Thursday, November 03, 2005

Adding Up

Monday night after work I went to my neighborhood corner store to pick up a 2 liter of ginger ale. Per the usual, I grabbed the cheapest bottle they had. It was a grand total of 99 cents. I gave the clerk a dollar bill. He placed the bottle in a plastic bag and handed it to me. Then he walked away. I stood there. He returned to the counter and gave me a bizarre look. I gave him one back before I broke the silence and politely asked for my change. In a tone of bewilderment and at the same time arrogance and disgust he asked me if I really wanted my penny. Of course I said yes. He looked at his wife who had watched this whole exchange and they both smirked and laughed. I continued waiting on my penny.

In the large scheme of things that penny means nothing. In the larger scheme of things that penny means everything in the world. If that penny weren’t that important he would have given it to me immediately. He wouldn’t have had a reaction when I asked for my due change. Although he wanted to make it laughable and in his own kind of way use reverse psychology to make me feel small for wanting a mere penny, I know that he knows just what I was demonstrating. The understanding knowing that everything adds up. I know that a penny becomes a nickel. A nickel becomes a dime. A dime becomes a quarter. A quarter becomes a dollar. A dollar becomes an investment. It goes into a money market, mutual fund or down payment on my first home. It all grows and it all came from something small. Every beautiful garden begins with one seed.

Today I was sitting in a meeting with my boss, a partner from a pretty prestigious law firm and another colleague. I thought to myself how everyone in the room was at some level where I want to be right now. But I know that it will take time and steps to get there. In that regard I have some pennies, even some nickels already. I just have to make sure that I collect all of them, grow them and turn them into dollars. It just makes cents.