08 Oct The Dirty Dishes Deal
I you have read this newsletter any length of time, you will know I come from a large family. I am the second oldest of 10 kids.
My mom and dad did a great job of raising us and preparing us for life in the real world. With so many mouths to feed, mealtimes were a serious production, and the older siblings were recruited to help out. One of my duties as a teenager was to hand wash the dishes three nights a week. It was a tedious job that took me 3 hours to accomplish and kept me away from the things I would rather be doing as a young man.
I had reached an age where I was able to find odd jobs to do outside of the family and I had managed to save $100 as a result of my lawn mowing and whatnot. I thought it was a lot of money, and I had put in a lot of hours to earn it. To my younger siblings, it was an immense fortune, the likes of which they had never seen.
Such was my life at 14 years old. Three nights a week, the togetherness of a meal shared as one happy family would transform into a quiet dinner table filled with dirty dishes and a spatered kitchen littered with utensils still covered with the ingredients that had gone into a noteworthy meal. As I toiled in solitude, I dreamt of what I was going to do with the money I had saved. Should I buy something now, like a bike or a Walkman; or keep saving towards something bigger—like a car when I turn 16?
At some point, I had an inspiration. How much would it be worth to me to never have to wash dishes for a year? I talked to my 12-year-old brother, Scott. “Scott,” I asked, “if I paid you one hundred dollars, would you take over my dishes duty for the next year?”
Scott knew I had the money saved up, so he knew I was serious. I also knew that he had already dreamed of 15 different things he could do with one hundred dollars if he would ever
be so blessed as to hold that much money at one time in his hands. It was an offer he couldn’t possibly refuse. Within a matter of 5 minutes, he had the cash in his pocket, and I was free from
dish duty for a whole year!
Our younger siblings could hardly believe how I could give away such a fortune and thought that Scott was the luckiest kid in the world to be on the receiving side of this crazy deal.
The funny thing is, though… I wonder if Scott would have taken the deal if I had offered to pay him two dollars a week. That’s what it amounted to. Sixty-five cents for every night he washed dishes.
Scott kept his end of the bargain. He bought a bike with his money and never complained. I never missed that hundred dollars, because I was able to earn more than that with the extra time I had freed up by not having to do dishes three nights a week.