Snark’s tacky would-be entry to a cheezy USA Today contest
In the spirit of our duly (singly?) elected President, I decided to come up with a suggestion everyone could live with, even if nobody actually likes it. To advocate either saving, spending, or donating to a worthy cause this massive infusion of lucre would invariably tip the delicate political balance in favor of Left or Right, Up or Down, Tipper or Laura. So, call what follows the Stem Cell Solution of the Tax Rebate Dilemma.
You know that creative and distinctive style of decorative home stencil painting that is ever so popular all across the USA today? Well, get ready to dress up your own domicile with this fun and easy $600 home improvement technique that actually pays you back over time.
First, take your official, void-after-one-year United States Treasury check (mine says “Austin, Texas” on it – is the Federal Government being downsized to Texas?) for $600 to your local bank and cash it in for 600 one-dollar bills. Be sure to ask the teller for “brand new, mint condition” bills. If the teller hems and haws, be firm – this is the kind of thing banks have in abundance, though the teller my have to exhale a deep sigh and go to the manager, the vault, or the basement to dig up the extra-crispy G.W.s (George Washingtons).
Eventually, the teller will return with six neat hundred-bill stacks, each secured by a little paper garter belt. Pull out one of the bills and offer to tip the teller for his/her trouble. The teller is obligated to decline such payola, so you won’t be out any money; should the teller accept, quickly pull the dollar back and alert the authorities. Feeling smug after helping to apprehend another felonious member of the banking cartel, gently stuff your bricks of cash into a manila envelope you brought along for this purpose and exit the bank.
Next Stop: Your Favorite Office Supply Conglomerate
At the friendly office mega-warehouse, purchase one restickable adhesive glue stick, which dispenses the same sort of glue that makes those ubiquitous square yellow memo papers (remaining brand-neutral to the bitter end, I am). This is an important distinction – do not get a permanent glue stick by accident, as it could end up being a six hundred dollar mistake. The glue stick should cost you around one dollar, so let’s pull two from one of our crispy stacks to cover overhead operating expenses. Head on home with your fresh glue stick and $598 in raw materials – it’s time to redecorate the home.
The Home Stretch
The average size of US currency is 2.652 inches high by 6.125 inches wide. 598 one-dollar bills placed end-to-end will be roughly 3,662.75 inches long, or 305.22916 linear feet. This is long enough to provide a beautiful decorative border to the walls of one large or two small rooms in your house. First, measure four (Modern style) to eight (Classical) inches down from your ceiling and draw a faint, level pencil line on all walls to be transformed. Next, apply a single bead from the removable glue stick along all four edges of your Tax Rebate bills, either the front, back or intermingled as you choose (I personally prefer the iconographic power of all those little George heads smirking at me while I eat dinner or watch Fear Factor, but this being America you get to decide for yourself). Gently affix the tacky currency to the wall, aligning the top of the bill to the pencil line you drew. Repeat the process until you have exhausted the remainder of your tax refund.
When you are finished, you will have created a stunning new look in your home for a cost of only two dollars. No, that’s not a typo – this is where the philosophical implications of removable adhesive get played out in the national bully pulpit of domestic interior decoration. Whenever a real need arises to spend a few dollars, whether for a worthy cause or frivolous entertainment or a cheap thrill, simply peel from your walls just what you need for the expense at hand and enjoy. The gaps in your decorative wall-band will continually remind you how spendy or tightfisted you are, while the remaining bills will provide a little ray of hope that, no matter how bleak your personal fortunes may get, you’ll still have a little green left up there on the wall to buy the latest Mariah Carey CD, pay for the clean-up of an oil-encrusted seagull, or settle that outstanding parking ticket.
[Editor's Note: After all that hard work, Snark - still operating in the third person - read the fine print of the usaweekend.com contest rules, only to discover to his dismay that the fine folks at USA Today are not looking for an essay, but rather just a single sentence. Feeding the above to his pet monitor lizard, Snark re-jiggered his synapses and came up with the following lame approximation of humor for his official contest entry]:
At the bank I will trade the check for 600 extra crispy new one-dollar bills and load them into my custom-built PEZ candy dispenser with the G.W. Bush head on top; whenever I want to spend a dollar on anything, I will tilt back the head and out will pop a fresh bill from the President’s mouth.