Monday, October 16, 2006

We're all writers here, aren't we?

Even those of us who suck?

Here's a good article on telling a story from a freelance journalist named Nettie Hartstock.

I'm not writing a white paper, but let's see if I can incorporate some of her suggestions into the tale of a little vignette that occurred on my lunch hour.

I bought a sandwich at a local shop on the way back from an errand today, and while I was paying for my purchase a tall, rather bedraggled man, who had obviously walked to the store in the rain, came in and slapped four sodden one-dollar bills on the counter. Since he came in with the manager, who was outside smoking when I entered, I didn't catch the beginning of their conversation, but I gathered he wanted a pack of cigarettes.

The manager didn't want to take the man's ratty looking money, "It's wet! Nobody's gonna want to take that!"

"It'll dry," answered the customer reasonably.

"What? You think I got all day to sit here watching your bills dry?! That one's all torn up! I can't take that!"

"C'mon! This is money! It'll work!"

"It's dirty!"

I was more interested in escaping this heated scene than in eavesdropping, and, really, the bills weren't that bad. What's up with this manager anyway? The bank would take them if nobody else wanted them. They'd probably route the torn up one back to the treasury to be burned, but until then, it's still legal tender.

My sympathies were firmly with the other customer (though, remember, I hadn't heard how all this started), until, as I turned to hightail it out of there, the guy said, in answer to the last accusation:

"All money's dirty!"

I moaned.

Apparently, feeling he'd made a great and telling point, he repeated, with a laugh, "All money's dirty!"

Continuing to the door, I muttered, "No, it's not!"

Outside, I thought, "Man, that's the kind of thinking that keeps you, and everybody you know, poor! What? Did ya take a vow of poverty?"

I was wishing, as I drove, that I had asked the guy who told him that. And how big a contribution of his "dirty money" they wanted for their services.

And another thing: how much do you want to bet that that's the only "Christian" notion he and his ilk pay any attention to? I put the word Christian in quotes, because I think it's a pretty crude, though unfortunately very common, misunderstanding of New Testament teaching about money.

I'll let my friend Steve handle the theology on the matter, but I find it impossible to believe that God has a problem with media of exchange.


Completely off the point [come to think of it, it's not completely off the point]: I've mentioned Michael Masterson a few times. I had no idea that he has a blog!

Back to the subject of writing itself, Tibor Machan has a rant on The Atlasphere that could do with some editing. I agree with his point whole-heartedly (I think), but he's writing like his undies are in a bunch. When you're railing against collectivism, Dr. Machan, you need to be careful about overusing collective pronouns.

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