I love this story on so many levels! One, because I often repeat stories to the hubs multiple times. So I told him that from now on when I'm repeating myself to interrupt me with Mitchell's quote and I will not only stop telling the story but die laughing as well :)
And now I shall regale you with the Tale of the Day I Became a Capitalist.
Once when I was a child our Sunday school class received the exciting news that if we memorized a Psalm that was about 20 verses with less than 5 mistakes, we would get a free trip to Marine World!!! I was soooo excited! I worked extra hard and after weeks of work, I did it - I got the free trip! As did my little sister Adri. My parents couldn't go, so they sent us with the group. As soon as I found out about the trip, I began saving up my money doing extra chores so when we went I could buy what I called a hard animal (a very literal name - these plastic toys could inflict a nice bump on an annoying sibling's scalp if used as a club). I collected these treasured toys slowly, as they were expensive by my young estimation - $8-$18 each.
After a long day of playing on an incredible rope obstacle course, seeing tigers, whales, and dolphins (and getting soaked!), I was able to stop at the hard animal shop. I chose carefully, as I knew I had limited funds. A killer whale and its baby and a dolphin. A fitting tribute to the day.
None of the other kids had brought money, or if they had, they spent it on cotton candy so I was the only one who purchased a souvenir. When we boarded the bus to go home, our Sunday school teacher came running up with a plastic bag. "I bought everyone a toy!!" she exclaimed excitedly. We were all thrilled! This was an unexpected treat :) She began handing out hard animal tigers - cute little baby ones. I was in the middle of the bus, and she handed one to my friend who was sitting next to me, then turned her back and walked past me. I was confused. When she was done passing one out to the last kid, I asked her if I could have one as she had skipped me. She replied, "No. I bought these for everyone else. You don't get one."
"But why?" I asked.
"It's not fair that you bought a toy and the other kids didn't so I bought them all a toy too. But not one for you. Go sit down and play with your whale."
It didn't make sense to my six year old brain. I had worked mopping floors at 25 cents a room, picking up dog poop at ten cents a day....basically slaving away for weeks and saving every penny so I could buy a toy. Yet now I was being excluded because I had planned ahead and worked hard so I could afford said hard animal. What could have been a generous gift to all the kids in her class became a chance for her to play some sort of vindictive game with a young child - a reverse form of favorites, where all were favored but me. I sat in my seat and tried hard not to cry. The other kids played with their tigers around me. "You can't play with us." They said. "Your whale doesn't have legs. We don't want to play with a dumb whale."
But that's not the end of the story :)
The 6 year old went on to collect many more hard animals. She had countless hours of fun playing with her whales and dolphin - who were later joined by a humpback whale and its baby. The hard animals lived happily with their brethren in a large plastic tub and were played with by many a child. Eventually the whale and dolphin passed from this world after being chewed and eaten by a puppy.
Later that summer the girl saved up more money. She bought herself three baby tigers.