Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Not a dime's worth of difference?

Now that we've heard Cousin Bill recount the story of his personal re-enactment of original sin, his own fall from the paradise of youthful innocence, Uncle Cran has also come forth to confess his even worse sin. Worse than killing chickens, worse than Cousin Bill's murder of innocent pullets? Yes, worse. Much worse, for Uncle Cran's sin involved the lust for money, which is the root of all evil -- as confirmed by Holy Writ (1 Timothy 6:10).

Worst of all was the mere pittance for which Uncle Cran sold his birthright of innocence, but you be the judge:
I also had a mis-deed in my sordid past that has been mostly hidden until now.
Note that Uncle Cran admits to a sordid past, which sounds like more than money to me! That lust for filthy lucre must have led him to a life that he has come to abhor, whether he has entirely escaped it or not. Let's us see:
When brother Jarrell came home from the military, he has a disconcerting habit of laying his loose change on his dresser. That was a terrible temptation for me and brother Bradley. It was actually less troubling for Brad, and he didn't mind helping himself occasionally. But I fought it for days . . . until one day greed overcame conscience, and . . . to my everlasting shame, TOOK A DIME! I think I got a can of pop and an ice cream cone. But for days I couldn't look Jarrell in the face, as I knew my crime would be printed on my forehead for him to read.
Note how Uncle Cran still trys to shuck off some of the blame by suggesting that Bradley stole more, yet suffered no pangs of regret. Perhaps Uncle Cran is still clinging to a righteousness of works, like that pharisee who compared himself to the tax collector and informed God, "At least I didn't take as much money as that publican over there!" (Luke 18:10-11).

But let's take a gander at this dime that Uncle Cran stole:

Hmmm . . . looks like what we used to call a Mercury Head dime (though it's actually a Liberty Head). Lovely coin. I can understand the appeal, but I still stand appalled.

Anyway, as time passed and Uncle Cran's guilt increased like compound interest, he came to feel the heavy debt of his sins and desired to balance the books so that he would not be found wanting when weighed in the scales of righteousness . . . but his spiritual thinking was still limited to a works-of-righteousness view:
Over the years I was unable to overcome my guilt, so a few years ago I happened to travel through Kansas City on my way to take a plane to Washington, DC to visit son James and family. Returning to KC, and on my way home, I decided to clear my conscience. Stopping by to visit, I confessed my crime, pulled out a dime, and placed it on the table between my brother and I.

Jarrell picked up the dime, turned it over and over in his hand . . . then returned it to me. Sorrifully, he said, "Cran, that's not the same dime."

Corene spoke up and suggested I return it with interest due over the past 40 plus years, but we ignored her. Compound interest would have been just too much.
Uncle Jarrell was absolutely right to reject the coin that Uncle Cran offered. It wasn't the same dime. Just look:

I cannnot believe that Uncle Cran actually tried to foist this Roosevelt dime off on Uncle Jarrell! The nerve of that man!

But even if Uncle Jarrell had been willing to accept repayment in this false coin, I have to side with Aunt Corene and insist that Uncle Cran hand over the compound interest as well. If a poor sinner wants to balance the sheets of his debt by repaying what he owes, then he must make a full accounting, else he merely deepens his sin.

Uncle Cran may believe that there's not even a dime's worth of difference between his offer and what he should have have offered, but there's really the difference between diamonds and dust.

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At 6:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

AND - there's that zinc layer to consider Cram.

Judas didn't take pieces of zinc now did he?

I'd re-consider that compound interest thingy again - were I you. Perhaps you might offer a stack of mortgage deriviatives, or tell Saint Pete you never threatened to pump water in Kansas.

I don't know Cram, you've got some explaining to do.


At 7:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If all my blog friends feel sympathy for me, and desire to help me repay the now heavy monetary accrued and compounded interest, plus the original dime, Please send directly to me.....we wouldn't want it going through Jeffery, thus causing coveting, greed, and lust for filthy lucre to overcome his conscience, and so lead him to the same crime of his uncle. He likely has enough to answer for on the day of judgment.

At 8:04 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

JK, as your comment also shows, sins increase exponentially while one's means of repayment 'zinks' in value as the years go bye-bye.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 8:06 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Yes, Uncle Cran, I own up to being that poor publican, for my sins are many even without the love of money to my debit.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 7:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Upon reflection re this episode, I fear that Corene was misrepresented in her comment.
Rather than compounded interest from age 11 until my present 69+, she actually said, "The Bible says you should add the fifth part thereto....." Did she mean I needed to add two cents to the dime? I now think least I hope so.
I remember watching the blacksmith at Viola getting ready to shoe a horse for a customer. He told him that he would do it for five dollars, or if the customer preferred, he would charge one cent for the first nail, then double the price for every subsequent nail.
I think there are 8 or 10 nails in each of the four horseshoes. That last nail would be expensive.
And my last few years of compounded interest also.


At 9:36 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Of course, we'd have to add them all up. For the first shoe:

1 + 2 + 4 + 8 + 16 + 32 + 64 + 128 = 255

And this continues for another 24 nails!

I'd take the five-dollar offer . . . except that I don't have a horse (which is not to say that I'll take the other offer).

Jeffery Hodges

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At 9:58 PM, Blogger Bill said...

Uncle Cran:
"Tis better to take what's not yours, than let it lie around neglected", (Twain quote).
Think what you could've bought if you'd "Madoff'd" with a quarter!

At 12:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nephew Bill

I wish I had known that quote back in my youthful "watermelon stealing" days.
I could have sent a postcard to the angry farmer who chased me and three companions from his watermelon patch, accompanied by yells and a discharged shotgun.
But that's another story.

At 3:46 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Cousin Bill, I'm gratified to see that I'm not the only one making an effort to inculcate moral principles in readers through posts to this blog.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 3:51 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Uncle Cran, I am pleased to note that you are clearly paying attention to the moral teachings and attempting to learn from them.

Mark Twain is a wonderfully excellent teacher. I especially like how he taught us to pray: "Lead us into temptation."

Though in your case, that particular prayer would seem to have been unnecessary...

Jeffery Hodges

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At 8:59 AM, OpenID sonagi92 said...

BTW, have you seen the designs for the new penny? The log cabin and Capitol under construction are okay, but young Abe on a log and in front of the Capitol look dorky.

At 10:00 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

No, I haven't seen that. Possibly the real-life young Lincoln did look dorky? He certainly looked better with his beard in later life.

Jeffery Hodges

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