Friday, January 16, 2015

Like a Kid in a Candy Store

Remember when you were a kid and your parents would give you some money of your own to spend? Remember when you were too young to comprehend the amount of cash you were given and had no idea how far it would go until you bought that pack of Hubba Bubba, or those SweeTarts, and when the clerk handed you your change, and you discovered you only spent a meager fraction of the spending money?

Your brain went into overdrive. What to get? Should you load up on jaw breakers, or chips, or should you go over to the hobby shop and buy a kite? Should you save the change and use it the next time your parents took you shopping?

Perhaps I'm 10 times that age, but the excitement of a windfall has remained. Perhaps, because in the 40-plus years since I experienced that sort of euphoria, I haven't found myself with a surplus of cash.

When I discovered the old stock certificate, I could barely remember buying it. It was 18 years old, had been purchased when I worked at a bank, and the company was offering shares at a heavily subsidized price. I don't remember how much it cost me, but knowing me, it probably wasn't much. Back then, I was good at managing everybody's finances but my own, and I wouldn't have had a lot of expendible funds at the time of purchase.

I was probably talked into the investment, probably purchased them under some well-intended peer pressure.

And so I invested, received a thick, embossed piece of paper with my name on it and the number of shares I owned. I folded that paper, added it to other important documents—my birth certificate, marriage certificate, and film negatives that I deemed "important"—and stuck them in my safety deposit box.

I didn't touch that box for more than three years, when I returned from South Korea and bought my first house. Because I didn't live near the bank where I worked, I closed the safety deposit box and brought those important documents home, with the intent of getting another box at a bank that was more convenient.

That never happened, and I put those documents in a secret location, thinking that someday, I should place the documents in a place where they would be safe. Only, instead, I forgot about the documents altogether.

One of the results of throwing out my back over the holidays is that I haven't been able to do any heavy work around the house. This fact is proving to bite me in the ass, in that I have been unable to shovel my driveway, nor have I been able to do any major cleaning around the house. And so, last weekend, in an attempt to play some part in doing some housework, I decided to cull some old paperwork.

In my efforts, I came across an old, worn-out manilla envelope. the edges were tattered, and the contents almost spilled out on their own. Inside, I found my birth certificate, marriage certificate, and various dated papers, including a thick, embossed sheet of paper that looked like it belonged at the end of the 20th century.

I looked at the paper and said to my spouse, "Huh, I wonder if this is worth anything," almost tempted to throw it in the paper shredder. I would take it to the bank, I told her, adding, "if it's worth anything, maybe I could use it towards a new camera."

My D-SLR is long in the tooth, and the sensor is going on it. I seldom use it (as this blog has shown—not many photos with my camera have been shot in a while).

The best-case scenario, I said, was that it would be worth a grand or so. If it was worth two grand, I might put it towards a full-frame camera.

At the bank, I learned it was worth nearly 10 times that amount.

The question now stands: what kind of camera shall I buy?

The story continues...

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