Early Black Market Lessons
Stuart was so excited about his new guitar & lessons, initially. I tried to get him to keep his music book, pics & tuner in one place so things wouldn’t get lost or separated. The guitar hangs on his wall, but there are times when it doesn’t make it to its home, either. When we bought the guitar the salesman gave us a whole handful of pics, which Stuart either lost or left about so Flanders got a hold of them. Flanders loves to chew everything up. The tuner was an early goner, too.
In order to preserve a small sliver of my sanity & try to teach a lesson in responsibility, I started charging money for replacement pics. I had to do this after Stuart blew through the whole lot after just a couple of lessons. Ben, the music teacher, told me to buy nylon pics because they are more sturdy. They are also more expensive. Not tremendously so, but when we use a pic & immediately lose it, yes–expensive. They are $0.25 (and by the way, where in the hell is the cent sign on computers these days?!). I buy a couple of dollars worth & dole them out now. Stuart loses one, he has to fork over $1 per pic. The music teacher thought that was genius (I’ve been needing a ticker tape parade, so I decided to add that–but it is true.). This capitalistic exchange did slow the pic bleed–Stuart kept much better track of them.
When Max decided he wanted to take lessons, I took them both to the guitar store & bought them a couple of dollars worth of pics. I reminded them that was it, for now; they lose them it’s back to $1 per pic. Stuart’s reaction was so funny when he realized they were only $0.25 & he was being charged a whole dollar. So, I tell him: “I’m trying to teach you that everything has a home and that everything costs something. You weren’t learning the lesson, hence the inflated cost.” He didn’t have much in the way of a response, but I could tell he was mulling that one over for future reference. That child has a big file, I can tell.
The other day I was thinking about the pic situation (it’s now time to replenish) & realized that they may take this lesson all the wrong way. In my mind it became less a lesson of “responsibility” and more of a darker lesson in the seedier side of “finance.” All I could think about was the Russian mafia doling out supplies and selling old military equipment to those who are fortunate to have money. I suppose it doesn’t help that I give them grief about it every time they have to “buy” another pic–I tell that if they keep this up I’ll be able to retire on the pic money…fuel to the fire, fuel to the fire.