Once upon a time — that is how all the old stories start. And they do have a certain inkling of romance attached to them — the sound of a roaring wind — chestnuts cracking in a great stone hall — the smell of lavender and jasmine in the opal air — the sweet taste of the first honeysuckle — the red, blue, and purple crackling of an open fire with the stars dancing above and the dew lightly kissing the grass beneath. The smell of cinnamon and nutmeg, ginger and garlic; the warmth of the sun on your face and sand between your toes; the creaking of the leather saddles and the taste of freshly-baked blueberry pies — yes, those magical words have a kind of romance about them that can instantly transport you to another place and time.
With all this in mind, there is still an unsatisfied recess of my mind which demands for something more. Why are all the stories in the past? Why doesn’t someone write a story that is happening this very instant; as the clock ticks away the seconds while you are reading, the very same clock is ticking away the seconds in the story.
What new horizons would this lead to in the world of literature? What planets are we yet to discover? Quit your tedious plowing of the underground fields of the ancient myths, and turn your attention to the deep and secret happenings of today — either plainly exposed under a mountain or concealed in a soft bed of clouds. Breathe in the polluted air and enjoy the progress of today. Don’t bother recording it for posterity — the future is too hazy and that would make us the past — accordingly, irrelevant. No, instead, do everything for the now. Because now is all that really matters. The progressive people of today want to know what is happening as it happens. After that, what does it matter anymore? Why would we want to wait 20, 50, 100 or more years for it to be a confirmed part of our history, our culture, and our folklore before obtaining the story? I mean, hey, the best thing about our society today is satisfaction on demand. Instant gratification, some call it. But didn’t someone once say something about time being money? How true!! Why waste time on little details?!
Funny that we should use that metaphor, though, because these days money is so figurative. It’s a hazy concept which has been floating around for centuries. Apparently it used to actually have a specific value and stood for something real. Now, our money system is basically a complex cycle of numbers. You get paid X amount of dollars and bring it to the bank in the form of a cheque. You hand the piece of paper to the teller, who types something into the computer and hands you back a receipt. You go merrily on your way, and there the numbers sit for X years. In the meantime, you have earned interest on your numbers and they have increased by 0.0XXXXXX%. You finally decide to purchase something with your numbers. So you go to the store and bring along with you a tiny plastic card with your name and — you guessed it! — a series of numbers engraved on it. With an easy swipe of the card and pressing of a few numbers the items are yours. But woe are you if the numbers in your bank account and the numbers on your grand total don’t match up! Some time is wasted by worrying about how to multiply and add up those numbers. I’ll admit, that is the one flaw in our current monetary system. But no worries! Pretty soon you will receive a piece of paper in the mail from the government saying that they made more numbers to give to you! So you see, like time, money is a hazy thing which somehow keeps on coming. You never see it itself. Just its representatives.
Can you imagine living in a world where you had what you had, and you had to work, plan, and wait to get it? I hear tell that that is what it used to be like. But we have more important things to spend time on now. Why worry about the future and how you are going to eat when you are hungry now? Why pinch pennies for winter clothes and heat when you really want that new pair of sunglasses? I mean, seriously, why worry about those boring, mundane details of life when now is happening!! I mean, now is now. Yesterday is gone and who knows if tomorrow will ever come? Now is what is important. Time is now.
Well, there you have it. Futility. Money, however much it is not, is not is mere numbers. Or rather, it shouldn’t be. It should have purpose and use. God is outside of time, larger than time. However, we need to encounter Him in the now of every moment of our lives. Time and money are not the same. But they are similar in that they both represent something larger than themselves: money representing our temporal needs, our mortal bodies. Time representing our immortal souls, and our quest to let God find us. Hence, time is not money. And we can’t save both at Dollar General because we will die and we may or may not make it to Heaven. People, Dollar General is not the answer to all life’s questions. The name implies ordering money around, which translates to someone bossing you about how to live your life, which, seen as it is none of their beeswax, trespasses on Free Will. Seeing that Free Will is a Gift from God, and Dollar General is trying to take away God’s gifts, don’t listen.