Archived Story

Things we do for money

Published 10:33am Wednesday, February 27, 2013

by Rex Alphin

I don’t get it. Why does everyone make such a fuss over it?

It is a mere 2.61 inches wide, 6.14 inches long and .0043 inches thick. Weighing in at 1 gram, it would take 454 just to make a pound.

Heck, they don’t last but about 18 months and are replaced by new ones.

They tell me they make over 16 million every single day! And they are everywhere! It’s not like they are hard to find. Heck, half the people walking around have them in their pockets, in their purses, in mason jars, under their mattresses, on the top shelf, between books on bookshelves and buried in the backyard. I don’t get all the fuss.

Let’s face it. They are really not that pretty. Some ink pictures, that’s it.

A guy that lived over 200 years ago turned to his left (is that his real hair?) on one side, and an eagle and a pyramid on the back. Only two colors, that’s all. Black on the front and green on the back. A few words and numbers. That’s it.

But here is the real kicker. They all look basically the same! That’s right! Yours doesn’t look any different than the next guys. They are all printed just about alike! Not painted or sculpted or anything. Just printed!

Well, you say, their value lies in the product from which they are made. Really? It’s mostly cotton! I grow cotton! The same stuff from which we make T-shirts and jeans and mattresses and shirts and all kinds of clothes. In fact, they tell me it only cost about five cents to make one of these. Five cents!

I just don’t get it. As a result of these little printed rectangles, I have seen people lose sleep and lose their jobs. I’ve heard conversations over these things go on for hours.

I have seen grown men and women spend a lifetime trying to get as many of them as possible as quickly as possible and hold onto them as long as possible. What is it about these little things?

I have seen marriages break up over them and brothers fight over them. Entire families blown apart by who can gets the most of these things. People entirely happy because they have them and people entirely unhappy because they don’t. They are dreamed about, schemed over, loved, fondled, coveted and caressed.

I don’t get it. Frankly, I could go on and on, but please forgive my abrupt departure from writing this column. You see, I need to go and check the stock market.

REX ALPHIN of Walters is a farmer, businessman, author, county supervisor and contributing columnist for The Tidewater News. His email address is

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