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The Story Of The Snails

June 26, 2020

When I was a small child, I was taught to be self sufficient. My allowance was small, a dime a week (ten cents for you millennials). I was also taught to be smart.

When I was five years old, I was already looking to seek my fortune. There were limited opportunities for someone my age. I made wooden planters out of yucca and sold them door to door. They were a huge success, perhaps not for their craftsmanship but rather for their puckish vendor. I was a child entrepreneur.

I had a striking idea when I was six years old. We had a pair of elderly neighbors next door. They had a beautiful garden that they tended like a well loved child. I would visit Mrs. Davis almost every day and watch her trim her flowers, water the irises and carefully caress each bloom. However, she often lamented that the snails were taking their toll.

I mulled her predicament over in my mind and came up with an idea. I told her that I would remove the snails from her garden for a penny apiece, put them in a jar and salt them to death in one operation. She joyfully agreed, thinking her wee neighbor would probably tire after five or so snails. The first day, I presented her with multiple jars containing 500 snails. “That will be five bucks,” I flatly stated. She was mortified. How could a kid of six find that many snails in her garden she asked. My answer was brief: “Patience!”

Mrs. Davis paid me for the first thousand snails and then conceded that perhaps either I was too good at my job or she was too poor to pay me. Either way, my snail slaying days had come to an end. However I had learned a valuable lesson in commerce, namely that persistence, innovation and a set of balls often pays off. I remember that early lesson every day as I go off to battle with the world.

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  1. So similar to my first “job.” Ed and Edna owned a summer cottage down the street from our house; Ed and two of his sons were heavy smokers – and “dirty smokers” as we called them because they’d throw the butts wherever.

    When I was a kid, Ed passed away and my father looked after the lawn for Edna. The butts had killed the grass in some spots. So my father told me he would pay a penny per cigarette butt and a nickel per plastic cigar end. I earned over $35 in a month!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. KiM permalink

    My cousin and I went door to door selling acorns we’d gathered when we were little. The nice neighbors bought some even though they probably threw them out the backdoor with all the ones in their own yards. Lack of planning, lack of knowing the market 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I read this at a snail’s pace, because I wanted to savor every word. Adorable. You are a pisser! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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