Friday, January 29, 2010

The Ants And Grasshopper

Do you remember the story of the ants and grasshopper? The ants worked all Spring, Summer and Fall collecting food and building shelter for the coming winter, while the grasshopper played. When the harsh winter came, the lowly grasshopper was freezing and hungry. He had nothing saved to survive. He asked the ants for help, but they rebuked him for his carefree attitude. The story is used to teach the virtues of hard work and saving.

Humans seem to have an inner need to save, but they sure save things that are not overtly key to survival. My dad saved coupons in a shoebox from Raleigh cigarettes and was determined to save enough to get a nice present for himself. I learned well. I have saved matchbooks, stamps, and change from my pockets at the end of the day. I wish I’d been better at saving money.

I have a good friend who saves lovely limited edition Coalport figurines. Another saves wine bottle corks. Basketball fans save bobble head dolls. There are comic book collectors, playboy magazine collectors from the beginning of the magazine, baseball cards and autograph hounds. My daughter collects Pez dispensers.

Some of the things we collect will never have any value. Some get lucky and it turns out that their collection becomes valuable. Still others buy numbered limited productions that due to their scarcity rise in value. There is a whole industry dedicated to the collector that helps you identify rarities and charts values.

It seems we have strayed from the moral of the ants and grasshopper story. We seem to have forgotten why we save. We may find that when it comes time to survive in a harsh climate, we have acted the part of the grasshopper and had our fun saving, but accumulated little of value.

Bev & Mike
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