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$20 Is A Lot of/Little Money

June 7, 2021

A young man came to the door looking for work. He was a young man we’d known from the neighborhood. He recently moved out on his own and is quickly learning the reality of living on your own.

It’s not going well.

I need $20 for gas. Do you have any work I can do?

I’ve been out of work for about a month. Financially we’re still doing okay, but with no income, we are watching every doller. Still, we are willing to help the young man when we can.

We have some weeding that needs to be done in the garden. You know, get the Morning Glory out.

And that’s when negotiations kind of went off the rails.

The original Magnificent 7 movie featured a group of mercenaries hired to “shoo flies away from a Mexican village.” The villagers pool their money to hire Chris, played by Yul Benner, and as many mercenaries as he can recruit. Chris and Vin, played by Steve McQueen, approach O’Reilly, played by Charles Bronson.

We heard you got that Salinas thing cleaned up in five weeks.

They paid me $800 for that one.

And Johnson County in four weeks.

They paid me $500 for that one.

You cost a lot.

Yeah, I cost a lot.

The pay is $20.

Twenty dollars? Right now, that’s a lot.

The young man on our porch had definite ideas about what he was worth.

We figure you can get a good part of the garden weeded in two to two and a half hours.

That’s less that $10/hour.

Yes. How long did were you planning on working for $20?

I was thinking an hour. I mean I typically make over $13 working for Bacon gigs.

Sorry, we aren’t going to pay $20/hour for weeding.

There may come a day when the young man decides that $20 is enough money to work for a few hours.

When the Mexicans first offer Chris the job they explain that they have collected everything of value from their village. Chris responds,

I’ve been offered a lot for my work, but never everything.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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