 bucks in Cuban convertible pesos are actually only worth about 12 bucks or so in Canadian dollars. But just because those found Cuban pesos have no monetary worth here, it doesn't mean that I can't find any value in them.
As the majority of my friends have already been, or are returning from their winter vacations to various tropical paradises, I've been stuck here in my wintery nation, longing to be sipping rum & Coke someplace warm, while I watch bobsled on the TV. Actually, I've got the rum either way, but those 2 bills helped me to remember all of the great times we had on our vacation, and it was only a year ago.
That being said, it is illegal to remove any Cuban currency from the country. So if any Cuban authorities are reading this right now, I'm ready to surrender myself to them and work it off by mixing drinks on a resort, or raking weeds on a beach. I know their wages are really low, but I'm willing to remain there as long as it takes to make this right.
..........after all, I'm pretty used to working for nothing.