It Takes So Little

January 14th, 2016

It takes so little to put me into a deep funk.


For Christmas I was gifted a Wal-Mart gift card for what I thought was $125. What I thought was $125. I thought it was $125.


I thought I had a gift card with $125 on it. From Wal-Mart. A gift card. With one-hundred and twenty five US dollars on it. That I could spend at Wal-Mart. Using the card. The gift card. The gift card I was given on Christmas. By my grandmother.


Now all of a sudden I can budget ahead for January. An extra $125 goes a long way in my world. I can get an oil change for my car. I’ve been needing one for a few weeks. I’m sure my oil is low. I’ll also be able to use the card for groceries. The gift card. The Wal-Mart gift card. It had $125 on it. An oil change is what, twenty dollars? I can go to the store and get groceries. I’ll have $105 or so left over. On the gift card. The Wal-Mart gift card. I got it for Christmas.


So I went and got the oil change. Which cost twenty bucks and change. That was last week. This week I went back to get some groceries. I got about $20 worth of stuff. Which would leave me with about $85 on the card. The Wal-Mart gift card that had $125 on it. You get the idea.


But nay! I swiped the gift card and the checkout counter man said “that will be $16 and. . .” blah blah. I owed him that. I owed him extra after I used the gift card. My $125 gift card that was going to get me through January.


He checked the balance on the card for me. Zero. Zero dollars. Zero sense. I owed him sixteen and change after the difference.


After I sorted all that out, I came home and tried to figure out where everything went wrong. I went online. I went to Wal-Mart’s website. I typed the card number in. It said zero dollars. I had spent the entirely of the card. All $25 on the card.


Why did I think it had $125 on it, then? I looked at the little envelope the card came in. The one my granny gave me and it said $125 on it. She wrote it down. My granny. My 77-year-old grandmother. My sweet, kind granny who gave me a $25 gift card. A $25 gift card.


A $25 gift card.


I have included an artist’s rendering of the envelope my granny wrote the amount down on. See if you can guess what happened.



Granny tried to make a dollar sign with two strikes through the “S”. Two vertical lines through the “S”. You can draw a dollar sign with one vertical line or two. Either is common. But my granny. My nice, arthritic 77-year-old granny went wide right with the second strike and. . . I had a $25 gift card.


Now I know this sounds ungrateful on my part. But I’m not mad at Granny for messing that up. I’m mad at myself. I’m mad at my own dumb luck. You think you’ve got something figured out and you’ve planned it out accordingly. I’ve got this much to spend this month. Oh, I’ve got a little extra thanks to my $125 gift card. This will allow me to breathe easier in January before I finally move out. It’s supposed to be February. Maybe by Valentine’s Day. We were originally gonna get me moved out before Thanksgiving.


Nope. Just forget it. Forget everything you know. You didn’t have what you think you had, Mike. You got an oil change out of it. It’s fine. Really, it’s fine. Are you gonna let a misunderstanding and a difference of $100 get you in a funk today?




It takes so little to put me in a funk. Every now and then I get a few feet away from a deep funk. Just when I get out, I get pulled back in. It doesn’t take a lot. It’s the big things. It’s the little things. It’s everything.


It’s everything.

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