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The Tale of a Tightwad by William Mcnutt

I like dollars same as I like race-horses," the saleslady behind the hotel cigar-counter explained. "I like 'em when they're movin', an' furnishin' some excitement to the onlookers. A race-horse packed in a can don't make anybody's heart beat faster, does it? No! Well, a dollar buried for life in a bank is my idea of nothing useful.

    "It's all right to put a race-horse in his stall now an' then, to let him get his growth, or recover his wind for the next heat. But they only bed a racehorse down in a nice pile of well-combed straw so that he can show more speed when they take him out again. It's perfectly all right to bed a dollar down in the bank once in a while, to let it grow a few cents an' get its breath back; but, man, don't forget where you put the poor thing.

    "A dollar is one of the best little friends I know of, if you just give it a chance; but you can't hide it away in the dark forever, like as if you was ashamed to be seen with it, an' then expect it to sit up on its hind legs an' make you laugh when you feel blue, can you? What? No! Take it out an' pal around with it now an' then. Give it the air. Let it run for you before it's too late. A horse won't go for you after it's dead, an' a dollar won't go for you after you're dead.

    "Buh-lieve me, no! You may be able to come back an' haunt your wife if she marries somebody you never did like; but after they pull off the parade that you only go one way with, you can't startle a dollar! You can mail it a low moan of anguish in your astral envelope, but you can't make it hop over the counter and come back disguised as six bits and a good cigar. Not after the undertaker's cashed in his percentage on you, you can't! A dollar ain't superstitious. It don't believe in spooks.

    "If a dollar's your best friend, don't give it life imprisonment without a fair trial. Money talks; listen to what it says, an' do it justice. Don't ever get the habit.

    "What habit? Why, the economy habit. It's deadly. It's worse than drugs, or whisky, or even purple socks. A cocain fiend may be cured till he's so sick of the drug that he has to take to his bed when the snow falls, but a habitual tightwad will never come loose.

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 No. 142
 Posted on 7 June, 2006
 
 
 
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