Saturday, January 21, 2006

Weekend Assignment #95: The Best Money You Ever Spent

Welcome to the first of five Journaler-suggested Weekend Assignments, leading up to the 100th Weekend Assignment a few weeks from now. This week's special Weekend Assignment was suggested by Teeisme57:

"My ex-husband always said the best 10 bucks he ever spent was buying his dog, Ace, from the local animal shelter. What's the best money you've ever spent? Whether it's something you love, something you use all the time or something that doesn't owe you a nickel, what is it?"

"Extra Credit: Aside from food, what's the next purchase you plan to make?"

Dear John,

It must be nice to be a young man of comfortable means, sitting in a convention center, swilling good scotch and chatting up intelligent, comely women and dark, handsome men. Obviously, you have no personal experience of that. No ... you go to Detroit to get licked on the head by a kilt-wearing, drunken buffoon! Where in heck was Krissy? Or was she being threatened with similar tonsorial attention?

Actually, I'm just jealous, that's all. Instead of schnoozling my brain cells in good scotch, I'm here in the north country battling the ravages of Old Man Winter's ... floods? Yesiree boobylinks, that's right. Floods. We've bare ground, temps in the 40's and 50's this past week and more rain than you can shake a stick at. And it's all your fault! That's right, your fault. According to the local weather gurus, all of this wet weather has originated in the Ohio River Valley and so, I am holding you, Johan Sebastian Periwinkle Scalzi, personally responsible. Lord knows that FEMA hasn't a sou nor farthing left to deal with disasters, so it's going to eat into those advances for the Rough Guide To Toilet Books, for sure. Well, that's enough good news from the home front. I'll expect your check right quick. Just make it out to Wilhelm Pendergast Periwinkle III, Esquire, and I'll see it gets to the right place.

So you vant to know what's the best money I've ever spent? That'd have to be the $100 and two days sweat equity I spent cleaning out a professor's basement back in college. In lieu of wages and in consideration of the princely sum I expended, I became the proud owner of a Magna Industries' Mark V Shopsmith! While in need of some TLC, it was complete and in remarkably good condition, considering the good professor and his wife had built and furnished their home with it.

I've had that Shopsmith for almost 36 years now. I can't count the number of boards cut or ripped, spindles turned, holes drilled, items sanded and polished or edges jointed. About 1989 I replaced the motor and drive belt. About a year later I added the band saw attachment. But in total, it hasn't cost me $600. Not bad for something I would have to spend almost $3700 for today.

Now go get your dancing shoes on and show us how you do the Watusi, “Wet Head Scalzi” style...

And so it goes,


X.C. A treadmill. Go ahead, laugh.

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